What do you serve at parties?

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Shay h arnoy
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What do you serve at parties?

#1 Post by Shay h arnoy » December 22nd, 2019, 8:03 am

Holiday season is here and we find ourselves hosting our friends and family.
I don’t want to open our best stuff since a loud party with kids running around is hardly the place to appreciate good wine. Also what I can consider good wine is typically earthier and less sweet than conventional main stream wines. At the same time, I don’t want to serve swill.

Any tips?
Do you have two stashes based on the affinity of the consumer? All wines middle of the road? Pull out your domestic pinots?

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Kris Patten
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#2 Post by Kris Patten » December 22nd, 2019, 8:06 am

Little different since we sell wine....but middle of the road and people are always happy with some recognizable names and stick to PNW since we live up here in Seattle....when family comes to town, wines go down a tier or two.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#3 Post by Lee Barnard » December 22nd, 2019, 9:38 am

Depends on the type of party - sit down dinner for Thanksgiving or Christmas, usually pulling pretty good bottles.

Christmas Eve where our house is a revolving door of family, neighbors, co-workers, etc, I just put out the basics that I can grab in bulk locally (many are drinking beer or cocktails anyway). My go-tos:

-Trimbach Riesling
-Jadot PF
-Drouhin Macon
-Bedrock OVZ
-Tenuta
-San Roman Toro Prima
-Cygnus Rerserva Cava
-Anything I’m trying to clear from cellar

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#4 Post by dsimmons » December 22nd, 2019, 9:54 am

I enjoy sharing good wine with people who have not been exposed to them. That said I do not have parties in a traditional sense. My parties are usually dinners with family and friends. It is also an opportunity to use those magnums that are too much for normal dinners.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#5 Post by Ed Baum » December 22nd, 2019, 9:58 am

Magnums of good not great wine. Magnums are fun.

For instance, last weekend I pulled magnums of 2000 Vieux Telegraphe and 2005 Potel Beaune Greves. People liked them, I liked them.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#6 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 22nd, 2019, 10:02 am

We serve our house wines; 17 pycm bb, Legras BdB, 17 hudelot br, 15 capbern

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#7 Post by Jim Marmion » December 22nd, 2019, 10:09 am

I hosted a party last night for around 40 people. This time of year I always have the theme of Mince Pies and Mulled Wine. So having had their taste buds initially bullied by a hot glass of boxed cabernet steeped in citrus fruit, pretty much anything works as a palate cleanser.

I had a combo of wines from the cellar that had slightly disappointed and recycling various gifted bottles of Meomi. The wines from the cellar were all perfectly ok, just a bit limited and certainly nothing challenging. There was also quite a fun after-party when half a dozen I'd been talking to about wine stayed on and we returned to the cellar and got tasting. Again, mostly approachable defenders of the type that would drink nicely straight out of the bottle - some grenache and a little chianti.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#8 Post by GregT » December 22nd, 2019, 11:38 am

Shay h arnoy wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 8:03 am
Holiday season is here and we find ourselves hosting our friends and family.
I don’t want to open our best stuff since a loud party with kids running around is hardly the place to appreciate good wine. Also what I can consider good wine is typically earthier and less sweet than conventional main stream wines. At the same time, I don’t want to serve swill.

Any tips?
Do you have two stashes based on the affinity of the consumer? All wines middle of the road? Pull out your domestic pinots?
Good wine is good wine, whether there are kids around or not. I don't think kids should be running round winery tasting rooms, but at home it's not fair to expect them not to run around and generally be kids. And there may be dogs too! So enjoy the occasion and enjoy the wine. Wine doesn't need to be tasted in any kind of clinical setting.

I'm one of those people who like serving wine that I consider good, so I will pour something I like. If there's a big crowd and some people are totally indifferent, I'd pour domestic Pinot if I owned any, because that's a good way to get rid of it.

I don't know what conventional mainstream wines are, so my advice is to pour something good that you would enjoy drinking yourself. Doesn't mean it has to be expensive.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#9 Post by Howard Cooper » December 22nd, 2019, 5:37 pm

Could do worse than Bernard Moreau Bourgogne Blanc and Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge. Or Chablis from Christian Moreau or Moreau-Naudet. Or wines from Mercury from Faiveley or from other parts of the Cotes Chalonnaise from Julliot or Domaine Moirots. I typically do not turn to Domestic Pinot. Have not found any that provide the same value as the entry level wines from these and other similar estates.

