How to Buy the Right Wine for the In-Laws

Forget Olympic finals or politicians being grilled by an interviewer on live TV, taking a bottle of wine to your in-laws is the definition of having to perform under pressure!

Especially, I might add, if it’s one of your early visits. And the bad news is that there’s no such thing as a blanket recommendation, either. For instance, you might think a classy bottle of white Burgundy is the perfect present — but it’s no good if they only drink red wine from the New World.

Much of the success of an in­laws’ wine gift depends on your research, which, if you don’t know their personal preferences, means grilling your other half. The information could be as specific as ‘they like 199O St-Emilions’ or as general as they don’t like white wine’. Either way. establish some guidelines before venturing out with your chequebook.

If they have some favourites, then great, you know where to start looking. If they don’t have any preferences or don’t drink that much wine, then your job is both harder (because the potential choice is vast) but also easier, because, provided what you bring is better than what they’re used to, they’ll be happy.

For the uncritical family, wines that deliver plenty of bang for your buck are a good bet. A £lO red from Chile, Argentina or South Africa will get you a lot of rich, silky flavours. Whites are harder, but a creamy Australian Chardonnay usually does the trick, as does a waftingly aromatic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

For in-laws who drink wine more regularly but have no great expertise, the key is to find a wine style they like, then consider spending up to twice as much as they usually would in order to get a wine that is guaranteed to deliver. In this, you’ll increase your chances of success if you avoid the supermarket in favour of somewhere with staff who can give you decent recommendations.

When it comes to buying for wine-literate in-laws, there’s only one option: go to a specialist merchant and ask them to recommend something in the relevant style.

There are two advantages to this: one, it takes the pressure off you (beyond signing the cheque) and, two, a good merchant should be able to give you a bit of interesting background info about the wine.

Showing that you’ve gone out of your way to pick up something a bit interesting is worth many cred points and, even in the unlikely event that the wine doesn’t hit the spot, you’ll still come out of it well.

Filed Under: Food & Cooking


About the Author: Leona Kesler is a head-chef at a very popular food restaurant in New York. Also she is a blogger who shares her experiences, tips, and other informative details about food and cooking. Her recipes are featured on many magazines.

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