The stockings are hung and the Wine Guy’s holiday picks are picked. Yes, this time of year can be a bitch, but it really doesn’t have to be.
Here’s some party season advice to make your life just a little bit easier.
(from The Wine Guy: Everything You Want to Know About Buying and Enjoying Wine From Someone Who Sells It, by Andy Besch and Ellen Kaye. William Morrow/HarperCollins 2005)
Ah, the gift of wine! It’s always an appropriate gesture. (Alas, no one brings it to my house anymore…not since I’ve become the Wine Guy.) But what to choose for that special someone, or that special occasion? My philosophy is simple:
- In general, choose a red. Unless, of course, you know that the recipient absolutely doesn’t drink red wine.
- Don’t overspend — it’s not about what you spend, it’s about how well you choose. And if you choose well, your recipient will think you spent way more than you actually did.
- Be courageous — give them something they’ve probably never tried before. Offering the unusual shows that you gave the situation some thought. And besides, if they’re not familiar with the wine, they really won’t know what it cost.
- As an alternative to a red, pick out a sparkling wine. One can always use a bottle of bubbly in the house for those unexpected celebratory occasions.
- Are you bringing wine to be consumed with lunch or dinner? If so, ask what your hosts are planning on serving. If you don’t know, try to bring something medium-bodied that goes well with lots of different foods, such as a Pinot Noir, a Chianti, or a Rioja.
- For something unique, bring a dessert wine or a fortified wine (port or sherry.) This is an easy way to complement any meal, and an easy way to get credit for doing something different.