Thursday, October 21, 2010

The wine dilemma

A friend posted a question on Facebook. She's not really up on wine varieties, but, as a thoughtful hostess, wanted to provide some variety for her guests. How many different kinds of wine do you need for a small party? If you buy something that you don't drink, what do you do with the leftovers?

The leftover part is easy. You can cook with it, or consider your local laws. In Michigan, your sober, 21+year old guest can recork the bottle of wine, put it in a bag or container, place that in the trunk of his or her car and take it home.* See the Michigan statute here.

As far as what to serve, philosophies vary:

1) Select one wine to complement each course.
2) Offer what you like, and invite someone else to bring something different.
3) Provide three wines that reflect a range of preferences. For example, you could choose a semi-dry white; a crisp, dry white; and an easy drinking red.

Option one may be the obvious and only road for oenophiles, but will take some effort if you are just trying to be a good host. I like option two if someone asks what they can bring and they drink wine. Three is nice, but similar to option one. If you find yourself on your own, on a budget, and pressed for time, how about option 4:

4) a semi-dry white or rosé and an easy-to-drink red, along with coffee and/or other soft drinks.

For the red, I'd look at an Australian Shiraz. Yellowtail or Rosemount Estate are both inexpensive and pleasant. For the semi-dry white or rosé, allow me to be shamelessly biased. I live in Michigan, and our state vintners make some nice wines in these two categories. Try Chateau Grand Traverse's semi-dry riesling or Leelenau Cellars Summer Sunset (a semi-dry blush) - two affordable non-reds that are just right for a casual shindig.

*You know this is not official legal advice, right? It's party moxie, not Law and Order. If you're in Michigan, click the link and read the law for yourself. If you're not in Michigan, come visit sometime. You would enjoy our beautiful peninsulas, and we would enjoy your money. 

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