The LA Times recently ran this article about Italian wines that I really liked. The author suggests a great way to throw a themed party, without too much effort, that should seriously impress your guests. The article starts out with this gem of truth and wisdom:
“The wines were too various” has become an epigram in my household, usually uttered, deadpan, when someone confesses to the possibility of having overindulged. But it’s strictly a witticism, because for wine lovers, the wines can never be too various. If there’s something interesting being opened, it doesn’t matter how many wines have preceded it; most wine lovers won’t hesitate to hold out their glass for a taste.
Amen! As much as we might pride ourselves on our will power and dedication to moderation, turning down that taste is damn near impossible for those of us who love the juice. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Anyway, then the article gets to the main point:
When an array of antipasto dishes is on the menu, I like to multiply the taste combinations exponentially by serving wines that are too various. It’s fun to offer half a dozen or so bottles that have intriguing, distinctive flavors, allowing guests to gauge the compatibility of different wines with different dishes and to debate the best and worst pairings.
As host, you can either procure the wines yourself or suggest that guests each bring a bottle, but for an evening of small plates, let’s agree on a few parameters to narrow the field. We’ll stick to Italy; after all, who knows better than the Italians which wines pair well with antipasti?
I think that this is a fantastic idea. As much as I love to cook, and to try and find the perfect wine to accompany the meal, sometimes all of the work can be so tiring that enjoying the party can be difficult. Other times, arranging some meats and cheeses on some platters and opening the wine bottles might be all the time you have. For whatever reason you choose, this sounds like a lot of fun to me.
The rest of the article goes on to make some very good suggestions for not only the food and the wine, but also how to serve it.