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Food and Wine Tips

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Having fun, and experimenting is the ultimate secret to creating a magical food and wine experience. If you have an i-phone or i-pad, click here to visit the Apple App Store and download our complete “CWC Food & Wine Pairing Guide”.

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Click to download Fish & Wine Pairing Wheel

Ahh…the sweet, smoky smell of BBQ.  These juicy wines will make whatever you grill even better.

Perfect BBQ Pairings:

BBQ Chicken: Spicy Zinfandel or an off-dry Riesling will complement all the flavors in the sauce.

Grilled Chicken:  A crisp Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc is the way to go.   

Grilled Steaks:  Cabernet is a classic match.  A full-bodied red blend is a great choice too.   

Portabella Mushroom Burgers:  Juicy Syrah will show off this veggie favorite.

Grilled Salmon or Tuna:  Pair these rich fish with a Pinot Noir. 

BBQ Pork Ribs: Rich Syrah or fruity Zinfandel will stand up to the meaty goodness.

Bacon Cheese Burgers: Zinfandel or a rich Merlot will make this favorite a standout.

Grilled Lobsters: Buttery Chardonnay adds to the lusciousness.

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Favorite Wine and Snack Combinations:

Peanuts, Pretzels & regular Potato Chips:
A crisp, light white wine like an un-oaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio will match up well to the salt.

BBQ Potato Chips:
A red Zinfandel makes a lively combination!

Tortilla chips with salsa:
Skip the beer or margarita and instead reach for a tart Reisling, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc!

Red grapes:
A delicious twist with Viognier.

Enjoy a bowlful with a lightly oaked Chardonnay or Champagne.
French Fries:
Nearly anything goes!  The subtle flavor of the potato does well with Merlot and Pinot Noir, and the salt and oil match nicely to light and crisp white wines like Pinot Grigio.

Apples and Cheese:
Easy to find a favorite if you remember this:  hard, flavorful cheeses need a darker, heavier wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon and lighter cheeses need a nice light white like Pinot Grigio, Riesling.  Apples like a Fuji or Delicious are well, just delicious!

A healthy snack deserving of a light red, like Pinot or Sangiovese.

Sweet foods need sweet wines, try a German Reisling or Muscat.

Ice cream:
Try a late-harvest wine, or fruit infused dessert wine…pour right over the top!

Chocolate Chip cookies need a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon, Oatmeal and Raisin cookies are yummy with either a Point Noir or Viognier. Gingersnaps are great fun with a peppery Zinfandel.

Carrots and Celery with Ranch dip:
Enjoy the crunch and tang alongside a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.

Beef Hamburgers:
Try any of these: Syrah, Cabernet, Zinfandel or Cabernet Franc. The juices from a burger will cut through the tannins of a bigger red wine.

Pepperoni Pizza:
Tangy pizza sauce and spicy Pepperoni go great with Zinfandel.  A Friday-night must!

White chocolate:
Champagne. The finer, the better!

Dark chocolate:
Buy the most luxurious dark chocolate that you can find, and pair it with a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Malbec. Heaven.

So reach for a glass of wine with your favorite snack and reap the rewards of wine’s health benefits, plus create a taste sensation.

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How long should you store a wine?
Wine is constantly evolving from the minute the juice is pressed until the minute it is enjoyed.  So how do you know when it is “ready”?
The short answer is “it’s complicated.” Everything about the wine including varietal, vintage, vineyard and winemaker needs to be considered.   You also need to consider whether you personally prefer the bright fruit of a younger wine or the complexity of an older wine.   Wineries typically release their wines when they feel “it’s ready to drink now.”

As far as how much longer to hold the wine, here is some of what winemakers have shared with us over the last 22 years:
Riesling……1 to 2 years
Sauvignon Blanc......2 to 3 years
Chardonnay......2 to 5 years
Pinot Noir…… 2 to 5 years
Zinfandel…… 3 to 6 years
Merlot…… 3 to 7 years
Cabernet Sauvignon:  4 years or more!
These are loose guidelines but we hope you find them helpful.
How to store wine:
The main enemies of wine include heat, light and motion. Don’t store your wine in direct sunlight or anywhere it might get jostled.  Ideally, wine should be stored in the dark at between 58° and 62°.  A good place is in a dry closet, preferably one that isn’t located on an exterior wall.  The top of the refrigerator, while convenient, just isn’t a good idea. 

Fun fact: Some wineries are experimenting with aging wine in the ocean.  The constant temperature and lack of light and air make for good storage conditions. 

Screw Caps No Longer Mean “Cheap”. Many premium artisan wineries are making the switch to the metal closures. 

Here’s why:
• Screw caps solve the “corked bottle” syndrome that ruins thousands of bottlings each year.
• They are easier to open and close and make enjoying wine more convenient.
• They are less expensive for wineries and, ultimately, you.

“A 10-year study done by the Australian Wine Research Institute indicated that wine retaining the most freshness over time had screw cap closures.” --Wine Spectator (May 31, 2010)

“To hold a bottle five to 10 years, it looks like the screw cap is the way to go.” 
--Dale Goode, Murphy-Goode Winery, Sonoma County

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