Red wine is rich, deep, full-bodied and flavorful. It can be dry or sweet and served with everything from tasty appetizers to decadent desserts. With various red wines coming from all over the world, choosing just the right bottle of crimson vino to accompany your pre-feast appetizers can seem a little overwhelming.
Adhere to the basic wine-pairing rule. The most commonly known rule of thumb for pairing red and white wines with food is to pair reds with dark foods and red meats, such as beef and pork, while pairing whites with lighter colored foods and meats, like chicken, turkey and fish. Remembering the light-and-dark rule isn’t just for doing your laundry; it can also make the process of selecting a wine and accompanying appetizers much easier.
Cook up some pasta. Red wine tends to go better with cooked pastas than white wine does, especially stuffed pastas like shells and ravioli. Make some homemade ravioli and stuff it with savory cheeses or meat or save time by purchasing pre-made ravioli at the grocery store and deep frying it to give it unexpected flavor and crunch that will go great with a bold red wine.
Bake some bread. Appetizers containing bread are great for cleansing the palate of the richness of a red wine and preparing for the main course. A basic dipping tray with slices of baguette bread and olive oil is a simple idea that can be ready in minutes. If you have a little more time, top baguette slices with chopped tomatoes and basil for some homemade bruschetta whose earthy flavors will complement the rich undertones of a red wine.
Use dark vegetables. Darker colored vegetables tend to have richer, earthier tastes and textures that complement the tannins in red wine. Vegetables like tomatoes have acidity that will be balanced out by the contrast of a red vintage, while the earthy flavors of eggplant or spinach pair well with a spicy red shiraz.
Be berry good. A lot of red wines have berry or cherry notes and undertones, making dark colored fruits excellent pairings for most red wines. Ripe strawberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries all work well with red wines. Their sweetness contrasts well with the spice and dryness of some red wines and their fresh yet complex flavors work well with just about any type of red wine. A simple bowl of ripe berries and red fruits will make a great appetizer to accompany red wine.