Columbia Winery is launching their new wine collection, and they’ve inspired us to pair classic varietals and recipes with a twist.
Chances are you’ve been to or hosted a party where a) the hors d'oeuvres retreat to the background with a whisper, or b) the wine doesn’t quite resonate with the food.
It’s a regular ritual as guests arrive -- bottles are produced from purses or tall, slender paper bags and end up scattering the counter in no proper order. Cabernet over here, Chardonnay under there, Merlot in the corner -- a little overwhelming when refilling your plate (or glass). If you're in the driver's seat on menu planning, take the guesswork out of everyone's trip to the snack table by making appetizers that pair easily with quintessential wine styles.
Our five-dish, foolproof spread offers pairings for the four different bottles of wine most likely to show up on your doorstep during a cocktail party: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Red Blends. It can be executed efficiently, serve several people, and complement wines that are often seen on any home bar:
Sweet blackberry and savory blue cheese go hand in hand with just about any medium-bodied red blend -- especially those that are redolent and earthy. You can prepare these dainty bites a few days before your gathering by freezing them as a log wrapped in plastic.
These pecans flavored with Herbes de Provence and lemon peel keep for several days, so if you're thinking ahead and want low-stress prep, they're the way to go. All you have to do is dump them in a fancy dish and they are ready to serve. Pour a glass of Chardonnay pre-party and enjoy them before they're swarmed by guests.
More: Looking for something heartier to go with a red? Try this cinnamon-spiked version instead.
Make duck confit (or buy it in a pinch) and red onion jam ahead of time -- all you'll need to do is assemble it atop crostini right before the party. Cabernet Sauvignon sidles up to this dish's rich texture and flavors quite nicely.
Toasted brioche with pear and brie has the right mix of texture and taste -- creamy and sweet with a little crunch -- for an accompanying glass of Chardonnay. Caramelize your pears ahead of time to make last-minute assembly easy as a slice of cheese.
More: Need to chill a few bottles in a jiffy? Try this quick technique.
Truffles are the ultimate make-the-night-before dessert. Pluck them from the refrigerator just before your party and they'll wow every person who walks through the door. And then give Merlot another try for the sake of chocolate, orange, and cherry -- together.
More: And don’t let those half-empty bottles go to waste -- here’s how to save your leftovers.
This post is brought to you by Columbia Winery.