WASHINGTON – One of the benefits of writing a wine column is that my friends are always inviting my spouse, Cindy, and me to parties. Now, I am not in any way suggesting that the only reason they are asking us to join their reindeer games is solely based on my ability to bring a suitcase of wine to the celebration, but, to date, no one has yet to decline the offer when I have made the obvious suggestion.
I recently met one of my more interesting challenges when a neighborhood friend invited us over for a post-holiday party. When Antonio extended the invitation, he did so without any preconceived notion that I would bring anything in tow other than my wife. However, I insisted that I contribute the obvious element, so naturally I inquired what was on the menu. Since Antonio and his lovely wife are from Venezuela, the scrumptious buffet included some delectable but difficult pairing challenges from the South America.
In the interest of journalistic research (and my own edification), I decided to jump in and see if I could come up with a few interesting wine choices to satisfy both the diverse assortment of food on the table and the varied palates of the friends on the guest list.
The well-drained vineyards located on the steep slopes of the hills overlooking the Adriatic Sea, near Valdobbiadene, are where the Prosecco grapes develop their crisp acidity and bright flavors. The Non-Vintage Aneri Brut Prosecco from Veneto, Italy, is a perfect foil for the citrus based ceviche that started the evening. It has bright floral scents of peach and nectarine on the bouquet and the flavors of ripe peach, green apple and tangy citrus are delivered across the palate by effervescent bubbles. The zesty bubbles keep the finish bright, clean and refreshing and are a nice counterbalance to the rich texture of the fish. $20
Trying to find a wine to pair with the asparagus and cheese tart was a fairly tall order because tannins from oak can over-accentuate the grassy characteristics in the asparagus, but the 2010 Lucien Albrecht Gew