This is the third of an ongoing series of wines and food pairings
Wine, it's the perfect beverage for a romantic dinner, a go-to for a casual get-together/party and a holiday meal is complimented by it. Whether it's a meal for two, a small party for friends or a gathering of family, having the right wine elevates the occasion.
And while most people follow the basic rule of thumb - red wine for beef and white wine for chicken - selecting the right wine can still be challenging. What KIND of red for that roast beef? Or, What KIND of white for that lemon chicken dish? Does dessert call for a different wine?
The choices are many and can be intimidating, with the reds there's Merlot; Cabernet Sauvignon; Zinfandel; Syrah/Shiraz; Malbec; Pinot Noir; Nebbiolo; Sangiovese; Grenache and all kinds of red blends to choose from.
With the whites there's Chardonnay; Sauvignon Blanc; Moscato; Pinot Grigio; Riesling; Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Torrontes, Albarino and yes, white wine has it's share of blends as well.
So you walk into the liquor store in need of a bottle of wine for a dinner date or special occasion...
Sure, you can rely on the store attendant to help you with a selection but that can be hit or miss. A good attendant will ask you if you prefer wines on the sweeter or dryer side and what you might be pairing it with. But keep in mind the attendant's palate is different than yours, their sweet and dry preferences are different than yours and they might try to push a particular brand on you that's in the store's best interest, not yours. So why not walk in the store knowing what you need? That's what this guide is for, to help you with food pairings, what is sweet, what is dry and getting a good wine for under $15 a bottle. That's the Bachelor on the Cheap wallet friendly thing to do, get something nice, without paying too much for it.
Today's featured wine: Zinfandel
Not to be confused with White Zinfandel, that popular box wine that wine snobs frown upon, zinfandel is a red wine. Having moderate tannins and higher alcohol levels ranging from 14 - 17 percent, Zinfandel has a bold taste. The flavor profile often carries fruity, almost 'jammy' notes such as blueberry, cherry, plum and cranberry, followed by black pepper and spice, perhaps even a tobacco-like smoky finish. This puts Zinfandel on the sweeter side of red wines so pairing with lightly spiced barbecue or curry dishes is a good move. Think pork dishes with this wine, ham, pulled pork if you're going barbecue and just about any dish that includes bacon. Veal is also a good pairing, as is turkey so no, that 'only white wine with bird' rule is not an absolute. When it comes to cheeses, pair with Feta, Havarti, Parmesan or a milder blue cheese like Gorgonzola. With dessert, remember that your wine needs to be as sweet or sweeter than what is being served. Zinfandel is excellent with cheesecakes made with fruit or have fruity sauces, fruit pies, tarts and carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting. Serve Zinfandel like you would other red wines, slightly below room temperature, 60 - 65 degrees, putting the bottle in the fridge about 30 minutes prior to serving.
Bachelor on the Cheap Recomendation: Cline Old Vine Lodi Zinfindel - $10.99. From the winemaker website: Cline Old Vine Lodi Zinfandel is a challenging and rewarding wine to make. Amazing old vine fruit, detailed selection criteria and master blending show in the final wine. A wide array of jammy strawberry and plum aromas followed by black cherry, strawberry and vanilla flavors lead to a smooth and lengthy finish.
Next Up in the series: Syrah