Hosting a dinner party can be a task-and-a-half, between cooking preparations and ensuring each dish is a crowd pleaser we know you’ve got your work cut out for you. With so much to do, picking up the evening bottles to pair with the feast you’ve created can sometimes fall to the bottom of the list.
Castello di Gabbiano has put together this list of tips to help take the guess work out of possible wine options and trick guests into thinking you are a trained sommelier.
Know your crowd
Think about who is on the guest list, and what types of wine you’ve seen them drink/order. If they’re a laid-back vino connoisseur, it shouldn’t be too hard, but if you know them to have a particularly picky palate it’s best to get prepared with a variety of options and flavours.
QUICK TIP: When shopping, don’t be afraid to read the label! Labels are much more than stickers with fancy writing and pretty pictures of European “things”. Nine times out of ten it’ll be your first indicator on the history and taste you’re about to experience. Take Gabbiano Chianti Classico as an example; the unforgettable cavaliere knight on the label has been protecting the castle since the 12th century.
Play it safe with options
It’s always nice to have a well-balanced bar, this can be done by having at least two different white and two different red options – one being a staple crowd pleaser and the other, something new and exciting that hopefully prompts oohs and ahhs. Take the classic yet timeless Pinot Grigio, this quintessential style is best known for its dry and easy drinking along with being everyone’s number one safe bet. Get a little fancier with your second bottle of red, go for Castello Di Gabbiano’s Chianti Classico Riserva, I know a mouthful, right? But, it’s full and balanced flavour is sure to muster up some new fans amongst your guests.
QUICK TIP: Impress by getting familiar with terminology. White wines go from a light and sweet Riesling to a dry and rich Chardonnay. Red wines go from a light bodied Pinot Noir to a full bodied and savoury Cabernet Sauvignon.
When in doubt easy pairings will help you out— Ever roll up to your local wine aisle and find yourself more lost and confused than all those times in college you woke up after a “I swear I’m staying in tonight” night? Trust us, we understand! So, to guide you down the endless spiral that is wine, remember this, “light with light, rich with rich.” This means that if you’re serving lighter dishes at dinner like chicken or seafood, a nice white or light wine is the way to go. And, if you’re doing red meat or cheeses a rich red is the perfect pairing!
QUICK TIP: Cheaper more affordable wines are always a little better when served slightly chilled, the cooler temperature covers up those unwanted “off” aromas.
Put your bar on blast
Before the guests arrive set up an area strictly for wine. Have your glasses and a corkscrew ready so people can help themselves. Treat your wine spot like a stage and show off your new sommelier-worthy selections. There’s no shame in wanting to flaunt your new-found, vine-picking skills. But, remember to keep at least one of the whites on ice, with your backup in the refrigerator.
QUICK TIP: Temperature is everything! Sparkling wines are best served ice cold, your classic white wines are great at fridge temperature, light reds or rosés are perfect when cool, and rich reds need to be served slightly cool.
It’s hosting time
Lastly, be the host you know you can be. A good host makes sure that guests are always topped up, at least for their first glass, and drinking responsibly. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun, you pulled it off, so it’s time to bask in it!