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Choosing the best red or white wine for any occasion

From brunch to BBQs or something special for a mate’s night in, choosing the best red or white wine is not as scary as it sounds.
Friends having a BBQ and enjoying some of the best red wine.

At a loss for how to pick the best red wine or crisp white for any occasion? From velvety Shiraz tannins, to an oh-so-fruity blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Semillon – seeking out the perfect bottle can be tricky.

Don’t you hate it when you bring a bottle of wine to a gathering and it’s unceremoniously placed at the back of the rack? Or worse, the horror of it being re-gifted to you a few months later (remember, smile politely!). Trying to find a bottle and not have someone turn their nose up at it seems daunting, but hunting down the best red or white is easier with our guide to choosing the ideal wine no matter the occasion.

From a night in with mates devouring the latest rom-com or online couch co-op gaming sessions, to ‘celebrating’ an in-law’s birthday or seeing in a New Year (and let’s face it, this year has had its share of ups and downs), you need the perfect bottle to wow. Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

Best wine to take to a dinner party

Whether it’s a sophisticated affair or a casual catch-up, dinner parties are the perfect excuse for a few glasses of wine while the gossip flows.

White wine, especially a dry Sauvignon Blanc, go best with seafood courses, complementing the high acidity. Asian-inspired dishes? Try a more refreshing Pinot Gris, which enhances the sweet and salty flavours of the dish.

If it’s meaty, tomato-based pasta on the cards, break out a full-bodied red such as a Merlot, which will balance the richness of the meat. A big, bold Malbec is the perfect choice for a flavourful steak and a side of chips.

Best red wine recommendation – dinner parties

Try our RedHeads Whip-Hand 2019. Full of Barossa style punchiness, this rich Aussie red is brimming with glorious red fruits and smoky vanilla spice from oak ageing. It’s best mates with meaty dishes, especially lamb or charred steak. Cheers!

Best wine to take to a girls’ night in

Suitable for a cosy pyjama night with films or dressing up with nowhere to go, wine is the drink to get you and your gal pals together. A bottle of sparkling wine goes well with a sweet and savoury snack assortment and is usually lower in alcohol, making it suitable for a work night. If you’re having a more refined night in, a light and fruity Rosé goes well with cheese or a Charcuterie board.

Best white wine recommendation – girl’s night in

Our Harmonie Rox Chardonnay personifies fun, making it the ideal addition to a girls night in. The lemon and lime notes work well with sweet marmalade characteristics to make this wine zesty and sweet – matching well with fruit and sweet treats. The delicious Chardonnay is also best paired with cheese, especially Brie. Don’t forget the crackers!

Best wine to take to a BBQ

There only one thing greater than being invited to a mate’s barbie? Grabbing life by the tongs and firing one up yourself! Meaty food, great mates and summer vibes are an excellent opportunity to share a bottle of wine.

A meaty burger deserves a deep Cabernet Sauvignon to enhance the intense fatty flavours, while grilled fish will appreciate a delicate Pinot Grigio to avoid overpowering the palate.

Meatier fish such as salmon can handle a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir, as its higher acidity cuts through the richness. For a BBQ with a whole range of food to suit different tastes, look for a wine made of bright fruit and good acidity to work with a range of flavours. Good all-rounders include:

Best red wine recommendation – BBQs

Introducing Coco Rôtie Syrah Viognier – a Gold medal winning red epitomising the RedHeads brand and individuality. Ten months’ oak ageing delivers a dark and elegant mouthful of smoky blackberry married with dark chocolate raspberry notes and velvety tannins. It’s the perfect red wine for accentuating the flavours of a BBQ – cross your fingers for some sun!

For the ultimate BBQ and wine showdown, read our BBQ drinks guide: the best red wine for barbecues.

Best wine for brunch

Do you actually need an excuse to have a drink before midday? Thought so! A brunch is a great way to gather your mates over for some food, delicious wine and kick off a lazy day.

Bellinis and Mimosas are the pinnacles of brunch – the bubbles of sparkling wine and prosecco being the staple for these cocktails. But with a feast of savoury and sweet options, a whole variety of drinks are suitable for the occasion. For savoury egg dishes, light white wine complements the creaminess of egg. The dryness and high acidity of Sauvignon Blanc pair well with avo on toast with poached eggs, thanks to its fruity and herby tones.

A bacon-heavy or meaty brunch benefits from a red such as Chinon. The medium-body and spicy herbal tones balance the smokiness of the bacon perfectly, making it a robust pairing. If you’ve a sweet tooth and tend to devour stacks of pancakes at a brunch (honestly, no-one’s judging), a fruity rosé will complement berry toppings and compote.

Best white wine recommendation – brunch

Our Harmonie Rox Chardonnay is a great choice as a brunch partner thanks to its creamy palate cut through with light spice tones and citrus freshness.

Best wine for a housewarming

Whether it’s a party or a sneaky nose around your friend’s new house, a housewarming demands a bottle to celebrate.

Popping the cork on a Champagne is a great way to honour the celebration, but still wine is also a winning choice as a housewarming gift. A sophisticated night of cheese and grapes would be best paired with a versatile red wine like a light-bodied Pinot Noir. To enjoy a more casual pizza night, a lighter, sweeter white wine like Riesling suits fruitier toppings and rich reds, like Sangiovese, cut through the saltier, fattier meat options.

Best red wine recommendation – housewarming

Our Night of the Living Red is a gobsmackingly gorgeous Aussie red that’s perfect for all manner of celebratory dishes, and also does double duty as the perfect housewarming gift.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best white wine for beginners?

Chardonnay is one of the best white wines for a wine novice. Thanks to its velvety and smooth nature, the dry wine is easy to drink and can be paired with many dishes such as fish and poultry.

What is the best red wine for beginners?

Cabernet Sauvignon is a popular choice for beginners and is widely available – one of the most commonly planted red grapes. Merlot is also a great affordable choice, featuring plum, cherry, and vanilla notes.