What do you serve at parties?

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?

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.

Sparkling: Treveri BdB or Rose
Red: Substance Cab
White: King Estate Pinot Gris

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
-San Roman Toro Prima
-Cygnus Rerserva Cava
-Anything I’m trying to clear from cellar

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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) :wink:

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

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!

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.

Red: Substance Cab


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.