• Foods to pair with Pinot Noir: anything in mushroom sauce, grilled salmon or tuna, pumpkin soup
  • Names to try: Dehlinger (USA), Mount Riley (New Zealand), Drouhin (France), Byron (USA)

Gamay: Learn this name, for it represents some of the best bargains in the red wine world. This fruity red is most famously the grape used in France’s Beaujolais wines, but Gamay is also becoming better known in California and Canada.

  • Foods to pair with Gamay: potato dishes, spicy sausage, roast chicken, pizza
  • Names to try: Jadot (France), Preston (USA), Mommessin (France)

Cabernet Sauvignon: The most popular red wine grape in the Unites States, Cabernet is the one you’ll need to know to impress the average man. Most California cult wines are made from Cabernet or are Cab blends.

  • Foods to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon: pot roast, wild game, chicken and mashed potatoes, hamburgers and fries
  • Names to try: Joseph Phelps (USA), Penfolds (Australia), Clos du Val (USA), Montes Alpha (Chile)

Sparkling Wine: Champagne is sparkling wine, but not all bubbly is Champagne. Confused? In order to be called Champagne, a wine must come from the Champagne region of France. But that doesn’t mean that other bubbles are inferior. Great sparkling wines come from Spain, Italy, Australia and the United States.

  • Foods to pair with Sparkling Wine: There are two types. For Blanc de Blanc, try popcorn, potato chips, caviar, bacon and eggs. Brut Champagnes are great with cheeses, fish in cream sauce and even chocolate chip cookies.
  • Names to try: Perrier Jouet (France), Iron Horse (USA), Gosset - pronounced Go Say - (France), Gloria Ferrer (USA)
So bring on those wine lists and pick the perfect wine! Nothing says you know what you’re doing like recommending a Latour Chardonnay for your date to try with his steamed lobster. Keep exploring and expanding your wine IQ, and soon you’ll be recommending your own favorite grapes and pairings. California Cab with that casserole, anyone? [thanks http://www.savvymiss.com!]