Whether you are a gent who enjoys drinking wine or not, knowing how to choose a wine for a special occasion is a quality that a gentleman ought to bestow. There are a number of opportunities where the gentleman may have to choose wine: entertaining business guests, dining with a date, casually lounging with friends and family, or celebrating a holiday. If you are new to wine, it is best to keep it simple. Pairing food, wine and company is meant to bring out the best in everything. Here are a few key points:

  • White and rose wines are generally served chilled; red wines are served at room temperature.
    • White and rose wines are typically lighter and acidic
    • Red wines have a warm and earthy quality
  • White and rose wines are often used to “prime the palate” before a meal, and served with appetizers.
    • Pair well with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese and charcuterie, seafood and Asian cuisine
  • Red wines often accompany the entrée or main, heavier dish
    • Pair well with earthy vegetables, spices and meat
  • Sparkling wines are celebratory, such as a special occasion or toast. These wines are also seen towards the end of a meal with a fruity dessert.

Here are the most common Red, White and Sparkling Wines that you may encounter:

  1. RED
    1. Pinot noir – light body but flavorful, pairs well with vegetables, mushrooms, truffles
    2. Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, red blends – dark fruit, tannins cleanse the palate while enjoying juicy red meat such as chops or lamb
    3. Malbec, Shiraz, Cotes-du-Rhone – bold reds that stand up to big flavor, such as spicy barbeque sauce
    4. Syrah, Cabernet Franc – reds characterized by spicy notes that pair well with seasoned and cured meats
  2. WHITE
    1. Chardonnay – silky, oaky, pairs well with fatty fish such as salmon
    2. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Vouvray – slightly sweet yet crisp effervescence made these a delightful match with sweet and spicy Asian and Thai cuisine (sushi, pad Thai noodles)
    3. Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, Verdejo – these zippy, crisp whites pair well with tangy foods (citrus), tart dressings and sauces
    4. Rose – acidity of white wine with the fruity characteristics of red, pairs well with cheesy bites
    5. Pinot Grigio, Chablis – a delicate white that compliments light seafood dishes
    1. Champagne, Prosecco, Cava – dry and effervescent, pair well with salty foods, udon noodles
    2. Moscato, demi-sec Champagne (slightly sweet) – playfully pair with natural sweetness of fruity desserts

Here is a quick guide to get you started when you find yourself in charge of wine:

Business or Professional occasion Select two wines: 1 white wine to begin the meal, 1 red wine with the main dish Sauvignon Blanc
Taking a special someone out for a date Select 1 wine that compliments the style of meal (Italian, Asian, Spanish, etc.). Share 1 bottle with your date (you don’t have to finish it all!)

Even better: let your date choose!

Riesling + Sushi
Casual time with friends and family Select an origin of wine that compliments the style of meal (Italian, Asian, Spanish, etc.). Purchase 1+ different types of that wine to taste test. Spanish Tapas:

Albariño (white), Rioja (red), Cava (sparkling)

Holiday Select 1 white wine, 1 red wine and 1 sparkling wine to enjoy. Or, ask your guests to bring their favorite wine to sample and compare different types. Sauvignon Blanc + Pinot Noir + Champagne


Once you have chosen the wines, sit back and relax. Don’t forget to toast to the occasion, tchin tchin!

Written by Pamela Terlizzi, NYC-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga teacher

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