Award-winning winemaker Dave Sutton shares how to gift a bottle of wine based on your host’s unique personality.
Wine and food are a natural fit. Both are best shared with friends, and both complement each other – I can’t think of the last time I had a great meal without a glass of wine alongside it! Having a glass of wine stretches out the evening. It stimulates the conversation, turning the focus away from just nourishment and back towards the real reason for the evening – connecting with each other.
Here’s how to choose a wine for the host, based on their disposition:
The larger-than-life friend
A big personality requires a big wine! Go for a Sparkling Shiraz, Australia’s best-kept wine secret. Big, bold and juicy Shiraz flavours with the snap and pop of a sparkling wine – what could be louder than that?
The friend that’s a great listener
Pinot noir is the wine for brooding and quiet contemplation. The subtlety and elegance of this wine require your full attention if you are going to get the best from it.
The brutally honest friend
Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc! Loud, in your face, and nothing to hide, Marlborough savvy lays it all on the table, with its punchy mix of tropical and herbaceous flavours just leaping from the glass.
The friend that is always looking after everyone
It’s got to be bubbles! Nothing says thank you like popping the cork on a great bottle of fizz. If money is no problem, then try Salon Champagne – only made in extremely special years and very small quantities. For something a little more budget-friendly, stay closer to home with the Quartz Reef Brut.
The adventurous friend
Most wines need to be stored in stable conditions, extremes of heat and cold will affect the quality – and of course, once it is opened, the bottle needs to be drunk. An exception to this is the fortified wines – port, sherry and madeira. These wines have already been aged and exposed to oxygen, sometimes for years – so a little excursion through the freezing mountains of Nepal or the tropical lowlands of Sri Lanka will not do them any harm at all. Try a Portuguese tawny port for an exceptionally robust drop.
The wine buff friend
If you are looking to spend some serious money, and get a wine that they are unlikely to get anywhere else, then a red Burgundy is the way to go. A string of smaller than usual harvests and increasing demand from investors have taken these wines from expensive to astronomical. One of the most acclaimed is Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – a bottle of the current vintage is around $24,000, so it’s safe to say that it is unlikely to be in their cellar already.
A fail-safe wine choice when you don’t know your host
A wine for the moment is rosé. Bright, fresh and summery, I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love a glass of the pink stuff. Gone are the days when drinking pink wine is making a statement about your masculinity, and this is now a style wine that appeals to all genders and ages (over 18). The very best rosé wines are made from pinot noir.