Begin Your Meal With A Fine Wine

There will come a time when you may need to prepare a special meal. Should you have appetizers? What should you choose for a main course? Which wine would best accompany the meal? This last thought is especially important as wines are meant to meld with the meal you are consuming. If you choose the wrong wine, you end up with incompatible flavors and a dinner disaster. The best way to avoid this catastrophe is to plan the meal around a preferred wine.

Choosing a Wine

There are a variety of wines to choose from—dry wines, sweet wines, dessert wines, red, white, and rose. Selecting a wine can be as daunting as picking a meal. Because I know that wine selection can be tough, I have decided to create a series of articles to assist you with the process.

Before you choose a wine, you should be familiar with wine variations and terms. In this first article, I’ll define the meaning of “dry” for those of you who are not wine aficionados. Have you ever taken a swallow of wine that was very tangy, not sweet at all, and made your mouth dry as the desert? If so, you have tasted a dry wine.

Usually dry wines are not sweet since they contain little to no sugar—less than 10 grams of residual sugar. They are often tangy because of a high acidity level, but one can’t always rely on taste alone. Some dry wines may seem sweet due to a fruity flavor. These wines are considered more complex and sophisticated in essence and aroma because they encompass a variety of pure flavors that meld together.

There are several varieties of dry wines to choose from, but we will start with the dry red wines. Here is a short list of dry red wines and the ideal meals to pair with them:


This wine is considered the “baby” of the dry red wine family because it is often served as an introductory wine. It has a softer and sweeter taste than most other dry wines, due to its lush fruity flavors of plums and berries.

Merlot goes well with cheese and most slow-roasted meats such as roasted leg of Lamb, roasted chicken or roasted pork loin. This wine is perfect to pair with Marina’s Meatball Parmigiana Pizza or One Pan Pasta with Bacon and Peas.


A very dry wine produced in Bordeaux France, this type is also commonly called a “claret.” The wine is full-bodied and infused with dark fruity flavors. It is often paired with red meat, but you may choose to serve it with simple grilled sausages . Veggies such as lentils and haricot beans also pair well with this wine. Present Bordeaux with Wild Mushroom Pate and Bacon Maple Baked Brie .

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is produced worldwide and is well-known for a higher alcohol content—ranging from 13.5% to 15%.  This wine is proclaimed to be hearty. It is often described as having dark cherry and plum flavors with hints of vanilla and a cedar or oaky “woodiness.”

This wine—often paired with red meat, veggies and cheese—couples superbly with a delicious Marinated & Grilled Flank Steak.


Produced in Tuscany, Chianti is one of the most well-known Italian wines in the United States. This wine is recognized for a refreshingly light body and a dark cherry flavor mixed with subtle spices. It is usually paired with red meat, fish, or cheese, but can be served with a variety of dishes.

The higher acidity level of this wine balances well with tomato sauce. Serve Chianti with our Bolognes Sauce Recipe Made with Berkshire Ground Pork (make sure to use the Chianti in the recipe as well) or Marina’s Pork Lasagna.

Here at Circle B Ranch we are all about simplicity. I want to provide you with the knowledge you need to make your food preparation as easy as possible. Don’t forget to look for the next blog in the Circle B Ranch wine series. I will share information about dry white wines, and you can look forward to more delicious recipes to accompany them.

References and Other Wine Resources:

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