You love having wine with your meal, but rarely serve wine with home cooked meals. The truth is it can be intimidating to know which wine to serve with your meal. While you may understand that white wine goes with white meat and red goes with red meat, it’s a bit more difficult than that. For example, which red wine goes with your meal? With so many varieties to choose from, how do you choose? Here are a few tips on how to choose a red wine to compliment your meal.

Know Your Price Range

It doesn’t do you any good to head to a wine shop and tell the merchant what you’re serving, if you don’t know what you price range is. The wine merchant will gladly assist you, but will more than likely recommend the most expensive brands in the shop. However, if you have a price in mind, the merchant can then offer a selection in that price range and then help you choose the best variety.

Remember That Heavy Wines Go with Heavy Foods

If you’re serving a heavy meal, you will need a full-bodied wine that can stand up to the rich flavors. For example, you might serve a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot with prime rib. The same goes for lighter meals. If you plan to serve something like a salad topped with thin strips of sirloin steak, you may want a light-bodied Zinfandel.

Consider the Characteristics of the Wine

If you have several favorite wines, consider the characteristics of each wine. What aromas does the wine have? Do you detect any hints of spice? The characteristics of the wine will help you decide which wines to pair with which meals.

Trust Your Preferences

You should always trust your instincts. If you think a wine would taste good with a certain dish, then serve it with that dish. You know what you like and should never question whether or not its “okay” to serve a certain wine with a certain food.

While pairing red wine with your meals may seem intimidating, especially if you’re counting wine calories with your food, it doesn’t have to be. Remember that heavier wines go with heavier foods and that your instincts will never stir you wrong. Most importantly, serve what you like. It doesn’t matter if a French chef says you can only serve the wine with certain foods. What matters is what your taste buds think.

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