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Favorite dinner party wine?

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I'm looking for wine suggestions for bring to a dinner party where I'm not sure what is on the menu.

A sparkler would be an a good choice but I would like to bring a red.

I'm looking for something that is obviously food-friendly and engages the wine lovers without being too cerebral for the casual drinker.

Maybe around the $20 price point?

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The problem is you've given us so little to go on. Knowing what was on the menu would be a big help.

That said, Côtes-du-Rhône is arguably the most versatile of reds, so I'd probably go that route. Careful, though, as 2002 was a generally lousy vintage in the inundated southern Rhone and the hellishly hot 2003 produced many blowsy, raisinated, baked/stewed wines. If you can find a bottle, the 2001 Coudoulet de Beaucastel is a lovely wine that would probably hit your price point.


Edited by carswell (log)

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I think the most versatile red is pinot noir--get an Oregon or a Russian River Valley pinot


Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

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Keep in mind as well that unless you have specifically checked with your host and agreed to bring wine to "go with the dinner", your hosts are under no obligation to open the wine you bring - that being justly perceived as a house gift and not necessarily to be served with the dinner in question.

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All good points. Cotes-du-Rhone and Pinot Noir often share billing as versatile wines with a variety of dishes. I'd also through in a cru Beaujolais from a producer like Brun or Michaud who isn't interested in how many truckloads they can ship.

Leaving France, a couple of Italian wines come to mind. Dolcetto is a terrific food partner, and the 2004s out now are very nice. And, if I was your host, I'd be tempted to open that Dolcetto no matter what I had planned on serving. Also, Barbera is another versatile food wine.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Thanks all for your advice! I ended up going with a Rhone-style blend from Paso Robles - 2002 Adelaida. I've never had it before but after some discussions with a lerk it fit the bill for what I was looking for.

I hope that people continue to post there ideas here, though. I think that this situation comes up often - where you need a wine that's somewhat of a "crowd pleaser" but would like some complexity to keep the wine lovers' attention.

I was also thinking Pinot Noir as well as Syrah but I liked the idea of a blend - seems a bit more interesting.

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:cool: I like the value and bang for the buck (all twenty of them)in an Australian Shiraz-Torbreck Woodcutters/Marquis Philips Shiraz or Sarah's Blend/Yalumba "Y" Series/Black Chook. These all drink extremely well and offer excellent quality for reasonable dollars.

I'm a big fan of the whole Marquis Phillips line, every annual release is like a Christmas Day. Best of Luck and Have Fun!!!!! :biggrin:

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I'll add my voice to the Cote-du-Rhone. I'm partial to the Mon Coeur from J.L. Chave selections. Jean-Louis started a second label in addition to the Domaine wines and it's quite nice and typically under $20.

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A wine I love and find very versatile is Van Durzer Pinot Noir - can't remember the vintage I've had for sure ('01?). Around $20-25.


"God give us good taste, why bother?" Captain Jim's Sushi Chef

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Thanks all for your advice! I ended up going with a Rhone-style blend from Paso Robles - 2002 Adelaida. I've never had it before but after some discussions with a lerk it fit the bill for what I was looking for.

I hope that people continue to post there ideas here, though. I think that this situation comes up often - where you need a wine that's somewhat of a "crowd pleaser" but would like some complexity to keep the wine lovers' attention.

I was also thinking Pinot Noir as well as Syrah but I liked the idea of a blend - seems a bit more interesting.

Was it opened.......and was it good ? :smile:

Also, if it was opened, what was your menu?

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Thanks all for your advice! I ended up going with a Rhone-style blend from Paso Robles - 2002 Adelaida. I've never had it before but after some discussions with a lerk it fit the bill for what I was looking for.

I hope that people continue to post there ideas here, though. I think that this situation comes up often - where you need a wine that's somewhat of a "crowd pleaser" but would like some complexity to keep the wine lovers' attention.

I was also thinking Pinot Noir as well as Syrah but I liked the idea of a blend - seems a bit more interesting.

Was it opened.......and was it good ? :smile:

Also, if it was opened, what was your menu?

No we never got the bottle I brought but that's ok. It was more of a small plates/tapas thing so it would've matched well with some of the things (I think! :laugh: ).

I would have liked to try it out but we started with cocktails & some switched to wine that was already on hand while I never made the switch. No matter though - it was a fun night. I guess I'll have to pick up a bottle for myself to try it out. :laugh:

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