Choosing and Buying

Choosing

Choosing a wine can be an intimidating process. Nobody wants to stand in the aisle of the store for an hour debating between regions, varietals, price types and so on. Pairing wine with different meals is an imprecise and acute science, but just remember that the purpose of pairing is determine which foods bring out the most in wines and vice versa. Therefore, it is an individual preference.

The most basic guideline when pairing wines is that red wines always go with red meat and white wines always go with seafood and poultry. However, while that rule may be useful for a simple starting point, many wine critics and sommeliers recommend matching wines based on the condiments or sauces in the dish. In a meal with multiple courses, champagne is usually served with the appetizer. White wine goes well with salads or lighter dishes, while red wine goes better with heavier meats and sauces. When in doubt, choose a Pinot Noir (red) or a Sauvignon Blanc (white). These are the most versatile wines for matching with food. Follow the chart below for some fundamental pairings.

Buying

Inexperienced wine drinkers may think that the only way to drink quality stuff is to cough up ridiculous amounts of cash. Conversely, other inexperienced wine drinkers may think that a $2 bottle wine is quality stuff. As it turns out, the truth is somewhere in the middle. To a certain extent, you do get what you pay for, but the advantage to spending only a couple of bucks on a bottle is you don't have to feel guilty about throwing it out if you don't like it. However, you should never have to shell out more than $20 for a decent bottle of wine. And for wine drinkers on a budget, there are plenty of great wines for $10 or less. For help choosing these quality, affordable wines, read some reviews of wines under $12.00.

Tip: Wines from South Africa and South America are quality wines that are usually much cheaper than wines from France, Italy or California.