Choosing wine for a large dinner party of 60 people
One of the interesting things about having a wine blog is the way it influences my view of events. For example, my wife and I recently gave a 50th anniversary party for my parents. It was a sit-down affair for about 60 people. I cooked all of the food except the cake, but the remarkable thing is that I spent almost as much time thinking about the wine as I did making the food.
Most of my relatives only have an occasional glass of wine. So I didn’t have to worry about impressing them with esoteric wine selections and unique pairings, but I did want to offer wine that would be appreciated. In a perfect world, I hoped for an email or a phone call asking about the wine that was served at the party.
With 60 people, we wanted to keep the cost down to about $10 per bottle (case price). While price is always an important consideration, the most difficult part of the wine decision was selecting wine that would pair with barbeque. After all, the spicy, sweet, tomato based sauce used to accompany barbeque is not exactly wine-friendly.
For my first choice, I selected one of my “go to wines” for the Texas summer, Bieler Pere et Fils Rosé Sabine from the south of France. The 2007 is a delightful medium bodied drink with lots of light red fruit and a medium long dry finish. While I am a big fan of rosé, I know that most people would rather drink either Chardonnay or Cabernet, so I knew I would need one of each. I also wanted to offer an ABC (anything but Chardonnay) wine and another red wine choice to cover all my bases.
For the Chardonnay we poured the 2006 Macon Lugny “Les Charmes”. Les Charmes is a rich Chardonnay without the oak. Showing a little green apple and a smooth round finish, this wine is a party favorite that my family found easy to slug down.
D’Arenberg’s 2006 Stump Jump was the second party white. Made from Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne this is any easy going, simple white wine that works well for a party.
The party Cabernet was the 2004 Haras Estate Cabernet in Chile’s Maipo Valley. This wine shows ripe fruit and a medium-full body, but it is not a typical Cabernet. The ’04 Haras also shows meaty smoke and damp earth. Red wine and barbeque are a tough pairing, but the Haras Cab is an exception that works well.
The second red was Marietta Old Vine Red Lot Number 46. This non-vintage wine is comprised primarily of Zinfandel. Spicy red fruit set on top of sweet oak in this medium-full bodied wine.
The party went very well and people really seemed to like the wines, judging by how many bottles were consumed. But I guess it is not a perfect world, because no one has called to find out what wine they were drinking at the party.
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