Hosting a wine-inspired dinner party in the comfort of home is a great way to spend time with friends and family. Stacey-Jo (aka SJ) Strombecky and her lovely family hosted a seamless dinner for eight last weekend. Here are her tips for a wonderful evening of food and wine with family and friends.
SJ started working in the restaurant industry in her early twenties before becoming a top sommelier in Alberta — she held the esteemed position of cellar-master at the five-star Eden restaurant in Banff’s Rimrock Resort Hotel. She currently represents two wine portfolios: Renaissance and Clarus.
“The key for a successful party is to start planning early, make lists and keep it simple,” says SJ. “It doesn’t have to be an elaborate multi-course dinner, it could just as easily be tacos and some house-made margaritas. It’s not all about you, find things that your guests will find interesting and do something unique. Have a little something for everyone.”
Consider your guest’s interests — if they hunt, pair game with a full-bodied red wine, or for a vegan you might prepare roasted seasonal root vegetables such as squash and mushrooms from Mona Foods, paired with vegan-friendly wine. Check ahead for any dietary considerations, food sensitivities and allergies so you can make accommodations.
How much wine and which wines to choose? For sparkling wine, a good ballpark is to have one bottle for every five guests and half-a-bottle per guest for the dinner wines, with two-thirds red wine for winter meals.
Choose white and red wines that are crowd-pleasers, wines with acidity and the flexibility to pair with a variety of dishes. Choose bright and aromatic whites such as Gruner Veltliner, Riesling, Gavi, Soave, and unoaked Chardonnay. Choose dry rosés and interesting red wines with freshness and lower residual sugar levels from grapes such as Pinot Noir, Frappato, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo.
“Start with bubbly,” says SJ. It’s easy to go to a good wine boutique and ask for a recommendation. If Champagne isn’t in the budget, a great organically grown Cava or Cremant would be perfect. You can also repurpose the bubbly as a great base for a sparkling cocktail by simply adding a little liqueur, such as St-Germain (elderflower) or a cassis (blackcurrant).
Which stemware to use? A dinner for wine geeks might involve setting out several glasses specifically chosen for the wine paired to each dish with a multi-course menu. But, “for most …
Source:: Edmonton Journal – Lifestyle