Dining in the finest restaurants at the destinations you visit is both a gastronomic and a cultural experience. It offers you the opportunity to taste typical dishes and at the same time try regional wines. However, dealing with the wine menu can turn out to be intimidating, and choosing the perfect wine pairing may seem like an impossible task. DINKtravelers offers you practical advice on how to choose the ideal wine for your dinner.
Pairing for Regional Foods
Choosing a typical dish in a destination is in itself a process of discovery since you need to prepare your palate for new tastes, textures and combinations. Our first strategy –and the most basic one– is to ask the sommelier to suggest the best wine for the dish you chose, within a certain price range you establish.
Some menus separate lists of red, white and rosé wines, while others categorize them as sweet, dry and dessert wines. In the meantime, some divide them by region of origin. Remember that these last are usually cheaper and choosing them is, in general, environmentally friendly given that their production sites are close to their points of distribution.
Even though there are uncountable wine varieties, if you’re not used to drinking it, it’s probable that you’ll choose it according to its taste. Follow this basic classification of some wines that you’ll commonly find in a menu.
Red wines. From the softest to the strongest:
Pinot Noir – Merlot – Malbec – Cabernet Sauvignon
White wines. From the sweetest to the driest:
Moscatel – Moscato – Chardonnay – Sauvignon Blanc – Pinot Grigio
If you go on a business trip or you want to impress other dinner guests, strengthen your memory so that you can remember these wine-pairing recommendations.
Food and Wine Travel
Japanese food – Sparkling white wine
Salads and grilled vegetables – Sauvignon Blanc
Spicy food of Thai, Chinese and Mexican recipes – Moscato
Intense tastes of Indian or Moroccan cuisine – Pink wine
Italian and French food – Pinot Noir
Spanish charcuterie – Merlot
American barbecue – Malbec
Desserts – Moscato
Finally, we know that as soon as the waiter serves a little wine in your glass and invites you to taste it, you might feel tense. Even if this is a complex process and there are experts who train for years in order to be able to detect the different qualities of a wine, simply concentrate in enjoying the first impression of a wine’s aroma and taste. Does it possess an intense aroma and taste? Can you distinguish the aroma and taste of different fruits? Does it leave a pleasant aftertaste?
And, above all, don’t accept the wine they offer you if…
It smells like wet newspaper
You ordered red wine but it has a brownish color and tastes like vinegar
You ordered white wine but it has a dark yellowish color and tastes like rotten fruit