Our friends were really surprised by the work that went into the party. I guess compared to the parties we typically host, it was quite stunning. Kevin and I were so excited to entertain our friends with this special meal. Everyone, even those who do not usually drink wine, had a great time.
Highlights/lessons from the party:
- Dividing wine from one bottle into 12 equal servings was quite challenging. We tested 2 spouts that were supposed to measure wine, but we still were not able to get an equal amount of wine into each glass. The pouring became worse as the night wore on. But with one whole bottle per person plus dessert wine, everyone had enough to drink.
- Kevin and I had the cooking timed to the minute with a schedule written on our kitchen white board. The schedule showed how much time we had between courses for baking and plating. We also had to factor in time to wash dishes between courses. Everything went pretty smoothly until we hit course 3, or shall we say until the wine hit us. In retrospect, I think I should have skipped tasting all of the wines. By the dessert course, Kevin had to force me back into the kitchen. Fortunately, our friends really pitched in when we got busy in the kitchen.
- The food was a huge success (the duck confit was by far the favorite of the night with the gnocchi coming in second). However, next time I would definitely prepare a normal dinner instead of trying to prepare so many little dishes.
- Refilling water glasses proved time consuming. We are really thankful to our friends who helped us out. Also, we underestimated the need to rinse wine glass between tastings. Everyone really wanted to do that, so we had to drag out a large bowl for dumping wine. Next time I would definitely prepare a decorative bowl for pouring out wine that isn’t pleasing.
- The dessert course did not pair as well as we had hoped. The wines were so sweet, which just made the desserts sweeter. It was a bit much to end the night although some people really liked the wine. I personally loved the muscat; Kevin really liked the port.
- With so much wine, some of the wines in the later courses weren’t appreciated as much as the earlier ones. Next time, I would probably ask each couple to bring a bottle versus each person. For example, Kevin’s wine was tasted in the second course and everyone really loved its bold flavor and earthy bouquet. However, my wine showed up as the last bottle, and I can’t remember its taste at all.
- Even after all of that wine, our friends still wanted to drink. It’s a good thing we bought a few extra bottles!
Our friend Emily won the secret ballot vote for best wine. The wine was Cono Sur, Central Valley, 2009 Pinot Noir (Chile). It sells for less than $15 a bottle. That just goes to show you that wine doesn’t have to be expensive to taste great!
Our friends also want to make the wine party a regular thing. It was a lot of work with a great pay off. Still, our friends are crazy if they think I’m hosting this more than once a year. So, the tentative plan is to a quarterly wine dinner that rotates among the couples. I’ll keep you posted if that happens.