If you want reds that are really cheap but tasty (certainly not complex), try a wine from Sicily from these guys https://siemawines.com/alcesti
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#10 Post by Anton D » December 22nd, 2019, 5:48 pm

Well, gee, I don't have a set approach.

If I do anything, it would be giving bigger pours of a great wine to people I know will dig it.

I will dig up some pics and see.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#11 Post by Michael Martin » December 22nd, 2019, 5:50 pm

I open good stuff because who better to share the good stuff with other than family and friends.
Later most usually comment about how they love my wines.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#12 Post by Ian H » December 22nd, 2019, 7:32 pm

Lee Barnard wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:38 am
Depends on the type of party - sit down dinner for Thanksgiving or Christmas, usually pulling pretty good bottles.

Christmas Eve where our house is a revolving door of family, neighbors, co-workers, etc, I just put out the basics that I can grab in bulk locally (many are drinking beer or cocktails anyway). My go-tos:

-Trimbach Riesling
-Jadot PF
-Drouhin Macon
-Bedrock OVZ
-Tenuta
-San Roman Toro Prima
-Cygnus Rerserva Cava
-Anything I’m trying to clear from cellar
This resonates with me. In things likes Trimbach Riesling and Bedrock OVZ you can still serve quality wine that people are likely to enjoy (we do all have taste buds, though some are more/less refined than others!) but not break the bank. Also like the point about cleansing things from the cellar. We have all somehow accumulated bottles we're not excited about drinking, even if at some point in the past we made the purchase. Let em go!
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#13 Post by Shay h arnoy » December 22nd, 2019, 7:55 pm

Great input!
Just finished hosting a revolving door of 30 people along with an additional 20 or so kids. Love them all!

I underestimated how socially acceptable it is to bring wine to events. I put out a bunch of wines that I think are good but not amazing and are easy to drink (domestic pinot from Bernardus, cahors wines, gewurtzraminer, and some prosseco). Turns out most of the consumed wines was stuff people brought to the party.

Great night! Will plan ahead next time to have some more modest but interesting options.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#14 Post by Seth M » December 22nd, 2019, 8:08 pm

Depends on the guests. If I know they will appreciate it or are interested in exploring, I’ll find something a bit nicer. If not, then I’ll save the good stuff and go middle of the road. This year my sister in law will be here for Christmas and I know she likes Boen so I have belle glos dairyman for her to try. At thanksgiving the mother and father-in-law were in town and I did a vertical because I knew they would like that. I think it’s about knowing your guests and their tastes (within reason) ;)
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#15 Post by Kris Scheben » December 22nd, 2019, 8:24 pm

I personally like to stick to middle of the road wines or even good value but lower cost, when serving a large family group. A versatile Merlot or even off-dry Riesling gets the most action as it tends to pair well with much of the food served, and thus the guests get a bit more out of it. I can never get my family to sit and taste at events, so it's more of a free-for all and cases of something versatile goes a long way =P
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#16 Post by Craig G » December 22nd, 2019, 8:43 pm

I don’t have any set formula but I’m still in the magnum club at Roederer Estate so I always have a few mags and a 3L around at the holidays for events of appropriate size.

I have to say, I would be stoked to land at a party that had Trimbach Riesling, HN BR, or a number of other wines mentioned here!
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#17 Post by PeterH » December 22nd, 2019, 9:19 pm

My formula is to serve guests wines of a style I think they will enjoy, but better than what they usually drink. I also believe in trying to match the wine to the food served, but when it comes to parties, I've found that catering to the guests tastes is more appreciated than trying to create an educational experience for people who have other things on their mind.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#18 Post by John Glas » December 22nd, 2019, 9:48 pm

Red: Substance Cab
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#19 Post by John Glas » December 22nd, 2019, 9:51 pm

