It is simply impossible to imagine a home party without an original meal, especially in our time when the Do it yourself (DIY) movement is popular. However, even without wine, the evening can become unexpectedly quiet and short. As a sommelier, I don’t refuse to help organize such an event, and I don’t complain about the lack of wine either. But in my case, guests are afraid to come to me with wine, thinking that I will not approve of their taste. Naturally, the owner does not expect everyone to bring a bottle for dinner, but if you decide to come with wine, you should think about choosing the right choice and combining it with the dishes served. To simplify this situation, I will gladly share my thoughts on what to give and what to put on the table.

There aren’t really any hard and fast rules, but it’s important that the party has its own harmony – and this applies not only to entertainment, but also to the choice of drinks and food. Agree that guests should not start a karaoke tournament at the table without having tasted dessert, even if they have already drunk too much. And a completely quiet party is not a party either. This is just an example, but one thing is clear – in our fleeting age, when time is constantly not enough and every free moment you want to enjoy 100%, every little thing is important. Correctly selected wine is one of these little things that can turn dinner into a fantastic holiday, the aftertaste of which will remind of itself for a long time.

Instead of the first lecture

According to etiquette and good taste, any dinner begins with lighter dishes and drinks, gradually moving on to enjoying the richer ones. This rule applies to wines as well. They start with more refreshing and crisp white wines, progressing to richer and more intense ones. Red wines are also served incrementally: young and juicy ones are replaced by more mature and full-bodied ones. You should always observe the seasonality – for example, in the hot summer it is advisable to avoid red wines from the heavy ten, giving preference to various light wines. Pink can always be an alternative. By the way, they perfectly combine the qualities of red and white wines. Champagne is a good choice both for a gift and to start a party, which will add a significant charge of sparkling energy for the whole evening, and besides, this drink is liked by almost everyone. Also hitting the top ten will be high-quality spirits for classic cocktails with fresh juices.

Whatever you choose, the question remains: what and how to choose for the planned meal? We will not delve too deeply into wine pairings with different dishes, but we will try to choose universal wines for each stage of the dinner.

Советы сомелье Noble Wine о том как выбрать вино для вечеринки или ужина

Versatile grape varieties and styles

If you do not want to surprise the host and guests with a particularly extravagant wine, then a light and fruity wine made from Pinot Noir, Dolcetto grapes or Italian wine from the Valpolicella Classico appellation will always be a reliable choice. Just as delicious will be the white wines from Chardonnay with a delicate presence of oak notes or, in my opinion, underrated white wines from the Marsanne and Roussanne white grapes from the Rhone Valley. An excellent choice would be wines from the Campania region made from Fiano grapes – ideally, the wine should spend 3 to 6 years in the bottle in order to acquire a more intense, richer taste without losing natural freshness.

To continue the evening, the elegant Pinot Noir from the cool climate is suitable – this wine perfectly complements even the most difficult red meat dishes. If you want to increase the intensity, then you can safely choose juicy wines with bright tannins, for example, Tuscan wines based on Sangiovese. But in this case, you should avoid wines that are too young and matured in French oak barrels – I advise you to carefully ask the seller about this.

Experiments for the brave

Как выбрать вино для вечеринки или ужина?

For those who are more serious about food and wine compatibility, I recommend two strategies that are best used if you know the upcoming menu. First of all, you should choose a wine from the same region and / or appellation, from which a particular dish “comes from”. The second way is to create contrast in the combination of wine and food.

The safest option is to choose wine and food from the same place of origin. Bouillabaisse goes well with rosé wine from Provence, Burgundy Pinot Noir is suitable for Escargots Vol-au-Vent or snails in the dough, and Andalusian sherry Fino Jerez will rise to the skies by Jamon Iberico, or, for example, Pata Negra is ideal with almonds. It should be remembered that it is much easier to match wine to Italian or French cuisine than to Asian – in this case, the contrast method will help.

If, for example, matured and high-quality beef is on the table, then the contrast method provides that the wine should be the complete opposite. Combining juicy and intense meats with an overly fruity, rich wine with a high alcohol concentration, such as Amarone, will seem heavy and tedious, so it is better to choose a wine with a more refreshing taste. Syrah from the Rhone Valley, Nebbiolo and Barbera from Piedmont are well suited here.

For savory Asian and Indian dishes, wines with a pronounced sweetness and a lower alcohol level are the best option. Despite the sophistication and quality of wines from the Chassagne-Montrachet and Margaux appellations, slightly sweet wines from the Mosel Valley Riesling are best for the spicy seafood with rice noodles, fresh chilli and work-style sliced ​​coriander – the sweetness of this wine will reduce the piquancy of the dish, and pleasant acidity will refresh the palate.


The cherry on the cake, or Desserts

Как выбрать вино к дессерту, главному блюду, закуске? Какое вино выбрать для вечеринки?

The golden rule is that when combining desserts with dessert wines, the level and sensation of sweetness should be similar or the same. For fresher desserts, wines of a cooler climate are suitable – the late harvest Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley or Riesling from Germany and Austria. Sweeter desserts should be complemented with more intense wines – Vin Santo from Tuscany or Sauternes from Bordeaux. One of the best combinations that will literally make your taste buds dance is a high-quality Amarone wine with dark chocolate or desserts made from it. Despite the fact that this is a dry red wine, it should be remembered that dark chocolate is unsweetened.

This combination will always hit the target and round off the evening with a digestif ranging from rum, whiskey and cognac to the popular Amaro on the rocks drink, Vermouth Amaro with ice and a slice of fragrant orange.

Post Scriptum

The writer Virginia Woolf said, “A hungry person cannot think well, love well, or sleep well,” but modern people are often insatiable. I’m not talking about the amount of food, but about the ability to enjoy, because each of us has seen and felt so many things that it is difficult to surprise us. Therefore, the formula for success is very simple: everything is hidden in the little things. Even an ordinary sandwich combined with the right wine will remain in the guests’ memory for a long time. The best addition to any event and company will be imagination and virtuosity.