Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bringing Wine

So you've been invited over for dinner and you're not sure what wine to bring?  I got you!  There are several ways you can arrive at a decision of what to buy, and its a good idea to have a sense for what you want BEFORE heading down to the wine shop (in this case, wineLIFE, I'm sure) to make your purchase.  Just follow this easy wine buying strategy, and you'll be in and out of the store in no time with the perfect bottle for the event!

When thinking about what wine to buy, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Who will I be drinking this bottle of wine with?
If you're visiting good friends, and you're not particularly worried about what they will think when you pull the bottle out of the bag, then skip to question 3.
If this is your first time to someone's home and don't know what's for dinner, go red. Think Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah - these wines have wide appeal. 
If you want to impress - meeting the parents, going to the boss's holiday dinner, wowing a client - go with a wine that has a good reputation, whether red or white, still or sparkling.

2. What food will I be drinking this bottle of wine with? 
If you know what's for dinner, go with rules of thumb that work - whites and lighter reds for fish, pork and poultry, richer reds and bold whites for red meat and game.  If you know me, you’ll know that I abhor wine rules, but in cases when you’re not sure what’s being served, it helps to narrow down the choices.
3. How much should I spend?
In most cases, $15.00 can get you a great bottle of wine. 
If you are eager to impress, be prepared to spend at least $20.00
If you know what is being served, go with the tone of the menu. If your host is just having hors d'oeuvres or making guacamole, a bottle around the $10 mark should be fine, but if he's going to town with confit duck and wild mushroom risotto, your bottle should live up to his efforts. 

4. Should I gift wrap it?
Yes you should! Presentation makes all the difference - a fun wine bag or just wrapping the bottle in nice tissue paper shows you really appreciate being invited over and the wine purchase wasn't strictly obligatory. 

A Few More Tips...

Be open to the possibility that your host may have the wine for dinner taken care of and that they may put your bottle on the rack to enjoy another time - that's a great way to offer a wine gift!  

The wine, your experience buying the wine, even the bag you brought it in can all be great fodder for conversation. Consider this when making your buying decisions. 

Sparkling wine is always fun and is not necessarily just for celebrations - they go great with foods that call for crisp whites. Champagne is usually $30.00 or more per bottle. If you don't want to spend that much, Cava and Prosecco are other popular alternatives that cost a lot less. 

Happy shopping!

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