Choosing Wine for Any Big Event – Made Easy!

Winning Wine SelectionPerhaps the biggest of them all, there’s little more personal than planning your wedding – and, for many, when it comes to what you’re serving you want to nail it. We get it! What’s more, we know you’re not the only one. Beginning around Memorial Day each year we get numerous inquiries from couples who care about what wines they will serve at their wedding asking for help. They are often stressed to the max about choosing wines for their big day.

In another week the emails with the same burning questions will emerge, this time to ensure company outings and family reunions are well cared for.

While some events have specifications which call for a one-on-one consult (or Pros like us behind the tasting station 😉 many others are more streamlined. For the latter case, let’s start with the most common criteria hosts present:

1.  User-friendly.   We want wines that everyone will enjoy, whether they are “usually” an X-wine drinker or not.

2.  Food-friendly.   We want the wines to work with what we’re serving, whether someone opted for the fish, BBQ chicken or tenderloin.

3.  Cost-effect.   We don’t want to serve anything “cheap”, but if we could keep things under(?!) or around $15 per bottle, our budget will thank you!

Good news – you can address all of these concerns in just 4 deliberate steps!

Streamline your offerings. There are reasons (yes, plural) themed, or “His and Her Cocktails” are so popular… It’s festive, for sure, and fewer options for guests tightens up your liquor order (read: budget), focuses consumption, AND expedites service! So approach wine offerings similarly and CHOOSE YOUR OWN “HOUSE” WINES: offering a sparkler plus a crowd-pleasing white and red (with maybe a beautiful dry rosé thrown in for good measure) will satisfy the majority (if not all!) of your guests. Remember, these distinct options offer enough variety themselves. So have fun with it! You could even come up with creative, personal or company-culture-derived names for each choice.

Pick a Perky White.  Wines with higher acidity are food-friendly by nature; and their mouthwatering effect also comes in handy when your boss’ boss is bending your ear about that big project you’re working on, or your best friend just got stuck talking to crazy Aunt Edna. Sauvignon Blanc works, sure(!), but one of our other party tricks is to select grape varietals  guests may not have ever heard of, let alone tasted. Case in point: as popular as Austrian Gruner Veltliner and Spanish Albarino are becoming, these are not grapes that everyone knows (though they should!). Offering something people have no expectations about means they just simply sip and enjoy.

Select a Smooth Red.  When it comes to selecting your red offering, you want something that strikes a middle ground – something not too bold and dry, and something not too light. You also want something that goes down smooooth – something with nice fruit and soft edges. Here again, a way to work around the grape varietal fatigue (aka I only drink Cab, Syrah, Merlot…) is to choose wines that are named for their region, with no varietal labeling evident. Smart picks are red wines from the Cotes du Rhone or Languedoc (fabulous, food-friendly, people-happy, French red blends) or wallet-friendly Spanish Rioja (the more expensive options often mean the wine has spent more time in oak barrels, which puts the wine into the “too bold” camp). These regions have prolific, 100% delicious options that are exceptional values!

Save on Bubbles.   Some say you should splurge in this category; we don’t necessarily agree. While you certainly can go all out, remember that the nuances a higher-priced bubbly offer could be lost in the equation. More often sparkling wine is consumed to add an additional festive flare.  And there are many great (dry, aka Brut) options from beyond Champagne, France that lend exactly the helping hand you desire, with plenty of Delight on offer at oh-so reasonable prices. For some suggestions beyond the usual suspects Cava and Prosecco, check out alternatives here and see below.

 

Have faith! Less is more, especially when you trot off the beaten path. With this approach you’ll be setting yourself up for success!

 

Dying for some specific recs in each of these categories?? No problem! For the next several weeks you can find some widely available wines that check the above boxes via the Pour Favor Wine Events list available on the DRYNC wine app.Need more ideas? Get in touch directly!

Girl Scout Cookies Pair Just Fine With Domestic Wine

Girl Scout CookiesGirl Scout Cookies are a distinctly, happy, American phenomenon – one of those great traditions from everyone’s youth you get excited about all over again each year. If your community is predisposed to the door-to-door Saleschild, first you order them. Then you wait. Sometimes a couple of months as the orders get processed. Then, finally, said child returns bearing gifts at your door.

