Union Hotels’ 5 Tips on How to Choose Wine for Catering
Union Hotels have marvellous premises for organising congresses, seminars, business meetings, social functions, reunions or wedding ceremonies. They also have outstanding cuisine and an excellent offer for receptions, business lunches, gala dinners and other important functions. When it comes to choosing the ideal wine for catering, however, that’s when you might find yourself sat on the vineyard fence – which is why we’ve decided to offer you a few tips on how to choose the right wines.
1. Which wine best accompanies different types of catering?
This depends on the type of the event, the culinary theme, guest structure, the duration of the event, time of day and, of course, budget. We would recommend sticking with wines that will satisfy the majority of attendees. Therefore, from our experience we would not offer heavy, orange and fortified wines as the only choice, but as an additional offer.
For example: at a lunch served at the congress we would offer low alcoholic, fruity, drinkable wines (in lower amounts), since we would like to ensure the attendees remain concentrated until the end of the working day. For dinner, we can then easily offer some of the more heavy and fuller wines.
2. Which wines are best for State receptions?
Normally at a State reception the host country would want to represent itself with the best of their own wine culture, so whether it is France, Spain, Italy or Hungary it will be their finest offerings.
3. What would be the Union Hotels recommendation for hosting an event there?
Start with an aperitif – a sparkling wine or some other kind of light, fruity, fresh or dry aperitif. As we are progressively offering wines from all around Slovenia, we would offer some white wine from the Štajerska region, a rosé from the Vipava valley, a red wine from Slovenian Istria or the coast and, to round things off, a nice sweet wine from the Posavje region.
4. What are the best marriages of wine & food?
It is always hard to find the perfect match and it is not as simple as it may sound. It is essential to know a wine’s characteristics, such as the year it was produced, as well as the dishes to be prepared – will it be spicy, which spices are to be used and so on. For that reason, the key to success in matching is the cooperation between the chef and the sommelier, but the basic principle is to harmonise the intensity of flavours in the food with the specifics of the wine.
Nevertheless, some great pairs are commonly known, such as:
dry sparkling wine or champagne – marinated salmon
Pinot Gris – fish
Sauternes – foie gras
Sauvignon – asparagus
Cabernet – beef barbeque
Pinot Noir – mushrooms, truffles, lighter red meat
And some basic rules:
Easier white wines – appetisers, seafood dishes
Fuller white wines – fish with sauce, white meat
Lighter red wines – simple meat dishes, including veal
Fuller red wines – barbeque matured meat, game
Sweeter wines – desserts, soft goat cheese, nuts
Predicate wines – stronger ripened cheeses, foie gras
5. How many different wines should be offered at an event that takes place over the whole day, and in what order should they come?
Start with a sparkling dry wine before moving on to light fruit white wines, rosé wines and lighter red wines. In the evening we would offer mature sparkling wine or champagne, and then fuller, mature and barriqued wines, predicated at the end. It is recommended to stick to the rule of offering a sparkling wine and a maximum of 2–3 different types of wine.
White shirt, red wine – you know the story already … you’re in mid-conversation, then look down and there it is, the red stain on the shirt and the “oh no, how the hell did that get there?” moment. What to do next? Well, it mightn’t hurt to have an extra white shirt along with you, if possible, as that’s only urgent bulletproof solution to the dreaded red wine stains (other than being extra careful to not spill a drop of it in the first place). If like most of us you don’t have that extra shirt in the briefcase, try to quickly wash the stain with mineral water, white wine or use some of the kitchen’s salt to absorb it away.