Quick Recipes and Easy

Choosing a Wine for Your Dinner Host

Selecting that perfect wine as a gift offering for your party host is a venerated tradition, and perfect ‘thank you’ for your invitation to the party. A well chosen wine is a sign that you care about the hard work of the person hosting the party.

Start by determining the price point you feel appropriate – one that doesn’t empty your wallet – and work from there to find a tasty, complex wine that you feel your host will find enjoyable.

Here are some simple steps to follow:

STEP 1: Consider whether a red, white, or sparkling wine might be best in order to narrow your search. As a general rule, red wines are preferable for winter, white wines are desirable in the middle of summer, and sparkling wines are a sure bet for any special occasion. Remember, there are no rules that can’t be broken, only guidelines. For that truly special host, consider a wine that has been cellared for a period of time to achieve maximum enjoyment. Using a wine to recall the memory of a party and its guests shared by your host and you long ago can be a treasure.

STEP 2: Peruse wine magazines such as “Wine Spectator” and “Wine Enthusiast.” Head online to websites such as Wine.com, TheWineMessenger.com, or WineWeb.com and browse their available offerings. The excellent news is that these specialized publications and online wine retailers typically rate wines in a variety of price ranges so you can determine best combination of cost and value.

STEP 3: Travel to your local liquor or wine store so the resident “expert” can show you their selection of wines in your price range and the style in which you are interested. Choose one, considering taste attributes, vineyard reputation, varietal (i.e., the type of grape) as well as the aesthetic appeal of the mark and bottle. Don’t underestimate the mark – it can be admired as art when the bottle is showed.

STEP 4: Surround the bottle in colorful gift wrap, tissue or colored/metallic cellophane. Tie a color-coordinated bow around the base of the neck to secure the wrap around the bottle, a wonderful finishing visual touch.

STEP 5: Don’t forget to buy a gift bag to use to properly present the wrapped bottle to your host. Long and slim, these are classy and colorful packaging that fit a typical bottle of wine perfectly, and come in an endless array of colors, designs, and material.

STEP 6: Always enclose a gift card. Imagine how frustrating it would be for your host to be unable to acknowledge your thoughtfulness if they don’t know who gave them such a wonderful gift.

Tips & Warnings Don’t ever expect your host to serve a bottle of wine that has been brought as a gift by a guest. Choosing a wine solely because you hope to delight in it at the party is always inappropriate. Wine is presented as what it should be: a gift to be used at the host’s discretion.

Avoid chilling wine prior to giving it as a gift. Should the host wish to serve your white or sparkling wine gift during their party, suggest placing the bottle in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, or in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes.

- Michael Zanatta is a freelance writer and wine connoisseur whose family vineyards are in the Veneto region of Italy.

100BestWines.com 100BestWines.com provides an online resource to help learn about and shop for the best in wine, wine accessories and gifts. With the stated goal of making everyone’s wine buying simple, 100BestWines maintains a list of 100 recommended wine selections that are kept current based on availability, as well as informative articles to help with the selection of wine glasses, wine coolers, wine clubs and wine gifts.

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