Whether you are planning a casual outdoor social event with your friends, or a formal dinner party for your family, there’s no doubt that you want every detail of the day, or night, to be perfect. While you may have already considered the ideal meals, decor, and other details, if you include wine on your beverage offerings list, you will want to offer the correct type of wine to complement your event’s theme perfectly. So, we have compiled these wine buying basics to simplify picking out the best wine for your occasion.
Red wine is a favored choice for connoisseurs as the rich aromatic drink is known to pair well with elegant occasions and lavish meals. This beloved type of wine is also well-known for its many attractive health benefits. However, there are different red wines, including dry red, full-bodied, and medium-bodied reds. You won’t want to indulge your guests with the wrong type of red wine, as not everyone has a taste for rich dry reds.
If you are planning an elegant occasion such as a formal dinner party where roasted red meats will be served, it is best to offer a selection of all three types of red wines. This is like wine buying basics 101. With that said, if you want to impress your guests with your wine choice, you should consider details such as wine bottle sizes, vintage bottles, and suitable serving mannerisms. What’s more, reds are always best served slightly below or at room temperature.
White wines are also available in various ranges from dry white to fruity whites and a few others. However, white wines are generally served at celebratory occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, and other special events. It is also best to pair white wines with light meals and white meats, such as poultry, fish, and seafood dishes.
When it comes to serving a white wine, it is best to offer your guests their beverage chilled as room temperature white wine is not at all palatable. Chilling the wine will also bring out the flavors of the drink. If you aren’t too sure which white wines to consider, great beginner options include a good Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling, or a Pinot Grigio from well-known brands.
Rosé wines are the lighter, sweeter selection of the wine family that most casual drinkers prefer due to their simplistic palatability and general sweetness; it goes down well whether you are a connoisseur or don’t indulge in alcohol much at all. You can’t go wrong when serving rosé wine as chilled or room temperature servings are both suitable. However, due to the drink’s sweetness, it is best to avoid serving rosé at formal events and instead opts for this type of wine for more light-hearted occasions such as outdoor picnics and other such social events.
Rosé wines pair best with light snacks as this wine is more of a party drink than a dinner specialty. However, a common mistake made when purchasing rosé wines is assuming they all taste the same, so you can save by reaching for those lower-shelf pocket-friendly bottles. Unfortunately, cheaper versions of this wine will disappoint and pack more of a punch due to a higher alcohol content than your guests will appreciate, so be sure to spend a bit more when serving rosé.
Sparkling wine is another wine that is most commonly served at celebratory events. You can serve this wine on annual occasions and holidays that range from birthdays to Christmas and everything in between. Sparkling wines go best with snacks and light finger foods such as shrimp and other such delights. It is best to serve sparkling wine in tall, slender glasses rather than a standard wine glass.
Champagne and prosecco are two great examples of sparkling wines, and opting for well-known brands is an absolute must. You should avoid serving sparkling wine at too cold temperatures as it will negatively impact the taste and the texture of the bubbly drink that is commonly enjoyed at New Years events and weddings.
Most casual wine drinkers may never have heard of dessert wine. This wine is generally served alongside sweet or savory light meals after the main course due to its sweet taste. Great dessert wines to opt for include Icewine and Moscato. Light savory or sweet meal pairings can range from most desserts to soft cheese, biscotti, and everything in between.
Dessert wines also include most wines on the sweeter side of the wine spectrum; therefore, rosé and even sweet red wine can be served as a dessert wine at formal events and family gatherings in which multiple meal courses are served.
Fortified wines are another unheard-of term for the casual wine drinker. These wines are wines that are mixed with spirits such as brandy and others. Their casual essence suggests that they can be served on absolutely any occasion, chilled or unchilled. Fortified wines include sherry, port, marsala, and Madeira wine.
Fortified wines also make great dessert wines. So you can serve these wines as your dessert wine at a formal multiple course meal event. However, quality is vital when purchasing fortified wines as cheaper bottles lack aroma, flavor, and texture, while their alcohol percentage is also significantly higher than quality fortified wine selections. Although, fortified wines generally have the highest alcohol content of all the wines out there as a general standard.
Wine Storing Tips
Once you know the wine buying basics and which type of wine is best for your special event, you will want to store your wine bottles suitably, especially if you will be keeping them for some time before the day of the event. Most wines should be stored at room temperature upright unless they will be stored for extended periods. In which case, you should keep your wines at 55 degrees. Opting for a wine cooler is an excellent idea if you will be storing multiple bottles. You should avoid keeping them in the refrigerator as the temperatures will be too cold, which may negatively impact the taste of wines that are not whites.