I’m glad to see this section. I actually have gone to wine school, travelled to major wine regions where I traipsed through vineyards asking winemakers about their irrigation methods, and visited the Perrier Jouet “guest house” aka: mansion, where I uttered for the only time in my life: “No more Champagne, thank you.” I even wrote about wine and spirits for a living. I must be a wine expert, right?
I think not, masked man. There are still 10 zillion things I don’t know about wine. So I’m guessing others have questions or fears about it, too. As a professional journalist and in life, the only dumb question is the unasked question. Here are a couple of things that often confuse:
Brut and Extra Dry
If brut Champagne means it’s dry (dry meaning less sweet), doesn’t extra dry mean it’s even less sweet than brut? Logically, yes. But oh, those playful French.
In wine, extra dry means sweeter than brut. That is, when bottles are ready to be corked and shipped, each gets a dose of sugar to round it out and assure a bon voyage. Brut wines get less sugar than extra dry. There’s even a brut sauvage level with no added sugar.
Red Wine, Meat; White Wine Fish
Does anyone like mustard on a hot dog? I do. But in Chicago you’d get some very incredulous stares because mustard ain’t how it’s done there. But since I seldom let other people eat for me, pass me that Dijon.
Similar thing with wine and food. Yes, a big, tannic red is often the perfect wine fir a steak, lamb or wild boar (I eat wild boar every night, don’t you?). But sometimes a white wine works better, even if only for your tastebuds. I’d rather drink a bright, dry, acid forward German Riesling with a burger than some alcohol heavy, over ripe red.
Similarly, some fish demand a red. Pinot Noir and grilled salmon, par example. Or a delicate Beaujolais with a milder fish. Of course, beautiful whites such as Chablis or Sancerre are great with seafood.
Point is, it depends on what YOU think tastes best together. Forget the “rules,” because you’re a rebel born to break them, right? Well, at least some of them.