Specific occasions call for specific wines. There are mating occasions (courting, seducing, or celebrating a loved one), impressing occasions (brown-nosing the boss or in-laws), and sommelier occasions (perfect wine for picnics, dinners, or yummy desserts). So here is a little guide to help you decide when to buy boxed wine (hopefully never unless you are in college) and when to buy Chardonnay versus Merlot versus Cabernet Sauvignon and how much to spend.
Gauge the situation! Before you purchase a bottle of wine, try to accurately judge the wine-purchasing-event. In those instances of mating, this is of utmost importance. The act of providing wine for a mate, be it on a first date or a 20th anniversary, requires elegance to “wow” your partner of choice. This is not a time to pinch those pennies and opt for a two-buck chuck. There is also no need to destroy the wallet on a high-end name brand purchase (save that for the boss and in-laws). Know your partner’s preferences in wine varietals so you do not make the wretched mistake of giving a white wine lover a red varietal or a fruit-forward lover an aged dry varietal. Buying a bottle of wine for a special someone (or hopeful special someone for date numero uno) is just like buying that ring (just like it!). You want to get him or her a ring that is the right size (like a wine varietal) and that shows you care and is meaningful (AKA you can not buy the ring/wine with straight coins).
Next occasions – impress those guests! Occasions that require you to drop your truly awkward, typically embarrassing, never-really-say-the-right-thing personality, and mask it all with a great bottle of wine. These are the I’m-going-to-knock-your-socks-off situations, which might include your boss, your in-laws, or maybe even your favorite wine blogger. In these situations, you may impress them with your wine knowledge (obviously obtained from my previous wine posts on wine history, varietal types, aging processes…) or you may simply impress them with the bottle itself. A large brand-name label is obviously a choice, but an extremely impersonal one at that. Why not choose a more humble and unique bottle of wine? One from a family-owned winery who invites you to their home for tastings and food pairings? Am I making it clear enough that Palmeri is obviously the perfect bottle to impress those that need to be impressed!? Red wine is characteristically associated with classiness, more so than white, and with Palmeri’s array of delicious red varietals, you are sure to literally “wow” your audience with our known “it” factor that distinguishes us from all the others.
Our final occasion: food and wine, wine and food! A sommelier is a person knowledgeable in wine, specifically with the appropriate combinations of wine and food. One does not necessarily need to be a sommelier in order to have a successful dinner party, but here are a few do’s, and certainly do not’s, to guide your next food and wine oriented party. The first, most important do, is that wine is involved. Requirement. Next, plan the menu. Do not have separate people involved in the wine for the event and the food for the event. There must be communication between those two essential items. Do understand some of the properties behind wine varietals and food tastes. For instance, do not serve Sauvignon Blanc with a hearty meat dish. You want a wine that will stand up, but not over power or be over powered, by the food. The wine should be a compliment that takes the oral sensations to the next level. Whites are typically paired with lighter foods such as seafood, salads, sometimes poultry, and pasta depending on the sauce. Reds on the hand are often found with red meat, rich pasta sauce, casseroles, and other hearty foods. There are certainly exceptions to these broad generalizations, but you might not want to get too wild and crazy in your first sommelier experience. But don’t worry; even if everything fails on the wine-food pairing front, you always have the back up plan of serving all the wine first so the taste of the food no longer really matters…
So enjoy that next occasion while being heartfelt with your partner or wowing your boss (or giving a heartfelt wow if your partner is your boss), with the perfect bottle of wine paired beautifully with the meal.