Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Another Great Party
Earlier this month I made some suggestions for party wines, and for our annual Christmas party I followed those closely. But unlike last year's party I had to "tighten the belt", so I served a more modest selection of wines for our guests:
NV Codorniu Clasico Brut Cava (Spain)
2007 Wolf Blass Cabernet Sauvignon Yellow Label (Australia)
NV Bistro Mundo Tempranillo (Spain
2006 Meia Encosta (Portugal)
2006 Crasto (Portugal)
The bubbly starter was a huge success, with many guests sticking to the Codorniu for the entire evening (good thing I had a few extra bottles!). I didn't even bother offering a white this year, thinking this bubbly would serve both roles, and it did so ably, pairing perfectly a spread of homemade quiche, pesto lasagna, curried chicken and various cheeses and charcuterie. Available locally for just $13.65 this wine is a steal.
For the reds I had a bit of fun our guests, blinding the wines and giving the guests a few "simple" tasks: (1) pick out the box wine, (2) guess the cabernet, and (3) guess which was the most expensive. They were also asked to pick a "favourite". The most lively discussions of the evening took place in the vicinity of the four mysterious decanters - just the way I like it!
Now a few comments on the wines. The Meia Encosta was the least favourite and was nearly everyone's pick for "the box wine". This was unexpected as I was rather complimentary of this wine a few weeks back. I even opened a bottle after this event and my wife (blinded) loved it. Perhaps it was the competition, but I stick with my original assessment that this wine "...could be the king of mid-week wines."
The Spanish Bistro Mundo Tempranillo was a "table wine success", generating no major comments, positive or negative, and the decanter emptied at a healthy clip. This wine melded into the background, pairing quite well with the food on offer. Can you ask for more from a box wine?
The crowd of novices and aficionados easily picked out the Wolf Blass Yellow Label as the Cabernet Sauvignon, and it was the favourite wine of the evening for nearly half of my guests. Historically a staple in my household, I haven't had it in years - I forgot how good this inexpensive Aussie Cab was. Even better, the SAQ had a blowout two weeks before Christmas - I picked up a few bottles for just C$13. A steal at that price, and even at the current price of C$17.95 this wine is highly recommended.
The Crasto was the crowd favourite, but it was 50 - 100% more expensive (C$20.15) than the other wines on offer. Easy drinking and flavourful with a fabulous nose, it was a touch flabbier than I recall from a previous tasting but still delicious.
Overall, a great night of wines, capped off by a 2000 Bouscasse Vielles Vignes for the stragglers. And I have a few refinements to my party suggestions for next year.
Happy New Year to All!