For a dinner party, is it better to serve one bottle of lots of wines, or lots of bottles of a few wines?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I’m bringing six bottles of wine (three white, three red) to a big family dinner. Should I bring six different wines, or three bottles each of the same red and the same white?

—Tare, Pebble Beach, Calif.

Dear Tare,

How nice of you to provide wine! I’m often the family member with that responsibility, so I’ve been confronted with this very question many times.

Guests are usually excited to see what I’ve brought and want to try as many wines as possible, and they’re used to having just a taste of a wine before moving on to the next. You can come up with a theme—pick a producer, a grape, a wine region or a vintage to explore and get three different wines with three different expressions for some fun. Or just pick three of your favorites, or wines you think will go with the cuisine or the event. It’s helpful with multiple bottles if the guests are pouring their own wine, so they can keep track of what’s in their glass.

But I think it depends on the crowd and situation. If you’re going to be in a restaurant with a server pouring the wines you’re bringing, six different wines might be tricky to manage—you’ll have to make sure the server doesn’t top off red wine No. 1 with red wine No. 2 and so forth. If the guests aren’t really into exploration and would rather nurse a single glass over the dinner, then you might want to keep it simple. Either direction you go in, it’s kind of you to bring the wine!

—Dr. Vinny

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