Free Expert Tips To Train For A Marathon Need advice to run a marathon? Or maybe you want to complete your 42km in a faster time? Check out these free expert tips and nutritional advice to assist your training.
Bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party is the least you can do to show your appreciation to the hosts. But making the right choice can be a daunting task, especially if you're no wine connoisseur yourself. Is there hope if you can't tell your Bordeaux from your Chablis? Here are some questions to ask when buying your wine.
Red or White?
If your host doesn't know a lot about wine, go for red, says Quentin Chiarugi, Head of Sales at J&D Burleigh. "It is a safe choice, as white wine are a little more tricky to pick." If he or she is a wine connoisseur, then you will probably have to spend a little more, he says. While a number of supermarkets do carry a selection of wines these days, Chiarugi maintains that visiting a wine shop, or wine merchants, remain your best bet to make an intelligent decision. "You can always find a good drinking wine for a good price, however, just like other goods, you will need to have a certain knowledge to be able to find these good deals," he explains. Compared to supermarkets where you may not receive professional help, wine shops and merchants will have a team to help and make your life easier, depending on what you are looking for and your budget, says Chiarugi.
How Much Are You Willing To Pay?
A key factor in picking your wines is price. "Unfortunately, wine is a costly product to make if one is looking for quality, and this cost will reflect on the final price in the shop," explains Chiarugi. That doesn't mean you can't snag a bargain. "There may be some good wines at entry level prices of $15 or $25, but it will be difficult to pick the right one if you are not a connoisseur," he says. Your safer price range should start from $40 and above.
What Sort Of Flavours Do You Like?
Besides the price, the origin of the wine can also influence your choice, especially if it's a certain flavour that you're hankering for. According to Chiarugi, "If you are looking for an upfront wine, with plenty of flavours on the front palate and a short finish in the mouth, then go for new world wine, such as those from New-Zealand, Australia, California, South Africa, Chile, Argentina. This is, in general, the style of wine they make in these regions, and it will be what most people know and drink."
If your wine is meant to be paired with food, stick to your European wines, he recommends. "If you prefer a more subtle style with subdued aromas and a long length on the palate, then prefer the old world (Europe). This is the style of wine they make there and because of the centuries of traditions to drink wine with food, in general the wines are meant to accompany a meal and will be less upfront than New world wines," Chiarugi explains.
What Will I Be Drinking It WIth?
Chiarugi shares some classic pairings of food with wine.
White meat (chicken, turkey, etc.) If it's grilled:
"Opt for red wine, with a lighter body style such as red Burgundies (Domaine Vincent Girardin, Volnay Vieilles Vignes 2007), red Sancerre, Pinot Noir from Oregon or Otago in New Zealand."
If served with spicy dishes: "German Riesling (Reinhold Haart or Riesling Auslee 2008) or a Vouvray demi sec."
If served with creamy sauce:
"Opt for a dry white such as Sancerre Blanc, Chablis (Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 2009), or dry Champagne (Billecat-Salmon Brut Reserve NV)."
For grilled steaks, skewers, etc: "We want a wine that can be well-structured and powerful enough to accompany the strong flavours of the meat. Go for red from Bordeaux (Chateau Faugeres, St Emilion 2005); Grand Cru red Burgundy (Domaine Jacques Prieur, Chambertin 2008); Californian reds, or Australian reds from Barossa Valley."
Do I Have Other Choices?
Besides your reds and whites, there are other alcohols to consider for your party. "Sweet wines -- like port (Fonseca, Vintage Port 1997), Sauternes (Chateau Climens, Barsac 2002), Tokaji, etc -- or dessert wines as the English call it, are usually a good wine to pair with Blue Cheeses, or dark chocolate with cocoa content of 80 per cent and above," recommends Chiarugi. Other than that, Chiarugi also suggests sake ("pairs well with raw fish and seafood"); whisky ("Scandinavian food"); and beer ("pairs well with spicy food like Indian or Thai).
What Is My Backup? A bottle of Champagne is a handy fallback if you're not sure what to bring, says Chiarugi, as "90% of the time people will enjoy a glass before dinner". He makes the following recommendation, "When choosing the Champagne, better to go for a Non-Vintage (NV), which are the best value and easier style to drink. I often recommend a rose Non-Vintage such as Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose NV. This is a beautiful Champagne that can go well for both men and women."