How to Create Perfect Wine Pairings

Wine expert David Mirassou shares how to choose the wine for your next party

After announcing your engagement, you may want to throw a small cocktail party in your home to celebrate. Unlike an engagement party at a restaurant or catering hall, you don't need to serve your guests a three-course meal. Wine and hors d'oeuvres are always a popular format. But how do you know what wine to serve or what food will work well with each wine? We asked David Mirassou, 6th generation of America's oldest winemaking family, for his advice on how to choose wine and how to pair it with different foods for your next party. Here's what he had to say:

If a newly engaged bride and her fiance want to host a casual get together at their house to celebrate with friends, what are some wines they should have on hand?

As I travel throughout the country, I meet a lot of young couples who are interested in at-home entertaining, whether it's for special occasions, like an engagement party, or a casual Saturday night get-together with friends. As I travel throughout the country, I meet a lot of young couples who are interested in at-home entertaining, whether it's for special occasions, like an engagement party, or a casual Saturday night get-together with friends. Regardless of how fancy or casual the occasion, here's one tip I always give them: Have a white wine, a red wine, and a sweet wine on hand for your guests.

Are there certain wine and food pairings for an at-home cocktail party that you would recommend?

When you entertain, it's just as important to keep in mind the food preferences of your guests, as it is presenting great food and wine pairings. In addition to cheese platters and meat dishes, I also like to have at least one vegetarian option available.

If you're not sure which wine(s) you and your fiance will enjoy, how can you find out which wine you should buy?

Wine tasting should be enjoyable. At Mirassou, we have a fun way to figure out which wines the people in your life might enjoy. We call it our Wine Personality Quiz. It's a simple, unscientific quiz that matches the personality traits of people you know with our wine varietals.

What's the best way to store wine? What types of wine go in the fridge? At what temperature?

Wine is a living thing, and it loves to live in a location that is cool - 64 degrees is perfect. Store your wine in the dark as the sun can change the way a wine will age, and place it on its side to keep the cork wet.

The best way to store wine once opened is to use a product like Private Reserve or Vineyard Fresh. These add a protective layer of gas above the wine to help keep the oxygen away, which will help make the bottle last over a week. I also store opened wine in the refrigerator, which will last for two days.

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