Thursday, April 16, 2009

Uncork the wine knowledge

Now that I'm older and wiser...and obviously more mature...I've become more of a wine snob. Instead of those cheap boxes of Franzia (Hello! I was a poor college student once!), I try to find a decent - but still cheap - bottle of wine to pair with various meals. I've even attended a wine tasting here and there. But, like many others, I'm not always sure which wine matches with what type of food. After extensive research - or maybe a five-minute search of the Internet in addition to my own taste tests in recent years - I think I have a pretty comprehensive guide to the ideal wine-food matches. Enjoy!

P.S. The less alcoholic the wine, the fewer calories it contains!

Chardonnay - The lemony and unoaked styles are great with fish and chicken dishes.
Sauvignon blanc - Its distinctive aroma and flavor with various hints of gooseberries and grapefruits make good partners to goat cheese salads or grilled fish.
Pinot blanc - This is one to drink with shrimp cocktails or ceviche.
Pinot grigio - Pair a light and crisp, peach variety with vegetable pastas and fish lasagna.
Riesling - The versions with an exotic fruit flavor are great with spicy fish dishes and curries.

Cabernet sauvignon - Rich, complex with ripe fruity flavors make this magic with red meats.
Merlot - Another wine packed with fruity berries, this tastes great with meaty pastas and casseroles.
Shiraz/syrah - This peppery, heady dark fruit wine is perfect with steaks and grilled meats.
Pinot noir - Good with tomato-based pastas, chopped liver and duck.
Zinfandel - Packed with fruits, spice and pepper, this is the wine to serve with cheese.
Rosé - Light versions are good with paella and seafood.

If you want more of a twist, here are two low-calorie, Sangria recipes.

HG’s Sangria-Seltzer Twist
Hit up the bar for slices of orange, lemon, and lime. Give your favorite fruit wedges a little squeeze before dropping them into your glass. Add 1 oz. of liquor (rum or vodka is yummy) and top with calorie-free seltzer. If your party-throwers are winos, top your glass with a splash of red or blush wine. Now you’ve got a fancy, signature drink that only contains around 100 calories!

George Stella's Sangria
2 cups Burgundy wine
2 cups club soda or seltzer water
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
1 lemon, sliced into circles
1 lime, sliced into circles
1/4 cup diet Tang or any Crystal light fruit drink, optional
Mix all ingredients together in a punch bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, pour into glasses over ice.

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