Ice wine (or icewein) can certainly pair with other foods than desserts. Anything salty, like nuts, olive tapenade, or an antipasto platter with hard cheeses (parmeggiano-reggiano, etc.) and cured meats will go well with an ice wine--the clean, refreshing apple and pear flavors and crisp acidity will cleanse the palate of the saltiness.
There are about 80 calories in a 4 oz. glass of white zinfandel, so your nightly consumption is about 160 calories. Although it's been shown that red wine contains more antioxidants and other health benefits, they are actually found in ALL wines, so you are doing something good for your body by indulging in moderate wine consumption.
If all dining companions wish to drink the same kind of wine, but one guest is ordering roast chicken, another is opting for grilled salmon, and a third wants filet mignon, select a pinot noir from California, Oregon or Washington. Pinots from these areas are typically light- to medium-bodied, with light tannins, bright berry flavor and some earthy notes. They can hold their own next to any dish (even a steak, in a pinch,) and they go exceptionally well with duck, salmon and chicken.
Pinot noir is just made for salmon. Chianti and pinot grigio go perfectly with anything tomato-based (it's no coincidence why Italians drink them with their cuisine), Red Côtes du Rhône pairs beautifully with lamb, stew and other hearty dishes. Off-dry rieslings and gewurztraminers work well with Thai, Indian and Vietnamese foods (the residual sugar in the wine can counter the spices and seasonings in the food.)
New Zealand and South African sauvignon blancs are terrific food wines because of their herby, citrusy quality and great acidity. They work with so many foods for the same reason that squirting a wedge of lemon on your dish does—it “wakes up” your taste buds, makes your mouth water, and compels you to go back and take another bite of your food. Also look for “unoaked chardonnays” from the same areas—they are crisp and refreshing, without the oaky aftertaste that can sometimes overpower your food.
Try a California red Zinfandel or French red Côtes du Rhône with your turkey. For white wine lovers, offer a Vouvray from France's Loire Valley. This crisp, food-friendly white is made with the Chenin Blanc grape. Look for Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Sonoma County, E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône, or Domaine Sauvion Vouvray.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|