From many tastings over the years the most popular white is:
Dr. Loosen "Dr. L" Riesling
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone
Sparkling either Mumm Brut Prestige or Roederer Anderson's Valley

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#20 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » December 22nd, 2019, 10:49 pm

John Glas wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:51 pm
From many tastings over the years the most popular white is:
Dr. Loosen "Dr. L" Riesling
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone
Sparkling either Mumm Brut Prestige or Roederer Anderson's Valley
This. Dr L and the Saint Cosme CdR are two of my go-tos for parties, as is the Roederer. Great values and tend to be crowd-pleasers. I’ve also had luck with Sebastiani for the Cali Chard lovers, Juan Gil for big reds, Mulderbosch for clean dry whites.

If I have people coming who are into wine I’ll usually open some Ridge or La Rioja Alta for a step up in quality and price while still great value.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#21 Post by John Glas » December 23rd, 2019, 7:42 am

La Rioja Alta
Always a good choice. Love their wines!

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#22 Post by David Glasser » December 23rd, 2019, 11:15 am

Groups of non wine geeks: For red, a Cotes du Rhône. Multiple good ones available around $20. For white, an inexpensive NV Champagne. I stock up when the local shop or Total Wine has a sale so there are always a few bottles with 2-3 years additional cellar age on hand.

If there will be people there whose preferences I know, I serve what they like.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#23 Post by Nicolas G. » December 23rd, 2019, 11:36 am

I have always enjoyed serving Morgan Winery wines, especially the twelve clones pinot and the cotes due crows blend. In PA they've had a nice deal this fall selling the pinot for $23 and GS blend for $14. Picked up a bunch. A few others would be quivira whites and Matthiasson Rose'. Also agree on the Bedrock OVZ.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#24 Post by C Chen » December 23rd, 2019, 11:37 am

To OP: Just buy whatever you want at a fair price.

Always love when people say "Omg, I don't want to open my best wines for parties, but idk what else to get." People who say that don't really have amazing wine to begin with. If they did, they'd have a little discernment.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#25 Post by Juliec » December 23rd, 2019, 11:49 am

I’m planning on bringing a Flowers PN to a white elephant this week. Usually the large wine stores are good at providing reasonable suggestions. I have seen La Crema a lot this season for the non wine crowd.
Personally, I’d try to do a case purchase of a wine in the 40 dollar price point and use that. Half reds and half whites. There are a lot of good Chardonnay names that are in the 30-40 dollar range in California. Also Pat Green is a good PN. Along with sojourn, flowers, many many names in the region. There is also so much from the Santa Cruz and Paso Robles area that is very reasonable. If you want to be even more reasonable you can look to Malbecs and Shiraz from Australia or wines from South Africa. A friend always buys Argentinean wines and they are pretty good, and probably pretty reasonable as they are screw tops. Also cdp in the 30-40 dollar range can be pretty good. Joel Gott and Layer cake is also another value wine provider. (Honestly non wineberserkers don’t care and if a wine drinks decently, they don’t care about the winery at all.)
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#26 Post by Greg K » December 23rd, 2019, 12:00 pm

Inexpensive CDPs tend to be crowd pleasers, I find.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#27 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » December 23rd, 2019, 12:14 pm

PeterH wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:19 pm
My formula is to serve guests wines of a style I think they will enjoy, but better than what they usually drink.
This.

So, last night, that meant a 2016 dry Riesling from Leitz, a 2016 Pinot Noir from Dierberg, a 2004 CdP, and a 2004 Priorat. They all went over very well.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#28 Post by NED VALOIS » December 23rd, 2019, 12:43 pm

The good bottles, except My Latour !

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#29 Post by Markus S » December 23rd, 2019, 4:39 pm

Magnums, just because they look cool and will be remembered.
Or open a mixed case of things you think will go with the food. Certainly you must have wines for the occasion in your cellar? No need to cheapen the event by serving 2-buck Chuck or Apothic.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#30 Post by GregT » December 23rd, 2019, 5:43 pm

No need to cheapen the event by serving 2-buck Chuck or Apothic.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#31 Post by Freek S u i j v e r » December 23rd, 2019, 11:34 pm

It's a great moment to share good wine with good people. This year 1990 Leoville Barton, should do the trick.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#32 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » December 24th, 2019, 5:24 am

Michael Martin wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 5:50 pm
I open good stuff because who better to share the good stuff with other than family and friends.
Later most usually comment about how they love my wines.

