Art opening wine
I'm having an art opening the first of March, and am thinking of getting 2 cases each of a red and white. Of couse I want to cover all the bases of tasty, crowd-pleasing, and as cheap as still meets the first two requirements.
We'll be having a baked brie with brandied cherries, and I suppose there will be some chevre-pesto involvement, maybe some smoked turkey, and on the sweet end of things, some sort of pecan things and chocolate.
My first thought is a Chardonnay, then I go blank. We've mostly been drinking Chianti lately, but I really don't know what other people like.
Suggestions? (gee those big cardboard boxes are tempting but don't worry, I won't do it)
Get away from the Chard and do something like Pineridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier Blend. At $11, it is widely available, food friendly, and tastes like it should be $20 +. For the red, I think Columbia Crest makes a really good Shiraz for $7 that is also widely available. Good luck !
I'd definately head towards the shiraz/viognier combo as opposed to cabernet/chard. Inexpensive cabs can be a bit rough around the edges, which can be off-putting in a cocktail context. You'd want some nice fatty foods to counter-act the tannins there. The shiraz, on the other hand, has more natural sweetness and a gentle spice, which should pair better with the sweet and smoky elements of the food you mentioned. There are often specials on good aussie shiraz that a good merchant should be able to point out to you (make sure she's tried it first!).
The viognier will also have a bit more sweetness that will pair well with the foods above. If you can find the chenin/viognier blend, i'd say go for it. Chenin will have a nice acidity and sweetness to really stand out as a cocktail wine, and will be tasty with some fruit as well.
Trader Joes might have good deals on both, but just be sure to buy a bottle first to try them before plunking down for the whole case.
Little Penguin is an Australian winemaker -- why do the Aussies like to put little animals on their labels?
Anyway, I think their line of wines is perfect for this type of event. They are nice, pleasant wines at really reasonable prices.
I recommend the Merlot for a red (a little more approachable than the Cab), which is around $5.99 for a 750ml bottle, and they also make it in 1.5L bottles for around $9.99.
They make a Chardonnay for the white. Similar prices.