Guide to wines...

Drinking wine with your meal adds that something extra to your enjoyment, whether it is a bottle of chunky red wine with pasta or champagne to celebrate a birthday.

Choosing wine in a restaurant is easy because most good ones will have a selection of wines to complement their menu and offer a price range to suit your pocket. Red and white house wines usually offer good value and vary in price but £10-12.00 a bottle is not too high when you consider the time they take to ensure the wine reflects the quality of their restaurant; at least it should! Don’t be put off by the wine list as they can still be good value because restaurants buy wholesale and often import the wine themselves. What you are buying is the restaurant’s expertise and they are always pleased to recommend.

When choosing your wine always have water with your meal; it cleans the palate between courses and also ensures you don’t drink too much if you are driving! Selecting a wine is not an exact science but the traditional rules still apply; red with dark meat, white with fish and chicken. Most game needs a strong red wine to complement the taste and a good white wine will add wonders to a bland white fish dish. Most obvious is the fact that you don’t want the sauces to spoil the enjoyment you can get out of a good bottle of wine.

Sparkling wines and champagne are wonderful for starting the meal off but stick to a glass as an aperitif rather than drinking it through the meal. Share the bottle with friends but don’t drink a whole bottle between two before the meal; you won’t be driving home if you do. Many restaurants offer a glass of champagne in the same way as they offer house wine, by the glass.

Over the next few months we will be selecting some restaurant wines that have been chosen by the proprietors and asking them to introduce their selection to you.

Enjoy your wine in moderation (with a glass of water) and never take chances if you are driving.

Be sober, be safe!