Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Essential Tips For Entertaining with Wine


While entertaining is fun and rewarding, it can also be stressful. There are a lot of moving parts to juggle both before guests arrive and during your social gathering. Serving wine while entertaining is a very popular choice but comes with several considerations that can make things even more complicated. So, I've put together 6 essential tips for entertaining with wine to take the stress out of it for you. 

1. Be sure you have enough wine. 

There are several things to consider to figure out how much wine you'll need for a gathering or party. A bottle of wine is equal to about 5 glasses of wine depending on your pour. Personally, I tend to get closer to 3 glasses per bottle of wine. For entertaining, it is commonly recommended that you have 1/2-3/4 a bottle per person that you invited. However, I tend to think it's better to have more like a bottle per person because you're better to have too much (that you can always drink at a later date) than not enough. You also need to consider how long you plan on entertaining, the longer you're planning the more wine you'll need. Another common recommendation is that guests will have 2 drinks in the first hour, and then another drink per hour after that. You know the people that you invited and how long your gathering will last so it's best to take the recommendations into account and use your best judgment.

2. Offer guests a glass of wine when they arrive.

I recommend starting guests off with a glass of bubbly to set the tone for the evening. Don't feel like you have to shell out $50+ on a bottle of champagne if you can't afford it, there are plenty of budget-friendly types of sparkling wine that you can serve that will go over just as well. La Marca Prosecco is one of my favorite cheap and cheerful options.

3. Serve the wine at the correct temperature. 

To showcase their best flavor, white wines should be served chilled at 40-50 degrees with lighter bodied wines closer to 40 degrees and fuller bodied wines closer to 50 degrees. If they are served too cold, it can suppress the aromatics. Reds are best served a bit cooler than room temperature at around 60-65 degrees. Bear in mind that when you serve a cool or a warm wine it will warm up more in the glass.

4. The stemware.

There is a multitude of wine glass shapes for different varieties of wine and some wine snobs will tell you that you need to use the proper glass. However, most of us don't have that many and ultimately one single glass will enhance the flavor of many wines, and you probably already have at least one set of them in your cabinet. The ideal stemware is thin at the lip and tapers so it is wider at the stem than at the top in order to preserve the wine's aroma. Consider using wine glass charms so that people don't mix up their glasses if they put them down. 

5. Pair it with the right foods.

Pairing the right food with the right wine can elevate the flavors in both to the next level. There are tons of really complicated rules about how to create the perfect pairing, but I think it's more important to use those rules as more of general guidelines and trust your own taste above everything else. After all, everyone is different and rules are meant to be broken. Some general guidelines that I like to follow when it comes to pairing wine with food are:

Consider the weight of the wine and the food.
- You don't wine either the wine or the food to overwhelm the other, so bolder foods need a bolder wine that can stand up to them and lighter foods need a more delicate, lighter bodied wine.

For rich red meats, go with a tannic red. - Tannins are the ideal complement to these types of meat.

When pairing with lighter proteins, pair the wine to the sauce. - Chicken or pork in a cream sauce will have a different pairing than when it's in a red wine sauce.

Acidic wines pair well with fatty dishes. - Acidity helps to cut through fat.

Go slightly sweet for salty dishes. - The sweetness will enhance and balance the saltiness.

Sweetness. - The general rule is to serve wine that is as sweet little sweeter than the dish you're serving because sweet food will make dryer wines taste too acidic and tart. 

6. Keep water glasses full.

Encourage your guests to drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and help prevent them from overindulging. Similar to how I feel like you should never have to ask for a glass of water in a bar or restaurant, people shouldn't have to ask you for a glass of water when you're entertaining.

Do you have any other tips for entertaining with wine? Let me know down in the comments!

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