How do I choose the right wine for my meal?
There is no wine in the menu that I have tasted before. Which one shall I have?
What is the difference between a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon blanc?
How many times did you visit a restaurant and felt confused with the wine menu? Our head sommelier Savvas Papathoma is sharing 5 tips to help you choose your wine with confidence. You always need to remember that there is no rule that you need to follow but below you will find some guidelines to get the best wine match for the best dining experience.
Type of food and restaurant
The first thing you need to consider is the type of restaurant you have visited.
-If you are in a Fish restaurant then white, rose or light body red wines are recommended.
-Match rich red meats with tannic reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.
-If you are in a very exclusive restaurant then you may want to go for a special wine as well.
-For oriental and spicy food with strong flavors it is better to choose a wine that is not very dry or heavy, for example a Riesling or Gewürztraminer, a rose maybe, but if you choose to have red, then go for a light body red wine like a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais.
-To complete your food and wine experience finish your meal with a nice dessert together with a glass of sweet wine. If you having chocolate try a darker sweet wine like a port or a commandaria, and for lighter dessert dishes try a Muscat or a Tokay.
Choose your wine according to the time of day and season, or the occasion and the people you are with.
-go for lighter wines for lunch and hot summer days.
-a full body wine is more suitable for dinner on a cozy winter night let’s say.
-champagne is more appropriate at the beginning of a meal or a celebration.
If you having a dinner party choose your wines in advance so the sommelier can prepare your wines to have the right temperatures and to decant any reds for better enjoyment.
Always start your meal with lighter wines moving up with more full body and finish with some sweet ones.
Wine varietals: the wine varietal is a significant factor for choosing your wine.
Sauvignon blanc: crisp and refreshing. Extremely flexible with food, ideal with salads, delicate fish and goat cheese.
Riesling : A crisp aromatic wine that goes with just about everything. Pair with shellfish, pork, ham, salads and Asian dishes.
Chardonnay: rich and complex white, ideal with sweet shellfish, white-fleshed fish, chicken and turkey, cream and butter sauces.
Pinot Noir: A light-bodied, low-tannin, silky, sensual red, paired with pungent poultry and duck, spiced Asian or eastern Mediterranean dishes.
Shiraz: earthy and fruity. Paired with lamb, grilled meats and dishes with pungent herbs.
Cabernet Sauvignon: a big-structured, dark-fruit wine, the best of which become even more elegant with age. Best paired with grill meats, strong dark sauces and hard cheeses
Merlot: soft tannins, dark fruit. A rounder and softer red. Paired with tender, milder cuts of beef, lamb, fresh herbs, fruit sauces.
The above is the most popular grape varieties you probably have tried already, but you can always be adventurous and try some new variety to you, there so many out there.
Budget: the next think you should consider is your budget.
When you decide the type of wine that best matches your food selection then you should find a wine that matches your budget. Give an indication to sommelier, they are trained to find the right wine to your satisfaction.
Ask for help: Sometimes, it’s easiest to ask the help of a professional who can guide you through the ordering process. Try to give some indications to the sommelier of what you like so you narrow down the choices like if you would like a light or full body wine and also if you have any preferred grape variety or country of origin. The sommelier will choose the right wine for you. At the Four Seasons we have an awarded team of sommeliers who can guide you through our wine list with over 240 wine labels for the best dining experience.