Apps, tweets and websites for wine drinkers

NEW YORK Tue Jul 14, 2009 3:34pm EDT

A dish of braised pork belly is pictured with a glass of Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2005 Penfolds, from Australia in Hong Kong May 22, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Tam

A dish of braised pork belly is pictured with a glass of Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2005 Penfolds, from Australia in Hong Kong May 22, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Aaron Tam

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Don't know which wine to have with a pepperoni pizza? There's an app for that -- as well as websites and Twitter.

The number of ways to discover the most suitable wine for a particular dish can be as overwhelming as walking into a large wine shop.

More than a dozen apps claiming to be the equivalent of a sommelier in your pocket are available for iPhones and iPods. And there are others for the BlackBerry and other mobile devices.

But among the most popular for both are Nat Decants Food & Wine Match and HelloVino. Wine blogger Natalie MacLean also provides the same information on her website (www.nataliemaclean.com).

If you want to find out which wine will go best with lamb vindaloo, MacLean, who has almost 400,000 wine and food pairings, recommends Shiraz for red or a white Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. She also suggests food pairings with beer, whiskies and cocktails.

HelloVino is a free app that suggests Zinfandel for lamb shanks, and even advises how to pronounce it. It also chose wines such as California Zins that cost almost $100 a bottle.

But some selections were more reasonably priced such as Chinon and Pinot Noir for grilled lamb or lamb stew that ranged from $10 to $22.

If you want to have a wine tasting without leaving home, the website tastelive.com (www.tastelive.com) uses Twitter to bring winemakers and U.S. importers together.

Started by three 30-somethings from Massachusetts who designed websites for wineries, tastelive tries to select wines that are widely available and not too expensive.

"We knew from using Twitter that people sure liked to talk about wine, but no one seemed to be tasting it," said co-founder Craig Drollett.

The website posts which wines will be tasted and when. Anyone with a Twitter account can give their opinion.

"Right now, the heart of it is users in the U.S., England and Spain, but we've had folks posting from 18 different countries," Drollett said.

"And the winemakers love it. We had Etienne Hugel (the French winemaker from Alsace) up at 2 a.m. tweeting from his kitchen with folks in California."

In another tastelive.com event featuring the wines of California vintner St. Supery participants were equally enthusiastic.

1WineDude, speaking of St. Supery's Sauvignon Blanc, tweeted, "I haven't smelled this much grass since I laid sod down in my backyard!"

The SwirlGirls replied, "If the Sauv. B were a person, it would be a high-powered, no-nonsense, good-looking businesswoman."

Not surprisingly by the end of the three-hour tasting, the tweets became a bit less coherent.

"Too buzzed to make any more coherent remarks. Really enjoying the reds with our steak frite dinner!," NomeSane tweeted.

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