Here is a simple guide to inform your choice of wine to buy and drink at your next dinner party. Be it red or white, you will want a bottle that is enjoyed and remembered. Wine drinking is a whole experience that includes so many different elements. With this guide, we try to make this an easier task.
These are some of the critical questions to be clear on before wine-shopping:
- Am I buying this bottle for me to enjoy?
- Am I buying this bottle for the party to enjoy?
- Is this a present for the host to enjoy at a later date?
Unfortunately, the answer to all these questions is almost impossible to know beforehand unless you’re in a wine club; or all the guests at the party have an established social etiquette and level of gravitas.
I have splurged on an expensive bottle that never got around the table to the host or bought my favourite bottle that was unappreciated while I got stuck drinking the el-cheapo bottle that went around just before my gift was opened. Embarrassingly, one time I took an el-cheapo to a barbecue for myself to enjoy, and my friend’s super-posh parents who hosted us kept it back thinking it was a gift for them. It’s impossible to know! With this in mind, I try to keep it simple and stick to this guide.
Buy a Bottle Within Your Budget
Ensure that the wine you purchase is within your own budget, roughly at a price that would be a generous gift to yourself. For me, in Hong Kong, that’s around HK$160-240 for a bottle of wine.
I can find a good value wine from a wine region I am relatively familiar with within this price range. I am from South Africa, so I know it’s excellent for all grape varietals, Australia produces fantastic shiraz, and New Zealand is known for its unforgettable sauvignon blanc.
Buy a Bottle That Everyone Will Enjoy
Make sure the wine you get is something that the whole crowd will enjoy, including yourself and your host! There is a lot more to this, but usually, a Provence-style rosé, which tends to be dry and light in colour; a lightly-oaked chardonnay known for being crisp and buttery; with similarities to a sauvignon blanc, a pinot noir which is usually light, fruity and soft; or a cabernet sauvignon which is known for its boldness and great if you know red meat is being served!
Look at the Weather Forecast
A cabernet sauvignon will pair amazingly with red meat regardless of the weather but if you’re unsure what’s on the menu, use the weather to guide you. In Hong Kong, it’s almost always sweltering hot. However, a rosé, lightly-oaked chardonnay or sauvignon blanc are great choices. Your bottle can be enjoyed beforehand regardless of which wine is the most suited for your meal.
If it’s a hot day and you’re in the market for red wine – a pinot noir is a great choice, as it’s light and flexible with red or white meat. Alternatively, try a bottle of pinotage, a South African derived from the pinot noir and cinsault grapes; a blend with pinotage is referred to as a ‘Cape Blend’.
This is a simple guide to help you when you’re next looking for a bottle of wine to experience at your next dinner party. Check out our selection of wine available to purchase online today, with delivery directly to your door! Enjoy and tag us using @biltongchief!