We all know that wines are meant to be paired with certain foods (although it never hurts to mix it up a little). However, what about pairing wines with wines? When should you drink which wine? Does it matter the order you choose to drink your wines in? Traditionalists would say yes and below is a closer look at the rules professional sommeliers live by.
Light to Full
It may seem like common sense but going through your wines from light-bodied to full-bodied throughout a meal is always recommended. Serving a range of wines at a dinner party requires real planning and so placing those delicate flavours first is always recommended. A full-bodied and powerful Bordeaux served before a light Pinot will simply ruin the enjoyment of the second wine.
White, Rose, Red
Light-bodied wines come first so white wines must come before reds and roses are best served in between the too. This allows for the acidity and fresh fruit flavours of whites and roses to be enjoyed on a clear and clean palate. If you’re considering a red before white, keep it light such as a Beaujolais.
Wines make-up considerably changes as they age. The flavours become smoother and their aromas change too. Red wines gain rich tobacco and leather-like flavours while whites start to develop those sweeter, dried fruit notes. Trying these flavours before a fresh young white wine would simply stop the enjoyment of the second wine and remove the chance to enjoy both sets of flavours. Older wines should be saved for later in the evening.
Acid then Sweetness
Again, a very obvious rule but one which must never be broken! Sweet and fortified wines are designed for the end of the meal, they’re not called dessert wines for no reason. The residual sugar in these wines will kill off the flavours of any younger, non-fortified wine, removing its tannins and acidity.
Planning a traditional dinner party, wines and all, is certainly achievable with a little effort and planning. You can easily buy wine online to suit every course of your meal and wow your guests with a dinner party which allows for great food and perfectly paired wines.