What better way to be welcomed at a party than with an appetizer and a carefully paired glass of wine? The effort taken in choosing a bottle and a recipe will be repaid many times over by guests who feel the warmth of hospitality and thoughtfulness. Below, you’ll find a few ideas about wines and finger foods to kick your next party off to a great start.
Deviled Eggs – Prosecco
The term “deviled” may have originated in the eighteenth century in reference to spicy ingredients. Though classic American deviled eggs may not be especially picante, they often feature ingredients like mustard that pair beautifully with fruity, slightly sweet wines. Prosecco is a sparkling wine from Italy with a fruity bouquet of apple, pear, and citrus. Its slight sweetness will enhance the mild spice of the eggs, while the bubbles will provide a festive atmosphere to your gathering.
Nachos – Alsace Riesling
Nachos are as easy to make as they are to enjoy – especially when served with a bottle of wine and good company. Riesling from the Alsace region of France provides not only a little sweetness to complement spicy elements like jalapeño or salsa, but it also has a relatively broad mouthfeel that works well with cheese and other rich items, like chili.
Fried Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing – Chenin Blanc
Crispy chicken wings with blue cheese dressing are offset beautifully by wines made from a crisp white grape called “Chenin Blanc,” which features bright acidity often accompanied by a little sweetness. The best examples of Chenin Blanc are found in the Loire Valley of France and in South Africa.
Sausage Balls – Cava
A classic party food that never gets old, sausage balls rely on their irresistible savory flavor and comforting richness for their charm. Pork dishes are paired in many contexts with bright white wines. Why not add some sparkle to the experience with a sparkling wine like Cava, known as “Champagne of Spain?” Cava is normally made from a blend of grapes and boasts a crisp, dry palate with fruity flavors of orchard fruit and minerals.
Bruschetta with Tomato Sauce and Basil – Tuscan Red Blend
Bruschetta – pronounced “broos-KETT-uh” – with toasted bread, tomato, basil, and mozzarella evokes a margherita pizza but involves even less work. Pair this Italian classic with a red blend from Tuscany. There are numerous examples, ranging from the extremely expensive to the everyday. Many are given the title “Super Tuscan” referring to at twentieth century style of Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blended with Italian varieties like Sangiovese. These wines are normally full-bodied and dry, with dense tannins and dark color, but they are influenced by New World winemaking and will appeal to those who like California Cabernet.
Pigs in a Blanket – Barbera D’Asti
This simple appetizer never seems to lose its appeal and can be elevated beyond expectations by a pairing with the northern Italian wine Barbera D’Asti. Barbera is the name of the grape and Asti is the town it comes from. Barbera is a dry, medium-bodied red wine with plenty of tartness and fruit flavor that I often mistake for Cabernet Sauvignon in blind tastings. Its tannin will smooth out the fattiness of the dish while adding depth to the overall experience.
There are endless wines and foods with which to entertain your party guests. Let us know which combination you find most interesting and which your friends like the best. A good bottle of wine or a good finger food make for a great welcome, but both of them together can provide a truly hospitable setting that your guests will remember and appreciate.