The party season is upon us and that means one thing: fun wines. I love discovering wines that turn every party into a great experience. Often, we go to parties without knowing what food will be served or even who will be there. The temptation might be to re-gift that bottle someone brought to your house a couple of party seasons ago. Well, this year, do parties right and take wine that you and others will enjoy, a wine that will provoke some conversations.
Sure, you can always take the Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir you drink on a regular basis. After all, you enjoy it. But why not be adventurous and bring something your taste buds might be surprised by? And, just imagine, you can be the star of the party!
Photo credit François Millo
Here are some wines I love to bring to a party: they are very famous, which means several things. First of all, I can tell a little story about the wine, which others generally enjoy. When you purchase the wine, find out something about it. Or look it up online and learn where it comes from and what the winery says about it. Also, when you buy wines that are not very famous, you don't spend as much. This makes it easier to take a risk.
Bubbly is always a good choice for parties: it can turn a regular dinner party into a celebration. Champagne is always a good choice, but good Champagne is not cheap. So, for a party I might choose Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine made in the same method as Champagne, but at a much lower price. Sure, Cava does not have the complexity of Champagne, but you’re going to a party. The bubbles are festive and the wine delicious!
If you prefer a white (yes, I do recommend that you choose a wine that you would like to drink; we’ll talk about why next month), choose something interesting that others might not have tried. There are now many delicious wines that come from lesser known areas. Our house white at The Chopping Block, a Falanghina from the South of Italy, consistently gets raves from customers, whether they are Pinot Grigio fans or prefer something with more flavor.
If you are in the mood for a red, choose a lighter-bodied red. It will appeal to more people, even those who do not consistently drink reds. Try a blend from the South of France: they tend to be fruity and food-friendly. Or a Spanish red, which will have a little more body and dryness, but will still be a food-friendly wine.
Most importantly, choose party wines you feel comfortable with. That will make the party more fun. But leave the old gifted bottles at home. They are not party-fare.
If you want to taste some of my favorite party wines, join me for my upcoming wine class Wines for Entertaining on Thursday, October 22 at Lincoln Square. But hurry, there's just one spot left!