Tips for Choosing Wine for That Special Celebration

special celebration wineBad wine never ruined an otherwise great party, but many dull parties have been rescued by a spectacular bottle of wine. It’s essential to select an exceptional wine for a special celebration. While it’s not necessary to go broke buying the wine, it’s a good idea to spend as much money as possible on it. Still, there are many great bottles of wine available for less than twenty dollars. If the wine is intended to be consumed shortly after purchase, a buyer can feel confident with a less expensive bottle of quality wine.

When they are stored in the correct temperature and manner, more costly wines tend to age better because they have been processed for value and storage. However, most wine is produced to be consumed in less than 24 months. Much of it was never intended to age into full flavor. For instance, the majority of white wine is produced to be consumed shortly after bottling. Still, white wine is often the best choice for light occasions. They make for great sipping wines. They often go best with light snacks or party chat hors d’oeuvres. The German Riesling, French Chardonnay, or an Italian Pinot Grigio are all superb white wine choices for casual gatherings and cocktail parties.

If the celebration is a food-centered one, as in a special banquet or sit-down dinner, the choices become more complicated and varied. A menu planner can find a type of red or white wine to go with any kind of food. When uncertain, or when the gathering crosses lines between cocktail gathering and sit-down dinner, a Beaujolais Nouveau is a good choice. It’s a quality light red with a fruity flavor that isn’t cloying or overwhelming, so it’s not going to cling to the guest’s taste buds for long.

Blended wines like Brut and Blanc de Noir are good for the first course and dessert. To match wines with a sit-down dinner, it remains true that most white wines go amiably with fish and poultry. However, Sauvignon Blanc also goes well with Greek, vegetarian, and southern Italian cuisine. Chardonnay is a good wine for southern Italian, northern Italian, and French food. Chenin Blanc is well-suited to Japanese and Chinese food. A good, ambitious white wine choice for Chinese, Mexican, and Indian dishes would be a Gewürztraminer or Gamay. When in doubt, opt for a sparkling wine.

Where reds are concerned, Merlot is good for Italian, stews, and some meats. It’s not a bad choice for a cheese-taster and wine-chaser. Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are both a good complement for heartier meats like beef and wild game. Pinot Noir is a great wine to go with turkey or duck during the winter holidays. If the menu includes ham, or any smoked meats, Vin Rosé or pink wine is a better choice. It’s good for Thai food too.

There are also clashing wines that should be remembered. For instance, a good wine list doesn’t want to pair a Merlot or Cabernet with California cuisine or Tex-Mex. Chili peppers just don’t play well with them.

So where does the big daddy of celebration wine, champagne, come in? Champagne is just a French sparkling white wine. Because of its broad use through a lot of different occasions, champagne is generally served with anything. Since champagne is the go-to beverage for weddings and many big celebrations, the question is more about choosing food to go with the drink than the reverse. Cheese, smoked salmon, ham, and most appetizers are good companions for champagne. If the menu is thick with caviar, it’s best to opt for a Brut.

The only truly perfect wine for any special celebration, however, is the one that the host and guests will enjoy. Personal preference should always win out over the unsolicited opinions of wine snobs.