I think that is great in theory, but for me at least, does not always work. I think my wines are a bit geeky for normal wine consumers, and I also find at least in my family, there is a range of levels of appreciation in wine, so some folks are pouring huge glasses of expensive wine that, to be candid and not intended to be disrespectful, becomes a bit of a waste. Even my wife complains about my palate.

I’m going through this exercise today, bringing six bottles to my family’s Xmas Eve dinner and then 6 for Xmas day. I may bring a couple geeky things to set aside for myself and my sister - she has a tremendous palate - but for the most part will try to bring crowd pleasing wines that I may enjoy - enjoy, not geeky over - as well.

Bedrock Zin OV
Beaucastel Coudoulet
Chateau Barde Haut - not my style but drinks more like a Cali

Still picking through to see what else.

I wish that I had some magnums.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#33 Post by Dave Nerland » December 24th, 2019, 6:22 am

When we have guests over, I serve only what I would drink, primarily really nice white/red burgundy. Life is too short, wine is meant to be shared and appreciated.
Merry Christmas!

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#34 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » December 24th, 2019, 6:38 am

Dave Nerland wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 6:22 am
When we have guests over, I serve only what I would drink, primarily really nice white/red burgundy. Life is too short, wine is meant to be shared and appreciated.
Merry Christmas!
Aren’t you assuming they will appreciate your burgundy? For example, my dad introduced me to French wines, loves Bordeaux, Châteauneuf, Cali Cabs, and for whatever reason, doesn’t really care for burgundy. That’s primarily why I try to anticipate the tastes of the audience.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#35 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 24th, 2019, 7:03 am

Unless it's a small dinner or group of real wine lovers, including those who may not yet know much about wine, I tend not to open any big guns. The atmosphere during a party doesn't usually allow for the attention and time that the best wines deserve. When we're hosting, we're also way too busy to sit and relax and appreciate the way I would want to. That said, I only own wines I'm happy to drink, so I see no compromise in opening some of my favorite easy drinking, food friendly wines that need no particular prep or reverence.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#36 Post by bob parsons alberta » December 24th, 2019, 7:59 am

Ben M a n d l e r wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 10:49 pm
John Glas wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 9:51 pm
From many tastings over the years the most popular white is:
Dr. Loosen "Dr. L" Riesling
Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone
Sparkling either Mumm Brut Prestige or Roederer Anderson's Valley
This. Dr L and the Saint Cosme CdR are two of my go-tos for parties, as is the Roederer. Great values and tend to be crowd-pleasers. I’ve also had luck with Sebastiani for the Cali Chard lovers, Juan Gil for big reds, Mulderbosch for clean dry whites.

If I have people coming who are into wine I’ll usually open some Ridge or La Rioja Alta for a step up in quality and price while still great value.
I am with Ben, especially the CdR and the Roederer [cheers.gif] .

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#37 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » December 24th, 2019, 8:30 am

Ok, I’m sticking to my guns. Bringing six bottles of quality crowd-pleasers, and then one geeky thing, a magnum of 2011 Clos de La Roilette Cuvée Griffe du Marquis. Having roasted pig Cuban-stule tonight, bet a higher acid wine like that Roilette will work perfectly with the pig fat.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#38 Post by Alex N » December 24th, 2019, 8:59 am

I'll open good stuff for the wine lovers and people who express interest and savor it. Fruity, oaky and familiar reds and whites for the wine likers. 4 years ago at our annual xmas dinner I brought a case of pricey wine and the lush of the party said "Oooh, a cab, I love cab!", and polished off 3/4 of the most expensive bottle in about 1/2 hour, and then left hammered blind, then did the same every other year. We usually decant 2 nice reds and have a couple whites open at a time, and for the wine lovers, stash a really nice bottle decanted behind the bar. One of the decanters will have a $20 bottle in it and "her" glass will be monitored and topped off to the rim. [snort.gif]
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#39 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » December 24th, 2019, 9:27 am

Opened a Bedrock OV Zin while entertaining last night. Hadn’t realized what a crowd-pleaser it would be, and of course satisfied the wine nerds, too. So +1 for that on this thread.
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#40 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » December 24th, 2019, 9:36 am

Yeah forgot ovz in the house red category.

