Successful wine and food pairing can be daunting, but it's worth experimenting with matching wine and food because the right combination creates flavors that are vastly superior to how the wine and food taste independently. There are many different factors to consider when pairing food and wine, but first it's helpful to look at the big picture: the different levels of success or failure one can achieve when pairing wine with food, from poor to refreshing, good, and synergistic pairings.
Everyone has to start somewhere to learn more about wine. You've probably already been drinking wine, but there is a difference between casual wine consumption and an organized, intentional effort to learn about what wine is, how wines taste, and when wines are best drunk. You can continue drinking wines in a casual manner, enjoying them for what they are in the moment, or you can add to your knowledge of wine and thereby expand how you enjoy wine. Knowledge is not only power, but also pleasure.
There are frequent references in wine articles and wine books to "seasonal" wines — wines that are better for summer, fall, winter, or spring. How can a wine be better suited to one season rather than another? What makes one wine more of a "summer wine" but another more of a "winter wine"?
There is no simple formula for wines being seasonal; instead, it's a question of what wines feel like and how a wine pairs not just with food, but also with the surrounding temperature or weather.
If you are going to learn very much about wine, you need to learn about — and get to know — the so-called "Big Six" wine or grape varieties. The Big Six wine grapes are: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These six wine grape varieties make up about 80% of all wines made around the world, so familiarity with the flavors and aromas of these six grapes means you'll be familiar with most of the wines you will encounter.
What makes wine so attractive, interesting, and enjoyable is the amazing, complex array of flavors and aromas which individual wines produce. Each bottle of wine can be its own unique experience. If wines are all produced from simple grapes, though, how do they manage to produce so many different flavors and aromas? If wines are basically just fermented grape juice, why don't wines taste like grape juice? The answer to this question is the answer to what makes wine special.
Some wines that you buy say that the come from such-and-such a winery while other wines say they come form such-and-such a vineyard, but what's the difference between a winery and a vineyard? Is a vineyard better than a winery, or do some wine producers simply adopt the "vineyard" label because it sounds better? That's not an entirely unreasonable concern because there are no legal standards for the use of these terms — any wine producer can all themselves a winery or vineyard if they want.
There are lots of people who enjoy drinking wine and most of these same people would also probably like to know at least a little bit more about the wines that they drink — but they don't. Why? In many cases, people seem to be intimidated by the world of wines and wine culture. Given the complexity of wine culture and snobbery associated with it, it's not hard to understand why people might feel intimidated — but it's not necessary. Learning more about wine isn't hard and can greatly expand your horizons.
Have you ever felt intimidated by the culture of wine, wine drinking, and wine production? Have you ever felt that there was just so much to learn that you couldn't possibly know were to start, much less learn enough to be useful, so why even bother?
Well, you're not alone in this. Lots of people have enjoyed wine enough to want to know more, but have also been so intimidated by wine that they were afraid to start — but you don't need to feel intimidated. It's not hard to learn enough to expand your horizons.
Does Twitter offer anything for wine drinkers and wine fans? The internet is all a-twitter about Twitter, a social networking platform that has been described as multi-player instant-messenger, IRC for people with short attention spans, and quite a bit worse. Most discussions about Twitter are focused on what good it is, so what good is twitter if you're interested in wine, wine drinking, and the wine industry? There's quite a bit to tweet about wine, fact, if you use Twitter right.
Wine wouldn't be nearly as interesting or enjoyable if all wines tasted basically the same. The most important factor which determines differences in how wines taste is the type of grape used to produce the wine. Many wines sold around the world are sold based on what sort of variety grape it was made from, so a knowledge of the flavors and aromas produced by different grape varieties is indispensable when making decisions about which wines to buy in which circumstances.