Not all wines require the assistance of food in order to be enjoyable. A wine served before a meal is often referred to as an “apéritif,” while a wine served after a meal is known as a “digestif.” If you’re looking for wines to drink without food, check out these ideas.
Wines to Whet Your Appetite
We’ve all had those moments when a glass of wine would hit the spot, but the hunger for food has yet to set in. Fortunately, the following wines are delicious on their own and will have you craving something more substantial by the time your glass is empty.
Dry Sparkling Wines
Bubbly wines make for a fantastic prelude to any meal and come in a variety of types. Creamy or delicate styles of Brut Champagne invigorate the senses and cleanse the palate. Spanish Cava, produced using the Champagne method, is a fine everyday option. Light and refreshing Italian Prosecco wines, made from the Glera grape, will also do the trick!
The wonderful thing about the French Loire Valley appellation of Sancerre is that wines from there can be white, rosé, or red! The white wines, produced from Sauvignon Blanc, are dry, bright, and crisp, with plenty of citrus, herbal, and mineral characteristics. The Pinot Noir grape is responsible for fresh and floral rosé wines as well as reds, which are typically light and berry-scented.
A common misconception among wine lovers is that Riesling is always sweet, when, in fact, many of its greatest wines are actually bone dry. Germany’s Mosel region is home to some of the finest versions, which are known for pure fruit flavors, racy acidity, and complex mineral notes. France’s Alsace region also specializes in dry Riesling, with the best vineyards designated as “Grand Cru.”
Wines to Follow a Meal
Once you’ve eaten your fill, it’s time to unwind with a glass of wine. Here are a few suggestions to help you settle down, or even serve as a substitute for dessert.
These white wines from Italy’s Piedmont region have experienced a recent surge in popularity, and for good reason – their light, effervescent mouthfeel and sweet, grapey flavors are a delightful choice to conclude a meal.
Amarone della Valpolicella
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s Amarone della Valpolicella for those who prefer rich, velvety red wines. Traditionally produced from dried grapes in Italy’s Veneto region, Amarone is often considered a “meditative” wine best consumed after a hearty dinner. There’s no need for dessert when you have a wine like this.
Fortified sweet wines like Port can serve as an intense epilogue to your meal. Port houses usually declare vintages in the very best years, and these wines have the capacity to age for many decades when cellared. Ruby and Tawny Port wines are meant to be consumed closer to their release; the former is fruitier in style, while the latter is more oxidative, with nutty notes of chocolate, coffee, and toffee.
Now that you know wines can be pleasant without food, don’t think twice about opening bottles for sheer enjoyment!