The ‘Right’ Wine

BY Dan Berger TIMEDecember 6, 2022 PRINT

Wine purists say that the wine you choose should match the food—and some of them can be rather persnickety about this. Others say, phooey: Drink anything you like with any food.

Riesling with steak? Hey, if you like it, go for it. It’s your dinner table. Do what you like. But a riesling with steak certainly would challenge the wine. I can’t imagine riesling with steak, but some people like riesling so much that they swoon to get a great one; the food is incidental.

Once it was déclassé to serve a rosé. Ever. They were too sweet. Today, one of the more elegant choices for an all-purpose wine, one that goes with light seafood and red meat dishes, is a dry rosé.

How you serve a wine could make a huge difference in how it’s enjoyed. For instance, if you’re serving a red wine with dinner and the room is warm, then the wine may well be warm as well. Try chilling it a bit.

Red wines shouldn’t be served cold, but cooler is better than warmer. Cool wines usually taste better than warm ones.

If you don’t like the initial aroma of a wine, it may not be bad. Perhaps it’s just young and still exhibits a bit of an “off” aroma. If you’ve already pulled the cork, just decant it. Simply splash it (white or red) into a decanter or clean water pitcher. The simple act of splashing it around could make it “open up.”

Does the red wine seem a little alcoholic? If the label says 14.5 percent alcohol or more, it may be a bit harsh. Far too many wines today are too high in alcohol. Here the decanter is really your friend. Splash the wine around for a while, pouring from one decanter to another for a few minutes.

This actually allows some of the alcohol to evaporate. Some winemakers believe you can get rid of between one-half percent and 1 percent of the alcohol in this way.

If that still doesn’t do it, add an ice cube. Not only will it keep the wine a bit cooler, but it’ll drop the alcohol down a bit. Some purists may squawk, but it’s your wine, and if it tastes better to you that way, the ice cube will offend only the other guy.

However, if you put ice cubes in your glass of Château Latour, expect to get a grimace from a wine purist. And I would agree with him!

I’ll never forget a hot afternoon, years ago, when the late Pete Seghesio, patriarch of the Sonoma County family winery bearing that name, poured cool water into his glass of zinfandel with lunch. He then said, “I like the flavor, but sometimes the wine is too strong.”

Yes, lots of people like bold, rich red wines and dislike anything lighter in weight. They drink wines that are big, hefty, and young. A lot of wine is made that way these days.

And sure, there is a degree of enjoyment in such wines. But ultimately, it comes down to the fact that the wine is yours, and you have every right to do with it what you desire.

No Wine of the Week.

To find out more about Sonoma County resident Dan Berger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at
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