What to sip while planning your party? It’s the question on every good host’s mind, right? OK, we realize that the more common question is “What to sip at your party” — in other words what to serve your guests– but we at The Thirsty Kitten love the road less traveled. We strive to answer the questions that aren’t typically addressed by others. And we say, “why not give just as careful consideration to what you serve yourself as you do for your guests?” To us, it is like setting the mood for the party before it even begins.
As luck would have it, Kip and I are in party planning mode as we write this post, so it is a very timely topic for us. We are selecting the wines for the Thirsty Kitten’s inaugural wine tasting party. (Don’t worry, we’ll cover it in exquisite detail in next week’s post.) So as Kip headed to the cellar, I said, “Please pick out something suitable for the occasion of planning a party.” He didn’t miss a beat and said, “Well, for starters, it will be Pinot Noir, that’s for sure.” (Yes, another Pinot Noir night here. But, be patient. Next week we will dive into deep dark Cabs, Chardonnays– oaked versus unoaked– and more!)
When Kip arrived with his selection, he kept it concealed from me. He told me that he had almost chosen a Goldeneye Pinot Noir, a very elegant Pinot made in the Anderson Valley. We recalled a fond memory of sitting on the winery’s gorgeous back patio on a summer day, sipping their many vineyard-specific Pinots together. Yet, he said, he’d made a last minute switch to something else. Hmmmm, I pondered. If he’d forgone the Goldeneye, he must have found something with even more sentimental value.
Keeping the bottle hidden, he poured for us both. Deep ruby color, wonderful aroma of raspberries with a hint of dried cranberries, as well. Smooth and consistent from start to finish of the sip. Classic pinot tartness on the tongue, with a little bing cherry and some lovely earth. So what was this mystery wine? A 2008 Truchard Vineyards Carnerors Pinot Noir. It paired very nicely with our wood-fired pizzas and our party planning.
What, you might wonder, made Truchard a good choice for this purpose? Well, it’s what the wine means to us. Truchard was the first winery we sought out to actually visit in person after having been very impressed when one of us ordered a glass of it in a restaurant. The visit turned out to be one of the highlights of that particular wine country trip.
It was our last stop en route to the airport and home later that day. When we arrived, we were greeted by a friendly goat in front of the winery barn. We looked around for signs of life, hoping we were in the right spot for our 10:00 a.m. appointment. There was only one person within eye sight, a man pushing a broom and tidying up near the entrance to the wine cave. He greeted us warmly and said someone would be down shortly to give us a tasting in the barn.
We later learned that the kind greeter was Truchard’s winemaker, Sal De Ianni. Yes, we are always won over by down-to-earth friendliness and a warm welcome. We discovered that Sal had trained in Australia. We were charmed by the fact that we felt we could taste lovely nuances of Australia in every wine we tried. We learned that Truchard make a huge variety of wines– impressive for such a small winery– and we found that literally every varietal is done well. We lingered and enjoyed the visit, the tasting and the kindness of the people as though we hadn’t a care in the world. And we signed up for their wine club right then and there.
So what’s the answer to the question of what to sip while planning a party? There is no wrong answer, of course. But we highly recommend choosing something that puts you in a great mood as you anticipate and plan for your event. After all, a happy host is a good host. Right?