Breaking the Rules - Red vs. White Wine|
by The Casual Entertainer
Tired of fussy and silly rules for entertaining? The Casual Entertainer debunks the myths of entertaining each week in this lighthearted column. This week he attacks the main rule of wine..."red with red and white with white".
Welcome to Breaking the Rules. Each month I will examine a silly rule of entertaining and debunk it. Entertaining should be about what works for you and your family…not a silly set of rules made up by someone who cannot even begin to imagine what it is like to live without several full sets of china, fine crystal, and someone else to do all the cooking…and the dishes. I offer real life guidelines and will offer more practical suggestions and solutions to some entertaining standards that are outdated or just no longer practical.
Rule #1 - Red wine should only be served with "red" meat such as beef and pork and white wine should only be served with "white" meat such as fish and chicken.
There is a basic truth to the this rule, and that is the majority of red wines are better suited to heartier dishes such as a beef roast and that the majority of white wines are better suited to more delicate dishes like chicken in a simple sauce. However, there are almost as many exceptions to this rule as there are inclusions.
There are many rules and guidelines about pairing wine with food, and we will talk a lot about pairing wine with food on this site. But not here though! To be honest, the average person does not really worry too much about pairing wine with food. While it is important that a host keeps in mind the general qualities of a wine and the food that is being served when choosing a wine, it is almost standard now to offer a choice of red and white wine, no matter what the main course is.
While you may think this is excessive, there really is a very good reason for it. Most people are less concerned with whether the wine matches their food as they are with their personal preferences. Some people prefer red wine over white and vice versa…and regardless of what they are eating would prefer to drink a wine they enjoy rather than one that is supposedly perfect with the food on the table.
If you know your guests taste, buy the wine that they like. If you do not, falling back on pairing the wine with the food is always a good option. Just keep in mind that the character of the wine is more important than the color is. Another entertaining trend is to choose a variety of different wines with different qualities that will appeal to different guests. Offer a very rich Cabernet Sauvignon, a fruity Beaujolais, and a dry Chardonnay and most guests will be able to find a wine that appeals to them.