Wine Education

choosing wine

Choosing wine for your dinner party

“Keep it simple” is the perfect motto for selecting wines for a dinner party. It is true that certain wines are enhanced by particular foods…but it is also true that you should never drink something that you don’t like.

There are two basic tenets you should keep in mind when selecting wine for a dinner party. Consider your menu and consider your guests. A good rule of thumb for pairing wines and foods is “White Meat, White Wine….Red Meat, Red Wine”. When considering your guests, if you know that all your guests prefer sweet wines, then for heaven’s sake, don’t serve them dry wines. Drink what you like! Don’t get too caught up in thinking that men like a certain wine and women like a different wine. There is little truth to this.

Maintaining your motto, don’t offer too many selections. Just as you were overwhelmed at all the choices, your guests will be, as well. They’re looking for you to be the expert. If you’ve committed to serving red and white wine, then offer only one selection of each. Select a wine of medium body so that everyone can enjoy the wine.

Running out of wine at your dinner party is just as bad as running out of food. A wine bottle serves approximately 4 glasses of wine. This depends largely on the glass and who is pouring. A glass of wine should be about 8 ounces, although that amount won’t look like much in a bulbous Burgundy glass.

Best way to store and serve wine

choosing wine

Wine is like a Fichus tree: It’s finicky and doesn’t like to be moved. It needs to be loved and cherished and only then will it flourish. Just as you don’t need a green house to maintain Fichus, you don’t need a wine cellar to store your wine.

Store wine on its side or upside down. This is to keep the wine in constant contact with the cork. If your wine bottle has a screw cap closure, this is not necessary. If you are planning on saving a bottle, keep it in a cool, dark place, like a closet in the center of your house. Ask the retailer how long they suggest storing the wine. Whether you plan on drinking your bottle of wine next week or next year, NEVER store your wine on top of your refrigerator. The warmth and the light will ruin your wine.

Keep the 30 minute rule in mind when serving wine. Take your white wine out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you are going to serve it. Never serve it in chilled glasses. If you serve the wine too chilled, all you will taste is the acidity of the wine. Reds should not be served at room temperature, rather cellar temperature. All those years ago when wines were made in caves, the temperature was not a balmy 70 degrees, nor would your wine be. Put your red into the refrigerator briefly before you serve it to be rid of the room temperature.

Once you’ve opened a bottle of wine, you should drink it in a day or two. Wine and air are not friends. The longer wine is exposed to air, the more oxidized it becomes and the less palatable it becomes. If you decant a wine, you will need to drink it in one sitting. Regardless of red or white, if you are not going to drink the bottle in one sitting, put a closure on the opened bottle and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to drink it again.