Dinner parties can be amazing, but some hosts feel the pressure when deciding which wines to pour. Dinner parties can be fun to attend, but a pain to plan. If there’s one thing I have learned in pleasing every palate, it's to create a story with the wines you’ll be pouring.
Your guests may not love every wine you’ve chosen, but if you know the story behind the winery and some simple key facts, your guests will be intrigued and entertained. Try these four wine staples to guarantee your dinner party will be a hit and you'll be the talk of the next dinner party your guests attend.
Always start with sparkling wine. Sparkling wines awaken the palate, and create a statement to where the night may lead. A bubbly wine with bright acidity and delightful crisp finish is a perfect way to start an evening. It’s elegant, tasty, and fun. When dealing with exclusive guests always make sure to pour something you wouldn’t sit down with when no one is looking.
JCB Wines are a great way to start your guest’s night. These wines carry a unique story as each wine is named for a significant year or number in the founder’s life. The No. 21 Brut Cremant de Bourgogne Sparkling Wine is crisp and refined, while the No. 69 Brut Rosé Cremant de Bourgogne Sparkling Wine is a pale salmon color with fruity aromas and a rich finish ($25).
When serving appetizers, think out of the box with white wine. Why you ask? Because there’s no way you can pick a white wine that everyone in the room will like. Some people worship tangy whites like Sauvignon Blancs and others love an oaky Chardonnay. Surprise guests with a Pinot Blanc, Riesling, or a Gewürztraminer and you’ve just sidestepped people’s particular taste buds.
Remember give them something to talk about while you’re finishing up dinner. Some amazing whites that will have your guests talking are Sierra Madre 2010 Sierra Madre Vineyard Estate Pinot Blanc Santa Maria Valley ($21). It’s 100% Pinot Blanc and has plenty of orange, cream, brown sugar and brown butter flavors. It's interesting and conversation worthy and a 90 point wine. Remember to drop a score here and there, but only if it’s a 90 point plus wine.
Another nose worthy choice is Dutton-Goldfield 2012 Green Valley Gewurztraminer (Marin Valley) ($30). Gewurztraminer literally means "spice traminer" and will have your guest’s nose stuck in their glass. Besides the aromatic adventure, drop in and tell them there were only 252 cases produced! Guests will be flocking to their phones to find a case before they’re all gone.
For a spectacular Main course, be dramatic and daring with an over the top red. Now it’s time to really knock your guest’s socks off with a wine that brings silence. Remember one important thing: when it comes to the main course and pouring a big red wine, one needs to take the backseat like a true partner and let the other shine! Make sure to serve a dish that won’t overpower a truly elegant wine, because you want the focus to be on the story in the bottle.
Here I recommend Daviana Winery 2009 Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is dramatic in color with plum and blackberry aromas. The finish on this wine will linger and will truly make a statement. Open this cab an hour prior to pouring and just enjoy the ride.
Another amazing red is the locally-renowned Moraga Estate Vineyards 2007 Moraga Red Wine Bel Air ($125). Yes, you read correctly, this amazing Cabernet/Merlot blend is hiding right under our nose in Bel Air. The winery is as beautiful and hidden as you can imagine. The big story over dinner about this spectacular red wine is that Rupert Murdock recently got into the wine business and purchased the vineyard. (Bottle shots attached)
The finish, dessert. Although you may not typically sip dessert wine, always think when entertaining that your guests may. Make sure that your guests leave with a sweetened palate with a Matanzas Creek Winery 2008 Dénouement Sonoma County ($45). This dessert wine is a great finish with aromas of baked peach and honeysuckle. This is a sweet finish to a perfect evening with friends and ones that you have left a lasting impression on.