Well, I’ve come a long way, because today, I am on first name basis with one of DC’s best sommeliers. I can no longer choose wines for an event without first consulting him. He has introduced me to a world of possibilities and has taken me out of my Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio/Merlot/Pinot Noir comfort zone, but has left me humble enough that I never say: “I am NOT drinking any f---ing Merlot!!” Although I may occasionally, because I just loved Sideways so much.
Over the years, I’ve picked up some tips from my sommelier that translate well to at-home entertaining (the stuff I think about now as I prepare for next week’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy Backyard Party). Here, they are:
- The size and shape of the wine glass does matter. The Riedel Wine Glass Guide is a great starting point for the novice hostess.
- Chill the red wine a half-hour before serving it and remove the white wine from the refrigerator a half-hour before. If wine is too warm or too cold, it loses its flavor and complexities (if you care about complexities), and
- Always serve dessert, wine that is, and make sure it’s sweeter than the dessert to ensure a sweet ending.