Hosting and etiquette
How to find a wine that all your guests will love
When you’re a wine collector throwing a party the pressure is high; your friends often expect you to pull out the best wines for your guests, especially if your friends are wine collectors themselves. However, as sommelier Jeff Kellogg points out, “Let’s be honest, people are there to socialize and have fun, not to learn about a grape they’ve never heard of.” Wine collectors often make the mistake of over-thinking party wines. When you spend most of your free time researching and talking about the finest wine in the world, it’s tough to step back and choose a handful of budget-friendly crowd pleasers. Learn more.
The best order to serve wine at a party
Your palate can get easily overwhelmed during a wine tasting party. If you drink an intense red wine shortly before a light, crisp white wine, it's possible to become unable to taste the white wine's flavors at all. This is why most wine experts serve white wines before reds at a party. You should also order your wines from lightest to heaviest as well as driest to sweetest. Light, dry white wines should come first, followed by medium-bodied, rich white wines, then by full-bodied, sweet white wines. Red wines should follow the same pattern. The only exceptions to these rules are sparkling wines, fortified wines, and sweet wines. Generally, sparkling wines, whether red or white, should always be served before other wines because they help excite the palate. Fortified and sweet wines like ice wine, Sauternes, and port should always be served last, after the boldest red wine. Learn more.
Wine etiquette for dinner parties
When you bring wine to a party should your host open the bottle? This question can stump even the most experienced wine aficionados, but the etiquette blogger Alpha Mom says that the etiquette of giving wine as a gift depends on one of three scenarios. Learn more.
The proper way to hold a wine glass
When in doubt, you should always hold your wine glass by the stem and avoid touching the bowl. This has three practical benefits that can greatly impact your wine drinking experience: it keeps temperature steady, it makes swirling easier, and you avoid fingerprints. Holding your wine by the bowl is acceptable if you’re experimenting with the wine’s temperature. Learn more.
The best place to store open wine bottles
A refrigerator isn't the best place to store wine because it's usually too cold, and food scents can negatively impact the flavor of opened wine. It's generally better to reseal the bottle with a wine stopper and keep it in a wine fridge or a dark, cool cabinet that maintains the wine at the ideal serving temperature. In a pinch, you can store your wine in a standard fridge, but make sure you reseal the bottle well and let it warm up a bit before serving. Alternatively, you can use a gas sealer like a Coravin that replaces air that's been let into the bottle with inert, flavorless gas. This keeps the wine from oxidizing and can extend the life of an open bottle by weeks or even months. Generally, you can store sparkling wines for only up to three days, white wines for a little less than a week, red wines for a week, and fortified wines for at least a month. Learn more.
How to host a blind wine tasting
The last blind wine tasting party that I attended was a casual event and it was a blast, yet it was also a bit of a disaster. The host didn’t separate the wines by style so I drank a mouthwatering glass of thick, robust Shiraz right before a glass of fragile white wine. I couldn’t even identify which white varietal I was tasting because my mouth was still coated in that delicious Mollydooker. Furthermore, the host didn’t provide any of us a spittoon so by the end of the fourth tasting round we were all fairly tipsy. Hosting a blind wine tasting party should be simple and fun, but if you want to use the party to develop your palate, you’ll need to take a few precautions first. Learn more.
How to host a mystery wine tasting
Unlike a traditional blind tasting, in which the wines’ labels are intentionally covered, a true mystery wine tasting party uses bottles whose labels have been destroyed over time. Hosting a party like this of your own can hone your palate and increase your chances of investing in incredible bottles for less than a quarter of their usual market price. It’s also just plain fun. Learn more.
How to find a crowd-pleasing rose
The best rosé wine for any large gathering, especially one held outdoors on a warm summer evening, is rosé Champagne. The most difficult party to choose wine for is a potluck, because you never know what dish your guests will bring. However, there is one rosé that can stand up to just about every food out there, and that’s Provence rosé. Syrah rosé should be your top wine choice for a dance party, especially if you plan on serving spicy snacks. If you’re only inviting a few friends over for a fine dining experience, you’ll want a supple rosé with flavors that can only be appreciated in an intimate setting. Learn more.