“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures” notes Michael Broadbent, British Master of Wine and critic. Wine is an integral component of any occasion. With so many varieties, selecting the right for your event may seem daunting. Before calling on your nearest sommelier, Messina’s Catering and Events provides some suggestions to make your event planning easier.
Wines have a vast array of pricing. The first component to selecting is to ensure that it fits into your event budget. Will there be an open bar, wine and beer, wine only or just a champagne toast? Once you determine your spending, work with your caterer to select wines in an appropriate price range.
Wine Menu Pairing
When choosing wines, keeping your catering menu in mind is important. The old adage of red going only with steak and red pasta sauce, while white only works with chicken and fish is outdated. In pairing wine and food, focus rather on balance. Richer, heartier foods work well with heavier and more complex, like lamb chops or chicken marsala paired with a succulent Cabernet Sauvignon. Or the lightness of a white fish such as cod topped with a piccata sauce balances nicely with a crisp Chardonnay. The weight of food can be determined by the fat, whether it is in the type of meat, cooking method, seasonings or sauce. Estimating the weight of wine is based on alcohol content, color and grape – the more intense of each element, the more full-bodied it will be.
Sometimes, choosing merely one variety of red, white, and a sparkling or rosé simplifies event planning and satisfies guests equally. For white wine, go with one that is light and fresh such as a Sauvignon Blanc. For red, pick one that is fruity and light like a Pinot Noir. To add some bubbly, select a champagne or prosecco that is mild and not overly dry. Rosé has become a year-round wine trend with its light and fruity popularity. These varietals have a broad appeal and pair well with a wide array of food.
Full Course Meal
If you are planning a sophisticated affair with a full course meal, wine can play a fundamental role. Consider pairing a different wine for each course. For the elegant six course meal including hors d’oeuvres, soup, appetizer, salad, main course and dessert, a wide range of wine can be served. Work with your caterer to pair each course with a different wine that complements each other. Consider wines local to your region or offer a global variety based on your menu selections. Your guests will be immersed in a true gastronomic experience.
Is there a special theme or is the occasion seasonal? Match the wine accordingly for a fun twist. Perhaps you are hosting your event in October with a Think Pink theme in support of breast cancer research. Your caterer can serve pink hued food coupled with a festive Rosé. Christmas beckons candy canes, therefore, glasses of red and white varietals enhance the look and feel of the party. Is your event a BBQ bash? A hearty Cabernet pairs well with steak, Zinfandel blends with burgers, Malbec with sausages and Chardonnay brings out the zest in BBQ chicken. Think “all white” for Summer soirées and serve your favorite white wines and sparling varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco.
At the end of the day, the most important aspect of incorporating wine into your event is to make sure that you enjoy it. Choose wine that you enjoy, and want to drink. Messina’s Catering and Events also advises that if you have a favorite wine, make sure it is part of the catering menu. Whether the wine is from your preferred winery, a specific bottle that holds a special memory, or one that you just tasted and loved, it belongs at your event. Messina’s Catering and Events has been pairing food and wines and catering spectacular events in New Orleans for over 58 years. Take a look at our catering menu or visit our blog for more catering trends and ideas.