Whether you are hosting an informal dinner party, a large formal event or just planning a romantic meal for two, red wine will go with just about any food. There is a huge choice of red wine available in your local liquor store or supermarket, mostly from Europe, although other regions are becoming better known, such as Australia's Hunter Valley and California's Napa Valley. Some of today's most popular red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, with its many textures and full body; and Merlot, known for being affordable and having a fruity taste. These are by no means the only varieties and much of the fun is in experimenting.
Red Wine Varieties
Port wine is a distinctive and sweet red wine, which is made in the Douro Valley region of northern Portugal and port wine is an excellent drink to serve with dessert. Only wine produced here can officially be called port, although other similar fortified wines are produced elsewhere. Cabernet Sauvignon wines come from the famous Bordeaux area of France and get their unique soft flavor by being aged for around ten years and they are the perfect companion to cheese, dark chocolate and red meat. Pinot Noir wines are a good choice to accompany pork, lamb or fish and are known for their full taste and earth aroma. Zinfandel is known for its fruity taste and rich, dark appearance and makes a good wine to serve with spicy meals.
Shiraz has a wide variety of flavors, including blackberry, oak and licorice, as well as a full body and is a good wine to accompany many meaty dishes, such as stews, steaks and pizza. Some affordable wines that are recommended for their interesting flavors include Malbec, Rioja and Beaujolais. Malbec is a heavy red wine from Argentina, often drunk during the winter months and goes well with most meaty dishes. Rioja blends different grape varieties together and Beaujolais goes well with most foreign dishes.
Moscato wine has a sweet flavor and is low in tannins and is often regarded as a cheaper wine to be drunk at parties. Moscato wine is a fortified wine, made by adding brandy and other types of liquor before it ferments. In addition to its sweet taste, its antioxidants known as flavonoids are said to have various health benefits.
Wine Reviews at Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator is one of the most highly regarded authorities when it comes to wine reviews and the magazine has reviewed thousands of wines since being founded in 1976. The magazine hosts the Wine Experience every year, in which hundreds of different wines from around the world are tasted, although it is known for its wine reviews consisting of notes and ratings assigned by well-known wine experts. The magazine also organizes and runs the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation and in general, it has a big influence on which wines are drunk in restaurants around the world.
There are literally hundreds of red wines from all over the world and with varying tastes and flavors. It can take time to learn which wine to serve with which dish, but once you have mastered this, the right wine to accompany the right meal can make any occasion more memorable.