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- deal - 11-09-2009 02:40 AM

Hello all.
I am looking for some advice on hosting a house warming/wine party. I need to find out what the best way to have a variety of wines on a modest budget. I am also wanting to know what the best food trays/snacks to serve.
I live in western Wisconsin just east of Minn/St Paul. Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


- hotwine - 11-09-2009 11:02 AM

Hi Deal, and welcome to the board.

Suggest you approach your planning this way:

- Determine the number of adults present;

- Of those present, how many will drink wine?

- If any guests are semi-serious wine-lovers, plan to serve one bottle per couple; if they're only casual sippers, plan for 3-4 people per bottle.

- Suggest you provide a red, a white, and a bubbly. For the red, a Spanish Garnacha (Grenache in French), a southern Rhone, or a red Zinfandel. For the white, a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc; and for the bubbly, a Spanich Cava or Italian Presecco. The whites and bubblies should be served chilled, the reds at cool room temperature.

If you're a member of Costco and you have a Costco handy, you can find all of your wines there at very affordable prices... $10 or less per bottle. If not Costco but you're a member of Sam's Club, try there.... they just don't have as good a selection as Costco. If not Costco or Sam's, go to a large supermarket that carries wines and ask a clerk for help. If none of the above, go to a good wineshop in your area and do the same.

- At Costco/Sam's/supermarket, look for party trays of sliced cheeses, hams and sausages. Also pick up several packages of party crackers.

- Cut up the cheeses, hams and sausages into bite sizes to match the crackers, provide a container of colorful toothpicks and stack of napkins, along with a stack of clear plastic cups for the wines, and you're in business.

Have fun!


- TheEngineer - 11-09-2009 03:46 PM

Perfect Hotwine! I totally agree. Don't worry too much about picking poorly made wine as that typically does not exist today. Most bottles are now made with modern facilities are are without faults. Just have a great time.


- deal - 11-09-2009 05:19 PM

Wow, thank you so much for the quick response and encouraging advice! I am feeling more relaxed about the event and actually getting excited.
While I have your attention, I was wondering if you could direct me to some reds that I would like to find. I am in search of ones that are not on the spicy side and have a bold oak taste. Gotta have the oak [Image: smile.gif] I guess I am not too picky about the berry flavors, I just love the oak finish. I hope this makes sense and you can help. Thanks for having this forum!


- hotwine - 11-09-2009 07:36 PM

Anything out of California should fix your oak craving. For the Chardonnay, Kendall-Jackson's Reserve is about as oaky as I can stand; and for reds, those from Kendall-Jackson or Cline are usually easy to find; look for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

The same grapes from Washington State, Australia, Argentina, Chile and Texas should also be oaky enough for you.


- TheEngineer - 11-10-2009 12:39 AM

I'd also try a few things from Spain for spicy. Look for a brand called Las Rocas which will be in the $10-12 area or luvodicus which will be $8-$10. Both are good examples of cheap great drinks from Spain.


- deal - 11-10-2009 12:56 AM

The most recent red I purchased was Robert Mondavi Private Selection
Cabernet Sauvignon
California 2007 and I found it have an above average oak taste. And the last Washington State wine was a 2005 Columbia-Crest Merlot Cabernet and was disappointed because it said to have an "extended aging in small oak barrels." Maybe Im being too picky but I know there are unlimited amounts of flavors. I'll check out the Kendall-Jackson Reserve, thanks!


- Drew - 11-10-2009 06:10 AM

St. Francis wines will splinter your mouth if you want oak. Also many Australian Shiraz are heavy on the oak treatment.

Drew


- TheEngineer - 11-10-2009 01:00 PM

I remember tasting an 2002 Woop Woop that also gave me splinters. I've not tasted them recently but reviews on their latest release appear to be pretty solid. For $8-$11, worth a peak


- Innkeeper - 11-10-2009 01:53 PM

As far as the party goes you may be able to satisfy both yours and your guests taste. Tastings for crowds have shown that Shiraz and Chardonnay are the most popular. At almost any retailer including those mentioned above you should be able to find two or three brands of Australian wine in the $5-$9 range for both wines. By the case they should be very reasonable and satisifying with plenty of oak, and little spice.


- deal - 11-10-2009 03:13 PM

Excellent, thank you.

I have a question dealing with reds. I've heard some speak of letting it 'breathe'. What exactly does that mean? And after opening, is there a shelf life? I know you are supposed to keep whites cool, are reds supposed to be strictly room temp?


- Innkeeper - 11-10-2009 03:51 PM

We decant almost all reds except the very lightest ones just as Beaujolais. We use old glass Ocean Spray bottles or empty Almeden bottles (wine used for cooking or drain cleaning). Reds should be served between 60 and 65 degrees F. If you don't have a cellar or cool closet, and in Texas that's not likely; put them in fridge for about half and hour before decanting. Or decant and put the decanter in the fridge.