Baltimore County

Tastes in food point the way toward wine choices

Everyone has a few favorite food items that galvanize them when they peruse a menu. Citrus, mushrooms, spice, chocolate, tomato …whatever it is, it tantalizes the emotions and helps in the decision-making.

Those personal food preferences also reveal a lot about personal wine preferences.

Your breakfast beverage of choice is very telling. As a general rule, those who drink orange juice by preference love the fruit-forward character of New World wines. Those who prefer the high acidity of pink grapefruit juice revel in the structure and complexity of Old World wines. Cranberry juice drinkers, who appreciate both fruit and acid in combination, swing both ways.

If you love lemons and other high-acid citrus, you'll gravitate to high-acid whites like Chablis, champagne or Loire Valley and New Zealand sauvignon blancs.

Along a similar vein, people who thrill to the mouth-watering zing of a vine-ripe tomato will enjoy the delicately echoing acidic bite found in Chianti and other sangiovese-based Italian reds.

Mushroom lovers crave earthy reds that hint of forest floor, tree bark, leather and other organic elements. They adore varietal cabernet francs and pinot noirs, red Burgundies from France and red Riojas from Spain.

People who crave dark chocolate and nuts, especially in combination, are not afraid of bitterness. They love tannic reds and/or oaky reds and gravitate toward Cabernet Sauvignon, red Bordeaux, Nebbiolo, Barbarescos and Barolos from Italy, and Syrah-based reds from the Rhone and Australia.

Conversely, those who eschew bitterness usually are most happy drinking lightly tannic reds such as varietal gamay, pinot noir, barbera, dolcetto or Beaujolais and Valpolicella, and often with a slight chill.

Those who hunt for spice and heat in their food usually enjoy equally powerful wines such as red zinfandels and gewürztraminers and grenache-based reds from the southern Rhone.

The sweet-sour/sweet-hot craving met by Asian or fusion cuisines is best assuaged by a similarly constructed German riesling with its bracing acidity and slight residual sugar. Those who enjoy such a palate tease on the plate usually delight in the same sensations in the glass.

Those who like life on the sweet side gravitate toward wines with residual sugar, such as white zinfandel and moscato/muscat, or chose wines with abundant fruit such as viognier, torrontes and chenin blanc or Condrieu, Vouvray, Montlouis and Saumur.

Lovers of all things cream-based and cheese-based are usually pulled toward smooth, hedonistic, buttery chardonnays. Both texture and flavors echo.

Vegetarians and other fans of all things green soon discover the rich taste of chlorophyll found in Austrian gruner veltiner or the benchmark characteristics of jalapeno and celery stick found within certain sauvignon blancs.

If you are what you eat, what you eat also dictates what you drink. And vice versa.

But who's to say that you can't explore and (to coin a phrase) b'more!

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