Wine for 500 (or how to please everyone without resorting to the lowest common denominator)

Saturday was a big night: a celebration with 500 of my organization’s nearest and dearest donors, volunteers, and friends. I had been mulling over the wine selection for weeks, tasting various options with colleagues and on my own, writing about the results, and even getting suggestions from you, our readers. In the end, the selection for the bar during the reception and for the dinner ended up being a sampling of some of my favorite wines of the past year or so that met two qualifications. First, they were within my price range of $16 or less after any discounts. And second, I thought that they would be well-received, in other words, interesting and delicious, but not overly challenging for people who thought they would be able to get a simple choice between a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and an Australian Shiraz.

In the back of my mind, I know that it’s impossible to please everyone – though I did give it my best shot. So, for those of you who asked, here were my choices. And if you read this space often enough, you may even recognize some of them from recent reviews.

Served during dinner
2009 J. Hofstätter Meczan Pinot Nero (Alto Adige, Italy)
2009 St. Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio Anger Vineyard (Alto Adige, Italy)

On the bar
2010 L’Ecole No. 41 Sémillon (Walla Walla, Washington)
2009 Josef Leitz “Eins, Zwei, Dry” Riesling (Rheingau, Germany)
2009 Amalaya red blend (Salta, Argentina)
2008 Brancaia Tre (Tuscany, Italy)

Though my obsession with Alto Adige was well-served, it was unintended. My first choice for the dinner red was the August Kesseler Spätburgunder Pinot N (Rheinhessen, Germany), but unfortunately just days before the event, the distributor discovered that they did not have it in stock. In the end, it was a wonderful evening to which, I hope, the wine was a wonderful complement. And in an ideal world, some guests were introduced to a new wine or region that they will explore again.

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Katrin is one of the co-founders of Wine Dine With Us. She enjoys sharing her love of wine on the blog, and is particularly fond of wines from Argentine, Alto Adige, and Germany. A lifelong environmentalist, Katrin has become increasingly interested in issues of sustainability in wine and food, local food production, biodynamics, and organic agriculture. When not drinking wine and writing about it, she is a nonprofit professional, specializing in fundraising and special events.

One Response to “Wine for 500 (or how to please everyone without resorting to the lowest common denominator)”

  1. February 3, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    Thanks so much for including Hofstatter’s Pinot Nero at your event! Certainly a great choice, and when value is a priority, there are few Pinots that can compete. 

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