Wine Pairing Rule 4 – Sparkling & Dessert Wines

This film is part of a series of eight by Neil Smith, owner of the WineSmith wine shop in Ashburn, Virginia. I have selected some material by other wine writers while I am too busy to write my own articles.

Transcript

Neil Smith: Hi, my name is Neil Smith with WineSmith and today, I am showing you how to pair wine and food. Right now, we are going to talk about our fourth rule which is to not overlook sparkling and dessert wines when you are planning a menu and let’s start by talking about sparkling wines. Sparkling wines are usually reserved for one day which is New Year’s eve which is a shame because they are very food friendly wines and they are a great way to start a dinner party or any type of meal where you have guests waiting to be served or waiting for other guests to arrive. Sparkling wines, just by the very nature of do have a salivatory feel to them. So it is a great way to get your guest in the mood for a nice occasion, but it’s also a great way to get your mouth primed, if you will for more food and wine to follow.

So let’s give an example of how sparkling wine works very well with food and what we are going to use is a bottle of sparkling wine that we talked about in the intro as well as some salty food like popcorn or peanuts and I have chosen popcorn for this example. So let’s start by opening the bottle, I am pouring a small glass and then go ahead and taking a bite of popcorn or peanuts, whatever you have handy and then follow that with a sip of the wine. So pay attention to how they bubbles in the acidity in the wine help to clean your mouth up, wash away the saltiness and the butter and again, more importantly, it gets your mouth ready for another bite of food. So that’s enough about sparkling wines.

Let’s talk a little bit about dessert wines. Dessert wines are usually enough to be served on their own and when you are serving dessert wines with another type of dessert you want to make sure that the wine has enough sweetness to stand up to the sweetness in the dessert. So for example, chocolate is a very difficult item to pair with a dessert wine and one of the few dessert wines that work with chocolate is Port. Port also works very nicely with blue cheeses especially, Stilton and then for your other main category of dessert wines things like Late Harvest Rieslings for example, those are usually best served by themselves but can also work nicely with cheeses and simple fruits. So that’s our fourth rule for pairing wine and food and now we are going to talk about our fifth rule which is to experiment and practice often.

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