This article was contributed by Steve Goodman, Owner and operator of WineFetch.com
When you are going to someone’s house, what wine should you bring? A Sancerre or a Pinot Noir? A recognizable wine or one that even a wine lover might have to look up? Its a tough question, but here are some simple things to think about.
First and foremost, you have to decide whether you want to bring a red or a white. I’d say you can never go wrong in bringing a red, but there are times that a white may be appropriate. The person you are bringing the wine to might love whites or it might be a hot summer day and a crisp white might just do the trick. If you’re not sure, I’d stick to a red but there are a couple of other things to think about.
If your host is a wine lover, you might want to try find a great, unknown wine to impress them. Though sometimes you are limited to what you can find at your local store and finding a “cult” wine could be tough. Also, just because someone is a wine lover doesn’t mean they know a lot about wine. I’d recommend trying to get a revered wine by a known winery that’d you recognize if you drink a lot of wine, but not from a winery if you only know the big names. For example, I’d go for a Heitz or Silverado Cabernet Sauvignon instead of a Silver Oak or Caymus (there is also a big price difference here
) Your local wine merchant should be able to recommend a couple of wines with this characteristic.
Price is also a big deciding factor. There are great wines in all price ranges, – well… maybe not all European wines (Barolo for example), – so now you just need to determine the sweet spot. Remember, price does not equal quality. As a guide, $20 – $30 dollars will open you to a large variety of great wines of all varietals. Of course, if you’re going to your boss’s house, maybe you want to kick up a notch, or even down one depending on your relationship
One thought I would stay away from is: “Well they don’t know anything about wine so the cheaper the better.”. Ask yourself this, you might not be a chef but do you know when your food just sucks? Same thing with wine, people who know nothing still have taste buds.
So, where does this lead us? Hopefully closer to a bottle of wine you are willing to bring to a party. Here are couple of suggestions in various price ranges and frankly, if I got any of these, I’d be happy:
Bogle Petite Sirah – Price Range $7 – $11
“Petite Sirah is neither cheap nor a Sirah – discuss” – A great wine for the value and petite sirah might create an interest in all wine drinkers
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – Price Range $11 – $18
Crisp, fruit forward, and a a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Great to drink on a hot summer day.
Rosenblum Richard Sauret Zinfandel – Price Range $18 – $24
A great California Zinfandel with a lot flavors bursting in the mouth. Very approachable for all wine drinkers.
E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Price Range $30 – $45
Enjoy this great Châteauneuf from one of the best producers. A great wine year after year.
Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon – Price Range $40 – 50
A great cabernet with all the characteristics of your favorite cabernet. You’ll love it when its young and discover its complexity as it ages.