Photo by Caitlin Abrams
An assortment of wine from Surdyk's Liquor
There are worse things than showing up to a gathering with the wrong wine. There’s cancelling at the last minute or, God forbid, showing up empty-handed.
But just as navigating the relationships in our lives can be a nuanced, occasionally tricky dance, so can navigating the wines within those relationships.
We asked Melissa Surdyk, fourth-generation Surdyk of Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese Shop, to share her expert picks for wines to tote along for just about any occasion. Dinner party at your husband’s aunt’s house? Co-worker’s holiday get-together? Friendsgiving at your bestie’s? Don’t worry—you’ve got this.
Depending on your relationship, this may be tension-fraught super easy. Either way, opt for Rutherford Hills Merlot from Napa Valley, an elegant Bordeaux varietal that’s pleasing for all palates. Plus, if they don’t open it while you’re there, it’ll age gracefully over the next four to six years. So they can cellar it—or (sigh) even re-gift it.
No matter your relationship with your boss, going to his/her house can be a stressful situation. Don’t mess this up! Follow Surdyk’s advice and bring a 2010 Chateau Haut Bergey (or any Bordeaux from the stellar ’10 vintage). This wine will prove you’re smart and classy, and—since this vintage will only get better through 2025—that you’re always thinking about the ROI.
Heading to a party hosted by the guy three desks over and have no clue what to bring? Chappellet Mountain Cuvee is a fail-safe Napa Valley Bordeaux varietal blend (complete with hints of cedar, mocha, and baking spices) that pretty much anyone will love.
Friend of a friend
Domaine LaRoque Cabernet Franc is the way to go if you want to make a good impression on a new bud. This unique Cabernet Franc comes from the ancient French city Carcassonne (the home of cassoulet!) and pairs well with just about anything. A great wine to bring to a dinner party—especially if you want to ensure you’re invited to the next one.
Show your appreciation for your favorite sibling with a bottle of Tenshen White, a just-released Santa Barbara County blend of Viognier, Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, and Chardonnay. It’s dry and aromatic, with notes of tangerine, ripe melon, and peach. (The label will also go nicely with her hip minimalist décor.)
Your best friend
You know each other all too well, so only the best will do for the Thelma to your Louise (or vice versa). Marietta Old Vine Red is a Surdyk’s customer favorite—a rich, lush red that’s affordable and super versatile when it comes to food pairings. And, as Surdyk puts it, “It’s always reliable, just like your friend.” Awww.