Arizona Stronghold Vineyards gives us a crash course in home winemaking.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards gives us a crash course in home winemaking.
Wine can always make an incredibly classy gift for any birthday, anniversary, wedding, or retirement party. It can be a great thank you gift, house warming present, or hostess gift at a dinner party. The only tricky part to giving wine is determining the tastes of the recipient, but with a few wine choosing tips you should be able to pick something that will be much appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.
A Casual Gift of Wine
If you’re unsure of the type of wine your gift recipient enjoys, sticking to a white variety will be your safest choice. Because white wines are usually sweeter and lighter they are usually enjoyed more often by those who may not drink wine regularly. Examples of popular wines that are smooth and easy to drink would be White Zinfandel, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay is a bit drier but may be a good choice if you have an idea of your gift recipient’s tastes to some degree.
Buying For a Wine Enthusiast
For those who drink wine more often and can appreciate a more complex or bitter flavour, a decent bottle of red wine can make an excellent gift. Merlots are usually on the sweeter side for a red wine while a Pinot Noir will be more bitter and intense. Red wine has a higher tannin content which gives wine that mouth puckering sensation. Because of the unique flavours found in red wine, this type of wine is best given to an experienced wine drinker.
Give Them Something to Experience
You may intend to give your gift to an avid wine drinker, in which case you may want to impress them and find a wine they’ve never tried before. If it’s within your budget, looking for a rare vintage could make your gift a big hit. If you’re unsure about the different varieties of wine, be sure to buy your gift from a retailer that can provide expert feedback and advice.
Wine Gift Baskets
It’s hard to go wrong with a gift basket of any type, and a wine gift basket can be perfect for so many occasions. Because you’re giving multiple items at once, you can afford having a few hit and miss wines in the basket. Adding some cheese, crackers, or chocolates can be a nice touch and will be appreciated by everyone at the party if your recipient opens and shares their gift on the spot.
When you aren’t sure what to get, sticking to a white wine will be your safest option. For any celebratory types of occasions, a nice Champagne or sparkling wine can give a fun and exciting touch to your gift. Even if you buy something your recipient doesn’t normally drink, you may be introducing them to a new flavour they’ll come to love.
For its speed and simplicity of making, this wine is perfect for a wine making novice. The low cost of ingredients also make it a great every-day wine. Ideally you will need a couple of demijohns and syphon tubing
When pairing a wine with any given meal, a few guidelines should be followed. It’s important not to overpower the food being served while choosing something that will compliment the taste. If you want to keep the process simple there are some very general rules you can follow, but to choose the perfect wine a little more experience and research may be required.
Wine and Food Pairing Basics
Generally speaking, it’s usually a safe bet to pair red wine with richer foods and white wines with lighter meals. You may also choose to use a wine from a certain region with foods that come from the same area. The right wine should prepare your palate for the meal you’re enjoying rather that clash with it, so choosing a wine that is less complex that your food can be a good start.
When to Use a Red Wine
On most occasions, a red wine can be served with red meats and red sauces. They can go well with beef, lamb, pasta, or anything rich and hearty. Some red wines are more bitter than others, so depending on your personal tastes and your own experiences, you may find a personal preference for which wine variety you like best with different types of meats.
White Wines with Your Meals
White wines are usually crisper and fruitier and can be paired best with lightly seasoned foods. Chicken, fish, pork, and foods with light sauces will usually taste best with a white wine. Sweeter whites can be served with fruits and salads while a drier type may taste best with something that has a bit more spice.
Getting More Information on Specific Wines
A certain degree of trial and error maybe required if you have a pickier palate, but starting with the basics will point you in the right direction. Tasting more wines can expand your knowledge base and being open to the suggestions of experienced sommeliers when dining out may introduce you to potentially new and delightful wine and food pairings.
The proper wine should add to the flavour of the meal rather than distract from it. If you’re serving a multi-course meal, it can be a good idea to offer a different type of wine for each course. Your own tastes will be the final deciding factor on which wines to serve with which meals, but additional tips and advice can be found on manufacturer’s websites, in-store from your wine retailer, or even by the suggestions of regular dinner party guests.
Wine glasses, like wines themselves, come in many different varieties. In order to fully enjoy any given type of wine, using the perfect glass is a vital detail that must be paid attention to. Glasses come in different shapes and sizes for a reason, so understanding their functions will allow you to choose the appropriate glass for the type of wine you intend drink.
Type of Material
The type of glass your wine glasses are made from can greatly impact your enjoyment of the wine. For some, seeing the hue and clarity of their wine is unimportant and they may prefer a more visually appealing frosted or coloured type of glass.
For wine tastings or wine connoisseurs, a clear, clean glass should be used so you can properly see the brightness, hue, and density of your wine. Some wines may be cloudy while other can be an intense purple or sparkling white. Clear glasses will allow you to fully enjoy the visual aspect of wine drinking.
Stemless wine glasses are available to purchase, but if you’d like to avoid warming your wine with the heat from your hand or leaving oily fingerprints on the bowl, you’ll want to choose a glass that has adequate stem length. Holding your glass by the stem can keep your wine cool while allowing you to get a proper visual experience through a clean, unobstructed bowl.
Wine Glass Shape
For different types of wine, different glass shapes may be necessary to fully enjoy the bouquet of that particular wine. Small glasses are perfect for dessert wines since they are usually heavy, sweet, quite rich and are best enjoyed in smaller amounts. Tall and thin wine flutes and good for Champagne and sparkling wines to ensure they retain their carbonation for as long as possible.
Complex red wines should be enjoyed from glasses with large bowls for maximum swirling and to allow the intense bouquet to fully breathe. A smaller, rounded glass can be used for white wines to direct their more subtle aromas straight into your nose and palate.
The proper wine glass can maximize the flavour of your wine. What may seem like a minor difference from one glass to another can have a substantial impact on the enjoyment you’ll get from your next glass of wine. Having a collection of glasses for all occasions or just the right set for the type of wine you drink most often with allow you to get the most from your favourite flavours, aromas, and bouquets.