On a Budget: Wine with Your Dinner Party?

Well its safe to say that few of us are made out of money. Does that mean that we should cut ourselves off from having dinner parties? Of course not! This past Sunday I had a dinner party to celebrate my nephew’s christening. This was NOT a kids party. We had three kids and sixteen adults. Its traditional to have a dinner or some sort of party after a child is baptized but its never a party were there are clowns or balloons. I co-hosted the dinner party at a local Cuban restaurant. The price per person was great. This restaurant is a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer). Which doesn’t have to be beer but its sounds nicer then saying Bring Your Own Booze! Anyway…we had  great pre-ordered selection. It was fun when it came down to picking good wines to pair with the food. However I don’t have Donald Trump’s bank account so I had to do this on a budget.

I picked one of my favorite white wines to start off the dinner. As you may know I do love Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Riesling. I was lucky to find it on sale at Target for $5.99. I,of course bought several bottles. At those prices who wouldn’t! This fruity wine went with the salty fried plantains and the Cuban dumplings filled with tender chicken and guava fruit, and ground beef. The fruit/tart intensity of the wine with the dumpling dipping sauce brought the appetizer portion together .  I wanted to avoid a fulled bodied wine that would take away from the light starters. And the Riesling went well with the salad for any guest who wanted to stick to non fried food or their diet.

No worries I did not forget my red wine drinkers in all of this Cuban food madness. I saved the red wine for our main course. As Dana has explained in her Go to Wine  post she loves Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel. I needed a good red, it was 9.99, to bring the taste and feel of the meal. The food I pre-ordered for the dinner party were traditional Cuban dishes. One is called Ropa Vieja (literal meaning is Old Clothes), but its really a tender shredded beef stew dish with potatoes and its tomato based. With a hint of salt and just a slight heat. With the light fruity and long finish of the Gnarly Head its was a great combination and the flavors complimented each other. The other dish we had was a chicken dish. The cut  up chicken is cooked in a tomato chicken stock broth with potatoes. Again the flavors of the light chicken dish played off to the French and American Oak with the hint of spice. Depending on what dish you consumed it changed the flavor of the wine to compliment your meal.

My entire wine purchase was $65.00 and I have to admit I did have one bottle of each wine left over. (4 bottles each). You don’t have to go to a restaurant with BYOB of course but you can make a great meal at home and invite your friends.

If you don’t like a Riesling and its too sweet for your taste try a Viognier and if you aren’t big on Zinfandel and like something a little lighter for a red try a nice Pinot Noir.

At the end of the day its really about you enjoying a great meal with friends and family but it doesn’t mean you have to spend your life savings to create an amazing atmosphere.

Drink up!


Posted on May 4, 2011, in Budget, did you know, Food Pairing, Helpful tips, Party Ideas, Recommendations, Riesling, Uncategorized, Zinfandel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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