First off, hey bud - thanks for checking out my blog! Next, I will give you some of what I consider to be basics, but then give some further recomendations. Keep in touch for more knowledge! "Old-school wine pairings are out-dated, the new rule is that your favorite wines will pair with your favorite foods". That being said, white wines typically go with white foods (chicken, pork, cream, shellfish, white fish such as whitefish, halibut, swordfish, seabass, etc.) and red wine typically goes with red foods (tomato sauces, beef). Classic pairing is California Cabernet (Sauvignon) with steak, especially New York Strip and Ribeye. Know that progressively from lightest to darkest, your reds will go Gamay and Pinot Noir (lightest) to Chianti (which is Sangiovese), Merlot, Meritage blends (Bordeaux and bordeaux based blends of Cabernets and Merlot, with a touch of Malbec and Petit Verdot), then Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel being the most full bodied. Full bodied reds should have darker color, richer smells, a thicker body, and a longer finish. Next know that Pinot Noir is the pride of Burgundy, France (Northern France) as well as Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon is the pride of Bordeaux, a region south of Burgundy in France. Similarly in America, Oregon, which shares the same longitude as Burgundy (45th parallel) is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and California, which shares the same longitude as Bordeaux, is known for the same grape varietals, namely Cab Sauv first, and Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and the other Bordeaux varietals (grape types) just like Bordeaux. Australia is famous for Shiraz, which is the same grape as the french Syrah, which is the pride of the Rhone Valley, and which is typically a medium-plus bodied wine, falling in between the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon categories. Furthermore, South America has been exporting some phenominal Malbec red wines that have become popular for being reasonably priced and balanced and delicious. Chile and Argentina are the hot spots in South America.
Finally, Champagne. Methode Champangoise means a second fermentation (the process by which juice becomes alcoholic) takes place in the bottle after it has been sealed. This released the bubbles, or carbon-dioxide which is released upon opening the bottle. Champagne is in Burgundy, France, and is typically a blend of three grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a lesser known red grape, Pinot Munier. Blanc de blanc is a style of champagne made explicitly of Chardonnay, and Blanc de Noir is made without Chardonnay. Brut means dry, which is the absence of sugar. Sec means sweet, and is the opposite of dry.
Great wines can be found at all price points. Good producers I recommend that are not too expensive are Rodney Strong, Bonterra, Ravenswood, Loius Jadot, Kenwood, Argyle, and Muga, off the top of my head. My website, www.theswirler.com, is under major construction, but should be fully functional soon, and has a great glossary as well as hundreds of reviews that may help you in your studies. I also recommend checking out free wine tastings and wine books written by Oz Clarke. I hope that this email is helpful, and again, thank You for taking the time to read me and contact me. ALl my best, Cory "thewineguy" Warfield
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