This happened to us last week. And it was a wondrous moment!

But as it was late on a Friday afternoon, we thought why not enhance said tradition with something other than a glass of milk, that also further celebrates their All American-ness?

Today we offer findings from our taste-enhancing research, to further your own on-going enjoyment of this sacred tradition and this Classic line-up of Girl Scout Cookies. Cheers!
thin mints® |  Cabernet Sauvignon.  This grape is predisposed to notes of eucalyptus and mint, particularly when made in Lodi, California  + the dark chocolate on these cookies is ever-more Cab-loving!  (Of course an old vine Zinfandel, Petite Sirah or Syrah won’t disappoint either.)

 

shortbreads  |  Chardonnay.  This grape is a no-brainer for these buttery cookies! Try a classic California style like Chateau St. Jean, or experiment with some great Chards coming out of lesser-known states, like Ravines Wine Cellars (Finger Lakes, NY) or Westport Rivers Winery (Cape Cod, MA). Domestic sparklers made from the Chardonnay grape are also a great match! J Vineyards (California) or Gruet (New Mexico) have Brut (dry) selections that would be decadent with these cookies.

 

samoas  |   Roussanne or  Viognier. These cookies have evolved since the ’80s, now incorporating caramel and coconut, but we didn’t hold it against the Girl Scouts of America; some change is good! Here try something a little bit more “exotic” like the Stolpman Family Roussanne or White Knight Viognier. Whoop!

 

peanut butter sandwiches  |  dry Gewürztraminer or dry Riesling. In the right hands and even more so when vinified dry, these grapes are a terrific match for these delightfully cloying, lingering, slightly salty cookies. The wines will meet their match, delivering a touch of unctuousness met with a wonderful, mouthwatering pop of acidity to cut through the ‘fat’ of these cookies. Seek out memorable, dry Gewürztraminer from either Gundlach Bundschu  or Navarro Vineyards. Dry Riesling from Dr. Frank (New York) will do the trick, too.

Thanksgiving Wine Selection – made easy!

Thanksgiving Day is the ONLY holiday every single American celebrates.  It is a day observed ladling up traditions at every opportunity; even if you’re not doing what historically you have done, admit it – you’re thinking or reminiscing about those things!

But when it comes to wine selection there tends to be less tradition in play.  For some that is the best part of the holiday – the vinous world is your playground! For others, what to serve or what to bring can overwhelm. We get it.

As part of our “made easy” series, we are offering up a few suggestions for going home with a winner or two.

If we can help with your specific feast or preferences, whether a consultation or shopping or both, don’t hesitate to Click 2 Inquire. We relish overturning every rock (no minerality pun intended) to find stellar wines perfect for this time of year. And our holiday special is in play NOW through December 31, 2014!

 

Winning Whites

Noble white varietals are thought the darlings of Thanksgiving. The best hail from cooler climates, offer mesmerizing aromatics which lure you in, are lower in alcohol, a tiny bit “fleshy,” yet deliver a crisp, mouthwatering brightness.

Et Fille “Deux Vert Vineyard” Viognier ~ Willamette Valley, OR

Szoke “Mantra” Pinot Gris ~ Hungary

– Weinguut Jurgen Leiner “Handwerk” Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) ~ Pfalz, Germany

– Gundlach Bundschu DRY Gewurtztraminer ~ Sonoma, California

 

Rabble-Rousing Reds

We hang our hat on discovering earthy, lightER bodied reds – with backbone. Beware of selecting a wine that’s too big, which will just weigh you down given all of the food before you.

Ravines Pinot Noir ~ Fingerlakes, NY

Dominique Piron Coteaux Bourguignons ~ Burgundy, France

Elena Walch Schiava ~ Alto Adige, Italy

Ameztoi “Stimatum” Txakolina ~ Getariako Txakolina, Spain

 

Remember, with such a big, intense meal with so many different parts and varied traditions, there are countless wines to choose from. When it come to Food & Wine Pairing, the endgame is BALANCE!