Five Wines for Five Occasions From Master Sommelier Larry Stone
If you're anything like the rest of us in the First World, you've spent many panicked minutes scanning the shelves of a liquor store before heading to a party. Choosing the right booze is one of those etiquette skills most of us never learn, leaving us the loser who always shows up with a bottle of Korbel.
So to help guide you on the path to superlative wine selection, we spoke to award-winning master sommelier Larry Stone. Stone is hosting an über-upscale, five-course wine dinner at the Fontainebleau's Gotham Steak tonight, and we took advantage of his appearance to avail ourselves of his vast vino knowledge. Get his two cents on the perfect wines for specific occasions -- from popping the question to buying your boss' good favor to meeting the parents -- after the jump.
First dinner with your significant other's parents.
The dreaded first meeting. It's crucial to impress the people who could make your life a living hell for the next 30 years or so -- if you decide to put a ring on it. Planning ahead is a must in this stress-inducing situation.
"That depends upon the taste preference of the parents. It would be most appropriate to get some very good but not too ostentatious wine that would impress your potential in-laws due to its sensitivity to their palates," Stone explains. "My dad was most impressed with Madeira. My mother with Riesling. But my future in-laws were totally put out by the idea of wine. It simply was too highfalutin for them. But since they knew I liked wine, I brought some delicious but not too expensive wines that I thought they might like too. And when they asked me what the wines cost, I didn't look too extravagant -- I tried to keep it under $20 for them. And they did like the wines and also appreciated that I didn't 'waste' money on them. But don't forget to impress other members of your potential future family. My wife's brother was definitely interested in wines, so I made sure he got to try some very good ones. I still exchange sake and wines with him."
Bridal shower for your lifelong frenemy.
Oh, the frenemy, perhaps the most complicated of female friendships. And no matter how much she might make your blood boil, you have to make a showing at her celebration -- fake smile and all.
"Hmm... isn't this a question for a woman sommelier? Ask Sara Floyd, Alpana Singh, or Virginia Philip. I would say in that situation, the only decent thing is to bring a 'wow' bottle -- but why would you go to a rival's bridal shower unless you were a glutton for punishment?"
Well, Larry, because we're women.