The Naked Guide to Wine Hacks – Perfect Dinner Party Success

I’m not sure we can say ‘staying in is the new going out’ any more – we’ve been ‘staying in’ for so long it hardly counts as ‘new’, does it? Most of us love to entertain our friends, and it’s fun to go to town and do it properly. The popularity of shows such as ‘Come Dine With Me’ and ‘Dinner Date’ shows there’s never been as much emphasis on hosting the perfect dinner party as there is right now.

While the strict ‘rules’ of formal dinner parties are a thing of the past, relaxed get togethers with friends over food remain one of the nation’s favourite past times, and when you get it right, it’s genuinely difficult to beat. Of course, becoming a culinary genius is a skill of its own, but there’s one thing that you can get right by knowing just a few secret hacks…the wine.

Dinner party image By | Shutterstock

So we had a few words with our friends at Naked Wine, and they’ve put together some simple rules you can use to match the right wine with the right night.

1) Time to breathe.

Sometimes a good wine needs a moment to itself. If you’re looking to serve a few big, bold and juicy reds it’s always worth opening them a little while before they slip into your guests’ glasses. Just giving a wine a half hour to breathe can open up the tannins and pump up the flavour.

TIP – If you haven’t got a decanter it may well be worth investing in one. If it’s an emergency and everyone’s arriving in a  couple of hours, simply pouring into another jug will help.

Wine decanter image By Benoit Daoust| Shutterstock

2) Don’t outspice the nectar

Pairing wine with spicy food can be a little daunting. Many a good bottle has been completely overpowered by the food it was paired with, and many a good meal has been completely blown away from the tastebuds by the strength of the wine it went down with.

Avoid wines that are too high in alcohol, and those with big tannins. Too much oak is also a no-no. Your best bet, for happy foodie-winey contentment, is to go for a lighter red or an aromatic, off-dry white.

TIP – If you’re stuck for ideas, you can’t go wrong with a Riesling.

3) The art of conversation.

I’ve heard that even politicians run out of things to say at times – which means that all of us can run dry on conversation. But…the wine can be the elixir for conversation. In more ways that one. The beauty is that each of the Naked Wines have a story.

All of the wines have been crowdfunded and made by independent winemakers – before your big night take some time to leaf through the website and arm yourself with some facts about the men and women behind the bottles.

TIP – someone will always complement the wine – it’s an easy opener, and happily allows you to sound very knowledgeable; “oh, thanks, it’s a fabulous little vineyard run by a brother & sister team. They’re 14th generation winemakers! Daisy, did you visit a vineyard in France this summer?”…

wine glasses image by Yulia Grigoryeva | Shutterstock

4) Have a smashing selection of glasses

Matching the right receptacle to the right wine is nearly as important as matching the food.

Red wine looks good in a bigger glass, and where’s the fun with fizz if it’s not in a flute? But don’t be afraid to have a plastic cup to hand, just in case that one clumsy drunk friend decides to show up for the night. :)

TIP – if you can, splurge a little. They’ll last you for years, and your carefully chosen fabulous wine won’t taste quite as nice from cheap glasses!  Keep an eye on the sales in department stores like John Lewis (click here to go to current offers). For budgets, we particularly like these simple elegant Stölzle Lausitz Quatrophil glasses on Amazon which won’t break the bank.

5) Never run out…

Of course the rule above all rules. Guests can be thirsty people. So it’s always important to make sure that you’ve got enough white in the fridge and enough red on the rack.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail – as they say!

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Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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