I won’t pour anything I don’t routinely drink myself.

Gift is another story; I’ll regift wine like nobody’s business, or the half bottles of Pinot Grigio I got to get $170 09 cristal at vino Volo before I hit grande reserve.

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#41 Post by Dave Nerland » December 24th, 2019, 9:51 am

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 6:38 am
Dave Nerland wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 6:22 am
When we have guests over, I serve only what I would drink, primarily really nice white/red burgundy. Life is too short, wine is meant to be shared and appreciated.
Merry Christmas!
Aren’t you assuming they will appreciate your burgundy? For example, my dad introduced me to French wines, loves Bordeaux, Châteauneuf, Cali Cabs, and for whatever reason, doesn’t really care for burgundy. That’s primarily why I try to anticipate the tastes of the audience.
I try to anticipate my guests tastes. Example, thanksgiving, served both Krug and Dom. Then white/red burgs. No complaints. But I did open a bottle of Roy Piper's 2016 Napa Cab, which was really nice. Did I mention I also opened a bottle of El Tesoro 80th Anniversary Tequila? My guests never complain.....

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#42 Post by David Glasser » December 24th, 2019, 10:55 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 7:03 am
Unless it's a small dinner or group of real wine lovers, including those who may not yet know much about wine, I tend not to open any big guns. The atmosphere during a party doesn't usually allow for the attention and time that the best wines deserve. When we're hosting, we're also way too busy to sit and relax and appreciate the way I would want to. That said, I only own wines I'm happy to drink, so I see no compromise in opening some of my favorite easy drinking, food friendly wines that need no particular prep or reverence.
Exactly!

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#43 Post by lleichtman » December 24th, 2019, 11:25 am

We don't really have but one big party a year and that is usually BYOB with some basic Cava, Rose, and a solid red like a Produtorrio. When we have folks over such as this weekend, it's the best we have. champagne.gif
Lawrence G. Leichtman

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Anton D
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#44 Post by Anton D » December 26th, 2019, 2:28 pm

OK, at a computer.

Family for Thanksgiving, with various and sundry friends and relations. Most like wine, only one couple maintains a cellar, so happy 'civilians' for the the most part. I wanted an array of tastes/flavors and actually missed out on several (other than making sure they were sound as I opened them.) basically, I went through the cellar trying to pick for variety and perhaps wines that might capture a given person's imagination.

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My wife photographed the dead soldiers...

Master shot:
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Then, she took some close ups...

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It was a predominantly California crew, so we mostly grabbed Cali wines.

All we asked was that people not be fooled by the stems and take "share pours."

We included 1982 la Jota cab so people could get a vibe for older wine and Mountain based. 1985 Duckhorn cab, 1984 and 2012 Dominus, 2012 Dunn HM and Napa so people could contrast (I never got a glass of those at all,) a 1991 Groth Reserve so people could see how those used to be, the La Pelle cab and Rivers Marie cabs as a guide to currently delicious, etc. Aubert chards were well received, as was Peter Michael...party!
Anton Dotson

What is man, when you come to think upon him, but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning, with infinite artfulness, the fine red wine of Shiraz into urine?

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David Glasser
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#45 Post by David Glasser » December 26th, 2019, 3:14 pm

Anton, I may be a 5th cousin 4 times removed.

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Jim Stewart
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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#46 Post by Jim Stewart » December 26th, 2019, 3:20 pm

You are a great host Anton!!! Not surprising to see.
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
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Soul clap its hands and sing

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Re: What do you serve at parties?

#47 Post by joeduncan » December 26th, 2019, 3:50 pm

David Glasser wrote:
December 26th, 2019, 3:14 pm
Anton, I may be a 5th cousin 4 times removed.
Uh, me too! I need to get in on some of that.

My family here is relatively small and are not huge drinkers, so I'm always looking for excuses to open stuff.

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