This post is sponsored by Healdsburg Wineries. All opinions are 100% my own!
Millennials are pushing wine to the forefront of popularity. While beer still tops the list of favorite alcoholic beverages, one 2016 poll revealed that wine consumption among this age group has increased nearly 15 percent. There might be several reasons for this surge, but one of the largest is likely the interest millennials have in specialty wines and how they are produced. If you want to know more about wine and how to choose it the next time you are traveling with friends, there are a few strategies you can use to help ensure you make the right choice.
1. Peruse the Selections First
When you are traveling and make your first stop at an unfamiliar restaurant, it is important to check out what it has to offer in terms of flavors, varietals, and regions. Some eateries have wine available by the bottle, while others offer it by the glass. If you are indulging in a wine tasting along with dinner, note which brands and styles catch your attention.
If you are completely new to choosing wines in a certain region, keep in mind that there are two main categories to consider: sweetness and color. White wines tend to be on the sweeter side, while red wines are typically drier. You can ask your sommelier, or wine steward, for assistance so you put your best foot forward.
2. Pair Food and Wine Flavors
When you receive a menu, take a moment to look over the food selection and whether the restaurant suggests certain wines to order along with their signature dishes. If there are no suggestions, then consider which flavors will pair together. For example, most poultry dishes go well with fruity wines, especially if they are made with reductions that include raspberry and other sweet fruits. Stronger food flavors, such as hearty beef or vegetable dishes, might pair well with full-bodied or dry red wines, as these wines are less likely to create a sour combination and prevent a bad aftertaste.
If you stop at a seafood restaurant, such as those that are common along the New England coast, it can be tricky to pair this kind of food with wine, but there are a few tips you might keep in mind. If you want to order sushi, oysters, or a shrimp dish, consider the textures of these foods. Scallops, for instance, are firm yet tender when cooked, much like shrimp. Sushi tends to be delicate and not as firm, so consider a drier wine for this type of dish.
3. Order With Confidence
If you and your friends are traveling with the purpose of trying new foods and beverages, taking your time with the menu at restaurants you choose can help you feel more confident when it comes to ordering the right kind of wine, even if you are in unfamiliar territory. If you are ordering for the table, remember to check which vintages are currently available, as they might change and not be correctly reflected on the menu.
When the bottle arrives, check the label to ensure you have received what you ordered. Have your steward open the bottle and pour for you, and then give it a taste. Tasting the wine before you receive can cleanse your palate and help you appreciate the way your chosen wine and food pairs without allowing other flavors to interfere.
If you suspect something is wrong with your bottle of wine, do not be afraid to speak up and say so. After all, you are paying for the experience and your steward or waiter is there to help you. If the flavor or smell seems off, then request another bottle. If you have never tasted a certain flavor or vintage before, ask your friends who might be more experienced if a scent or flavor is the norm of the wine you have ordered.
4. Visit a Winery Along the Way
Stopping at a winery during your travels, such as Healdsburg Wineries, can help you learn about how wine is made. Jordan Vineyard & Winery offers wine tastings, tours and culinary events that make for an exciting road trip destination. These events may give you special insight about how to choose wines whether you are traveling domestically or abroad.
Before you leave the winery, take some time to stop in the lobby and pick up some bottles to take back home with you. Not only will the wine remind you of the fun time you had with your friends, but a bottle of wine also makes a great gift for your host of the next dinner party you attend.
Tasting new food and wine can be a joyous experience as you travel with friends. New flavors and memorable moments await you and keeping a few tips in mind as you choose wine can help make them all the more enjoyable.