What is the best season of the year: Summer!
What is the best thing we can do in summer: Party!
What is the best drink we can have in the party: Wine!
That is tough to argue with this logic! Summer is a solid reason for organizing a party, and to a wine lover it is inevitable to make it wine themed. I was invited to one of them last week, a “Magnum Party”. I had a great time. So, let me share some of the details of the party and in the end you will find some ideas and tips for your wine themed summer parties!
I was really glad when I received the invitation card which had a bottle of wine on it! In the label of the wine there was all the information I needed, time, place and the requirements: you should bring a bottle of magnum wine and a dish to share… and of course your party mood!
I bought a bottle of magnum from Mumm Napa, which is my favorite sparkling wine house in Napa. And I baked a Quiche Lorraine, which is easy to make and delicious. The sparkling wine was Brut Reserve, so I decided to pair it with Quiche Lorraine because the yeasty aromas of the traditional method sparkling go well with the dough and cream of the quiche.
When we arrived to the party home, just after we were welcomed, the host gave us a small neck label for our wine, on which we wrote the name of the dish that was paired with the wine. This was an important detail: Each time you grab a food, you know which wine should be poured in your glass, or the opposite!
Surprisingly, I had a wrong impression about magnum wine bottles; I was thinking that these big bottles are mostly filled with red wines. But most of the people did bring the magnum bottles of the white wines. Very good news since it is a really hot summer under the California sun, you really want to start your afternoon with fresh tastes, and pass to the red wines during the night when it gets cooler. My favorite pairing was Chenin Blanc from Chappellet paired with bruscetta of goat cheese, fig jam and walnuts. Worth to try!
There was a surprise for the people who brought sparkling wine. The host had a great set of swords and he was a professional of sabering the sparkling wine bottles. He actually knew all the tips for opening a sparkling wine bottle; he would open it even with a wine glass and he taught us the tricks for doing it. But this is a whole unique topic to talk about, let me cover it later in another article.
In the party, we had a blind tasting contest of two wines, one white and one red. There were tasting cards for everyone to write their guesses on the country, region, variety, vintage and the price of the bottle. It was a challenging contest; the white wine was a Chardonnay from Chablis, while the red wine was an Australian Shiraz. The winner won a “Tastevin” which is an old tasting-cup used by tasters and wine producer. The second person with the highest score also got a gift, a wooden-bodied wine opener.
As the night went darker, the crowd was gone and only 10 people stayed, we sat outside around the table and continue with the port wine, whisky and the star of the night Cachaça which is a distilled spirit made from sugar cane. The host bought this special bottle of cachaça 10 years ago from Brazil, and just opened it for sharing that moment with us. The nice atmosphere around, together with the delicious feeling of cachaça made this party even more unforgettable.
Oh, I guess you also get excited about the idea of giving a wine themed party before the summer ends!!! Here, you can find some tips from the eyes of a guest!
- Forget about the plastic cups for the wine! I know that there are also wine glass shaped plastic cups but it will not be the same. People will bring the wines that they love to share and serving them in plastic will be a kind of betrayal to the guests.
- Since you will provide crystal wine glasses, to avoid usage of unnecessary glasses you can use the decorative wine glass tags or charms. This way people can go around freely without fear of losing their wine glasses (Imagine you lose your glass with a good wine in it, such a nightmare!). I also love the wine glass writers, people can just their names on their glasses with them and after the party you can wash and completely clean them.
- Feel free to use creative wine decorations. The details are always important and appreciated. Some napkins with wine patterns, creative articles from wine corks, wine maps… Reveal your creativity!
- What about finding a concept to your party? To me, magnum party is one of the best concepts. But you can find many more; you can pick a varietal, a country or a type of wine. For example, sparkling wine party sounds amazing! But of course, the concept can strict your guests in their selection of wine, so make sure that you are choosing a concept that all the guests can enjoy!
- Blind tasting contest is a perfect idea! It will create an excitement and curiosity for the guests. Playing a wine themed game can be fun! There are a lot of commercial games, quizzes about wine etc. But you can also create your own game, it does not have to be information based. I have in my mind the game of throwing plastic rings to the neck of the wine bottles, and the person with the more ring on the neck would win the game and a bottle of wine of course! Again, reveal your creativity and create a fun wine themed game!
- For the end of the party, make sure that you have an extra guest bed prepared in any case. Since the wine consumption will be high, don’t let the guests driving. If it is not possible for them to go back home without driving, insisting them to spend the night in your guest room might be a good idea.
- In the end the main aim is to spend good time, whatever you do make sure that you and your guests are enjoying it!
Let me know about your ideas and experiences about summer wine themed parties! I hope everybody enjoys the summer sips with good companies!
All images © 2016 by Nedret Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.