It "tis the season" and so it is no surprise that I have been getting a lot of questions surrounding wine and holiday entertaining. What should I serve? How do I know the wine is good? What would you recommend?
All are legitimate and it simply represents the challenges and issues that face a majority of us when it comes to wine. We are all very sensitive to wanting to be good hosts and hostesses, pleasing others, while trying to exhibit some sense of knowledge and/or sophistication.
Well let's starts with my first recommendation and that is "be your wine self". What I mean by that, is simply be no more and no less than who you are in relation to wine knowledge and offerings.
I happen to float around with some of the most knowledgeable people in the wine industry and people assume that means I know something or a lot about wine ... well I do not. I know a lot about wine preservation, I may know more than the casual drinker, but beyond that, I would not want to misrepresent myself. I know a lot about what I like and I know I like to try many wines, but beyond that I could be venturing in to uncharted territory. Most of us probably feel the same.
I'd focus on the latter two points above when making wine selections. You can never go wrong. In the first case you can share your own personal tastes (no argument there, others certainly have their own) and in the liking to try, that opens up a new world of wines bought to share that become a new taste experience for all.
I will suggest that you take advantage of talking to your local wine purveyor for their thoughts. You make the ultimate decision based on the wine rationale given and the relative cost you are willing to spend. I would encourage a relatively even split between whites and reds (i.e. 3 or 4 of each) and opening all of them just before guests arrive so they know they can pour any one of them (I find the tendency is for people to finish an open bottle and then open the next one at a time in a linear fashion). if you open many in advance people can go from one to another and actually enjoy/compare if they wish.
If you want to have a little fun , you can theme your wine selections and announce it so people can appreciate the intent and thought you had with whatever was chosen. For example, maybe you decide all the wines presented are from California, or from Italy or from Spain. Simply by telling them, they now there was a rhyme and reason to your selections. Most important .. have fun and celebrate!
Anything left, simply gas with 100% argon VineyardFresh ... Cheers!
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