Friday, December 28, 2012

"Just bring a bottle of wine." Here is some solid party advice

“Just bring a bottle of wine.” How many times have you heard that request from a party host? Just in case you hear that during the party season – New Years, Bowl Games, Playoffs and the Big Party – The Super Bowl, here are a few suggestions on just what to bring, keeping three key factors in mind.

1. Budget – You will probably have to share whatever you bring with other guests, so you might as well be somewhat budget conscious. Plus, if the wine you bring is too good, the host will wisely stash it away and you will be forced to drink the “2 Buck Chuck” or whatever else was contributed by the other guests.

2. Common Decency – You have been invited to someone’s home. Bring a decent bottle of wine.

3. What about me? – Typically, in a classic “open house,” there are fifteen bottles of wine somewhere on a bar top or a kitchen counter. Most, you have not heard of. Some, probably spent a week in the trunk of a hot car. Others, wine you just do not want to drink. Bring a decent bottle and keep it close to you. At least you will have a wine to enjoy for most of the evening (until some other unworthy consumers discover your selection).

So – here are ten party wine suggestions, three from Bevmo, three from Total Wine and four from wines.com.

From Bevmo

Sonoma-Cutrer Chard Sonoma Coast '11 – About $21 – Reliable

Edna Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir '09 – About $17 – Good name, good finish

Murphy-Goode Cabernet '10 – Shockingly “goode” $13 Cabernet

From Total Wine

Coppola Diamond Claret – Solid Red for less than $12

Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 – Under $20 – Fruit laden boldness

La Crema Chardonnay, 2010 – About $13 – Nice Value

From Wines.com – Just click on their banner on this page to order

King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir 2010 - Delicious Oregon Pinot Noir for $13

Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay (Ceramic Bottle) 2011 – The bottle will get you noticed, so will the crispness of the wine – about $20

Delas St. Esprit Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge 2010 – Go French and you cannot go wrong with this Rhone red blend for just $12

Better yet, show up with one of the best red values on earth - Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – This will impress your host for around $30. 2007 was off the charts good, but 09 will work nicely.

Suggestion: If you are attending a serve yourself open house, grab two huge glasses, open the Clos du Val yourself, and make sure that you and your partner, spouse, girlfriend or significant other get at least half the bottle. The rest will be gone too quickly.

One thing you will learn quickly in party season: The people who bring lousy wine to a party sure do know how to sniff out the good stuff when it is opened!

Happy Party Season!

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Happy New Year!

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