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Engagement 101

Setting the Mood with Wine

Selecting Wine - Advice From the Experts – Setting the stage for a proposal involves great attention to detail. A key element to make your proposal an unforgettable event is choosing the perfect wine for the occasion. Celebrations such as these call out for champagne!

Champagnes or sparkling wines vary in style and cost. Tastes range from a light, crisp brut style to a heavy, rich, toasty style. If you plan to pop the question before dinner or without food, the lighter brut sparkling wine is my choice. These wines could be a "real" French champagne or a nice sparkling wine. Sparkling wines are made in many countries these days and are usually easier on the budget than many of their French counterparts. Also, don't forget about rose sparkling wines! These wines, with their many shades of pink, make a beautiful presentation.

While they are usually more expensive than a brut, roses look fabulous in a flute and have a refined, rich taste. Regardless of your choice, an elegant flute and iced bucket with a bottle of champagne makes a perfect first impression for your night to remember.

Charlotte Gordon
Aragon Wine Market

Pairing Food & Wine – There are two contrasting points of view in pairing food and wine. One thought is to drink whatever wine you like no matter what the food you are having with it. There is nothing wrong with this except it's the easy way out and there are much better choices that can be made to enhance you meal with a little thought. The other point of view is to match lighter fare with lighter wines and heartier fare with bolder wines. We will take this path and tweak the clichè pairings of white wine with seafood and fowl and red wine with beef.

Let's start out with matching wine with lighter foods. Generally fish, shellfish, chicken and lightly sauced pastas fall into this category. These foods match nicely with sparkling wine, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Unoaked Chardonnay, and Rose. If you add a heavy sauce you will need more body in your wine like a vintage champagne, richer more robust chardonnays and white burgundies. If you are making a very spicy dish, none of these wines will work very well and be totally lost. For these types of food (think Thai or Creole), you should turn to Riesling or Gewurztraminer. The hint of sweetness and residual sugar will act as a shield for your tongue making it an enjoyable combination. Nat all seafood goes with white wine, as salmon has a natural affinity to Pinot Noir and meaty tuna is a natural with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Now, let's move on to heartier fare such as pastas, pork, duck, beef and lamb. Again, what you want to do is match the body of the food with the body (or weight) of the wine. Fruitier reds like Chiantis, lighter red Zinfandels, Spanish Garnachas go fantastic with red sauced pastas and all cuts of pork. Duck, which is a red meat, is rich, fatty and needs a bit more richness in wine, such as a French red Burgundy or a well-balanced Merlot. Everyone knows beef goes with Cabernet Sauvignon, but a well-marbled rib-eye with an Aussie Shiraz or Argentine Malbec can be transcendent. Gamier fare, such as lamb or venison, needs a full throttle wine like Syrah or Syrah-based wines. A serious Syrah from California or in a blend from France's Rhone Valley like Chateauneuf-Du-Pape will compliment these large flavors.

Finally, dessert. Many option here between dessert wines, port or finishing with Champagne. Lighter, fruit-driven desserts go great with Champagne. More savory desserts, such as Crème Brulee pair well with intense dessert wines such as Sauternes from France or a late harvest Riesling from California. Ports go great with chocolate-based desserts, but if you want to do something different, try a cheese tray with three different types of cheese plus throw in some spiced pecans and walnuts for a unique combination.

Remember, these are general rules of thumb for pairing wine and food. If you want to drink Sauvignon Blanc with you filet mignon with Chanterelle mushrooms and Port demi-glace, go for it. If you need help in selecting wines for you special dinner, please don't hesitate to contact us at Seville Quarter. Our Wine Shoppe has many unique wines from all over the world at great prices to fit any budget. Enjoy your dinner and don't be stressed out about matching wine and food.

Bill Carlson
Seville Quarter Wine & Gift Shoppe
850-434-6211 |

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