How to choose wine your guests will love

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glasses of red and white wine
Cover your bases with both a red and a white varietal
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Learn how to choose wine your guests will love for every occasion

Selecting a wine for yourself isnít nearly as challenging as finding a good bottle for other people. The longer the guest list, the harder it gets. Letís face it, you canít wow everyone. However, you can please most with a simple, delicious bottle.

Choose wine your guests will love by first putting your personal preferences aside. While Riesling may be a favorite, note that many people find it too sweet. This brings us to a second major consideration, the menu. If you plan on serving food, cheese or desserts select varietals to complement these flavors.

White and Red

Your best plan of action is to go with both a delicious white and red varietals. A number of guests will drink only one type so itís good to cover both sides. If itís an option, try to taste the types you choose before buying enough for everyone. 

Trust your taste buds and don't splurge on a pricey bottle just because the price tag implies high quality. That's not always the case. If youíre on a budget, know that you can find delicious bottles for under $10. Even some of the bag-in-box types taste good. In general, light to medium bodied ones go best with food while the bold ones stand best on their own.

Matching the occasion

One trick to choose a wine to serve when you are entertaining is to match it to the occasion. For dinner parties, fruity whites with a crisp acidity and pleasant aroma complement spicy and tart dishes. In the reds department, Pinot Noir is a light, refreshing choice for rich meals because the tannins and oak notes are often mild.

Safe choices

Kicking things off with a sparkling wine puts everyone in high spirits. Try kinds from new-to-you regions like Alsace, Jura and the Loire. Many of these have more mellow effervescence than Champagnes, so more people will enjoy them.

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a consistent crowd-pleaser because itís refreshing and affordable. You canít go wrong with brands from the Marlborough region like Monkey Bay, Stoneleigh and Giesen. 

Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley is crisp and mouth-watering. This is the kind of wine your guests will remember.

Pinot Grigio gets a bad name amongst wine lovers because itís not very exciting. In fact, the poor ones can taste like watered down lemonade. But when you choose a good bottle the taste is lovely. Besides, this is the go-to varietal for people who only drink whites. Italian Pinot Grigios from the Trentino-Alto Adige region are excellent.

Cabernet Sauvignon is a pleasantly familiar variety for many. If you want to give your guests a little surprise, choose a Cabernet from Chile for its chocolaty, peppery notes. The dry earthiness makes this a perfect candidate for slow, social sipping.

Pinot Noir is grown in many regions, but, according to The Wall Street Journal, those produced in the United States have earned impressive acclaim. They're easy to drink and have pleasant fruitiness cut by mild acidity. 

Quick tips to choose wine your guests will love
  • If youíre on a budget, shop the sales around holidays. 
  • When buying for a lot of people opt for the larger 1.5 liter bottles. Also, many shop owners offer a 15% discount if you buy by the case.
  • New World bottles usually taste best when theyíre young so buy close to the current year.
  • Old World bottles (mainly those made in Western Europe) taste better aged because theyíre naturally more acidic. 
When all is said and drank, remember that weíre talking about wine. Itís not the end of the world if a few folks donít fall head over heels with your choices. You can always keep a bottle of sparkling cider on hand for good measure.

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