Wine tastings are great on their own. But often it's much more pleasurable to taste them with food.
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Tasting wine with food just makes sense. After all, this is most likely how you'll be drinking them — in the real world of daily dinners. With that in mind, consider holding a wine-tasting dinner party, with food as an equally important partner.

Make it a potluck. Have friends bring a bottle or two of wine and a food item. You can make it appetizers or casseroles; maybe focus on Italian food with Italian wines, or do a tour of Asian cuisines with world Rieslings, or regional American food with American wines. The combinations are almost endless. (Here's a look at French Food and Wine Regions with loads of recipes and wine suggestions.)

Before you eat, take a few small sips of each wine to get a sense of the wine. Then pour a bit more from each bottle and compare with the food. See what you find out — the results may surprise you. A wine that tasted deep and delicious as a sipper by itself may turn out to overwhelm one dish. It might be perfect with the next.

To get you started, we've paired some of our top-rated recipes with wines.

For more on the partnership between wine and food, check out Why Cooking With Wine Makes Food Taste Better.