When it comes to buying wine, many of us often find ourselves in quite a quandary. You see, there certainly are ways to grab the best bottle; your neighbor, friend or co-worker did a great job at it during his party. In fact, his wine selection was so superb it got everyone talking about it for days. And when it’s time for you to get your friends together—or even your family from all corners of the globe (or the country for that matter)—you have got to make a good impression.
While research matters, it’s hard to say they actually help; at least not with all that unpronounceable jargons from wine experts that require a lot of getting used to. And while it’s true that good wines don’t have to be ridiculously pricey and preference varies largely among people, there are rules that apply and clear indicators of how a good wine should be in terms of look and taste.
The road to buying a good wine can be a thorny one when you’re not exactly the expert. Suffice to say you are clueless about whether or not to spend a fortune on it. Here are some tricks that can ease not just the process of buying but also the actual serving of wines for your guests:
1. Do choose based on label. A New York Magazine author once implied that our enjoyment of the wine we drink is largely based on how we think of its label—and it doesn’t hurt to get to know a label that deserves our attention.
2. Buy a bottle that falls within the $15 and $30 range. Non-wine experts usually wrestle with the idea that the price of wine matters. And experts agree on one thing: a $30 bottle should be good and don’t go experimenting with wine under $15.
3. Ask the wine shop. This is an easy one. Just make sure he gives you a less formal, less jargon-filled talk. And pay attention to how the wine was produced and why it is their best-seller.
4. Welcome your guests with your best wine. Start the party with a wine that impresses. Save the ones you’re unsure of for the later part of the night when everyone has had something more interesting to talk about (other than the strange taste of that cheap bottle).
5. Serve the wines decanted and the reds colder. Wine decanting matters because it softens the flavor of the wine and enhances it. And it does the job looking special before your guests. As for the reds, they have to be served slightly chilled—just enough for a nice, cool refreshment that perfectly pairs with your food.
One more tip: If you’re unsure about the wine you’re buying for that special dinner, consider the food you’re serving your guests. As a general rule, sweet wines go well with savory and salty dishes and lighter wines should be paired with seafood. White meats go with white wines and red meats are better with reds. For vegetable dishes, pop that bottle of rich white or light red.