Anatomy of a Wine Pairing Party

Recently we have done a few fun wine pairing parties with some friends. Some have been more intimate with just three other couples, and others were larger ones with over 30 people attending. What both have in common is the coming together of friends to taste wine paired specifically with certain foods.

A couple of weekends ago, we had a summer wine pairing.

All participants RSVP with what dish they are bringing and what wine they will pair it with. The host then figures out a schedule based on the wine starting with whites, going to reds, and finally any dessert wines.

Each couple introduces their dish and wine, and talks about how it should pair well together. We then eat a small portion, taste the wine, talk and have a lovely time.

And, we have a one ounce wine pourer, which makes it possible to get just a tasting of the wine, and also helps you to not drink too much before the party is over.

I took photos of the food but didn't take any notes, so I don't know the specifics of the different wines we were tasting.

We started with home-smoked salmon, with a white wine.

This was smoked perfectly, and tasted incredible.

Next up was amazing stuffed mushrooms, with so many incredible ingredients. Again, I wasn't taking notes and now I am kicking myself, because this would have been fun to try to copy. I'll have to ask that friend for the recipe.

We moved to the the lone rosé and had a delicious beef taco with a spicy mint coleslaw. And I forgot to take a photo.

Moving on to the reds.... this was a slice of a soft Dubliner cheese over a baguette and drizzled with honey.

If you have not had honey with cheese you are really missing something.

Our dish was next. We had spent a couple of hours the Saturday before, experimenting with this. We were trying to copy Cicchetti, a small appetizer bite we had experienced in Venice. After trial and error, we took out the pickled radishes and added bacon, to have: a baguette slice with goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula, sliced plums, bacon, and a drizzle of honey.

We also had a bottle of Sriracha, and insisted that a couple of drops be put on top. I know what wine I brought, and we brought a Ménage à Trios red blend (a basic table red blend), which is exactly what Cicchetti is served with in Italy.

Next up was some Italian meatballs. I do remember that the wine that this couple brought was over 20 years old and tasted AMAZING.

There was another meatball dish that I forgot to take a photo of, but then I did get a photo of the third kind of meatballs we were served. These ones were spicy Indian curry.

We took our time between the dishes to talk with each other.

It was really a quite lovely time.

This next dish was a treat: homegrown grilled lamb (like literally homegrown - it was born on their property, raised and butchered there as well).

We had two desserts: first up was this baklava, with some homemade, flowery wine.

And finally, chocolate mousse with some dark port, the perfect ending to our evening.

Wine pairing parties are so much fun. Wine can be enjoyed with food, not in excess, and really adds to the flavor and taste of the meal. Try a wine pairing party sometime!