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Warming Up frozen entrees with wine

It’s a snap for Americans, who love their frozen food entrees, to enhance their dinner experience with great-tasting wine. Leslie Brenner recently helped test which wines paired best with some of America’s top favorite frozen food entrees.

Heat. Serve. Pop the cork

“What we found is that no matter what entree you choose for dinner, there’s a wine choice for you,” says Brenner. “In fact, both red and white wines paired nicely with all the dinners we tested — whether it was a vegetarian option or the all-American meat and potatoes.”

Rules for wine and food pairing

Here are some basic rules to simplify the process of picking a wine to drink with your favorite frozen meal.

Drink what you like — Whether it’s red or white wine, you really can’t go wrong.

Check the grocery aisle — When you are at the store buying your frozen dinner entree, take a quick trip down the wine aisle where you will find a wide variety of affordable selections.

Re-cork it — You don’t have to dump the bottle if you don’t finish it. Just re-cork it and it will stay fresh for three to four days in the refrigerator.

Keep a stash — Creating a nice pantry selection of wines is easy. Just gather bottles of all-purpose red and white wines to have on hand to enjoy with any meal.

Don’t worry about the glass — Whether it’s a tumbler or stemmed, any glass can be a wine glass.

Wines for frozen entrees

A light Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio as it is known in Italy) has the tartness to counterbalance a lasagna oozing with molten cheese and thick tomato sauce. If you prefer red wine, try a Cabernet Sauvignon, with the depth of character and structure to stand up to the concentrated flavor of the sauce and temper the richness of the dish.

Macaroni and cheese
America’s favorite wine, Chardonnay, is a rich and fruity match that will pair well with America’s favorite creamy, cheesy comfort food. An aromatic Pinot Noir is a good red wine choice with its soft texture that won’t overpower this rich dish.

Creamed chipped beef
Pinot Gris (called Pinot Grigio in Italy) is refreshing and light, with just enough tartness to serve as a nice contrast to this savory cream-sauced dish. A big, tannic, red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon is another delicious choice that balances the salty beef and keeps the palate fresh.

The tartness of a fresh and fruity Beaujolais is a good foil for the sweet chicken glaze and marries well with the side dish of green beans and rice. It is also delicious with chicken and potatoes. A good white-wine choice is a crisp Sauvignon Blanc — its high acidity and herbaceousness is a delicious contrast to the glazed chicken’s sweetness and complements chicken with herbal accents.

Beef stuffed green peppers
If you are a dry white-wine lover, Sauvignon Blanc is a natural companion for stuffed green peppers with its complementary herbal character. Riesling is a fruitier choice — it’s fuller-bodied and a counterpoint to the green pepper. For red wines, Merlot has a classic green pepper quality that stands up to this dish, or a fruity and spicy Zinfandel marries perfectly with its sweet qualities.

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes
This is a classic case where white wine with red meat is a winning combination. An herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, light choice for this hearty meatloaf with its dominant green pepper flavor. Red-wine lovers should try a smooth Merlot, which complements the bell pepper flavor of one of America’s favorite comfort foods.

Spaghetti and meatballs
The classic combination of Chianti with spaghetti with or without meatballs is indisputably delicious, as the bright and tart flavor of this red wine brings out the brightness of the sauce. For white wine lovers, the crisp and sometimes herbal nature of a Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect complement to this piquant sauce so full of fragrant herbs.

Salisbury streak
Syrah (known as Shiraz in Australia) is a spicy red wine that holds its own when paired with this dish. Its depth of character won’t fade against the beefy richness of the Salisbury Steak. An Italian Pinot Grigio (also known as Pinot Gris in some parts of the world) has a refreshing tartness that is a good foil for the beefy Salisbury Steak and its savory sauce.

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