I’m not sure how I neglected posting this already, but it’s now months past our annual wine party at the McAdams household! We generally have had our parties at the end of October, calling them HalloWine parties; this year, however, timing was different, and we ended up having the party the 2nd weekend of November, closer to Thanksgiving, so we rebadged the shindig and called it WinesGiving!
We had a great group of friends over, including Laura & Mike. I’ve known Laura about as long as anyone not in my family, having been in Sunday school then first grade with her.
This post isn’t really about recipes or what to cook as much as it is how to enjoy. Every year, we have wines that people love along with wines nobody could love… That’s part of the fun! The theme this time was Blushes and Reds from Napa Valley.
As usual, I did the food for the night, supplemented with a variety of cheeses, breads and olives. The main food item was paella, with some chorizo and lots of seafood. A “real” wine tasting party is supposed to have food last, but we always do it first. It’s a good time to socialize, have a cocktail or two, and get ready for the wines. We’re not trying to be wine snobs, just share and try some wines with good friends. The food is available throughout the night, and I try to do a dessert that comes out near the end of the wines. This year’s dessert with dulche de leche pano cotta… It’s very easy and ridiculously good!
So our formula isn’t the one most recommended, but it works:
- Fix some great food, have some cheeses, breads, crackers, whatever sounds good.
- Allow guests to come in when they can and relax with a cocktail while they talk a while.
- Make sure everyone has a decent wine glass, some wine crackers or saltines, lots of water (to rinse their glass or drink) and something into which they can pour their unwanted samples.
- Lots of wines to try! We ask each couple to bring a bottle of each (one blush and one red, in this case).
- Notepads and pens in case anyone wants to take notes.
- A “prize” of some sort for everyone. We get 1 per person, and we make up reasons to let each couple pick a couple of things from a table. This can be wine knickknacks, pourers, stuff like that. We like to have a variety.
With that, all you need is enough friends to have a great time! We’ve had just 3-4 couples up to a dozen couples, and all have been a lot of fun! We had so much fun last time that we’re trying to do parties about every 3 months, and just went to a beer tasting party as a result of wanting to get together more than once a year!
And if you have a bad wine that someone brings, don’t worry… It will still be fun, and that will be a wine you’ll laugh about with each other for years to come.