What white wine would be good with a variety of apps?
Being a red wine imbiber myself, I'm at a bit of a loss here...I need a white that will work with a variety of appetizers. Having a party in April for 16 ...What would y'all suggest?
Personally, I usually find that second glass of white tastes sour...espec. Chardonnay. I do like some Gewurtzstraminers and a particular Semillon, but that's about it. Anyway, I won't be drinking the white...I just want my guests to enjoy their beverages.
Under $10 would be desirable.
Wow! Knock me over with a feather! I am so impressed with ALL of the contributions here...especially Chicago Mike and Maria Lorraine. Thank you so much for your input. This is a definite learning experience for me in regards to the upcoming party and future social ventures that I will undertake. I will try to let you know what I decide on and what worked and what didn't.
Since several of you have promoted the idea of a Sparkler...and I do enjoy them...What do you suggest? Please feel free to comment on different price ranges. Thank you again for imparting your wisdom.
Here is the appetizer menu for 16 people. I am still tweaking and might drop (or add) one or two items. The party should last 3-6 hours.
Cous-Cous w/ roasted veggies, mesclun and goat cheese
Grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil skewers
Crudites w/ curry & ? dip
Manchego & Ham
Chicken Satay & peanut sauce
Hot crab dip or shrimp dip
Black bean layered dip w/ blue corn chips
Wonton tarts OR goat cheese cheesecakes
Ginger citrus tarts
Mini shortcakes or Mini-Pavlovas w/ whipped cream and fruit
Choc Mousse in choc cups OR Brownies (for the choc fans)
Kolaches (rasp & apricot)
Beaujolais for red wine and Chateau Ste. Michelle Gewurz & Riesling/ Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, Pine Ridge Chenin-Viognier, Rose
Maybe a Mango Margarita or Dacquiri
That's about it... Thanks for all your help!
As for your likely best white wine matches with the above:
Cous-Cous: Definitely Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc (SB)
Grape tomatoes: SB comes closest
Crudites w/ curry & ? dip: Gewurztraminer & Riesling
Manchego & Ham: A red is probably going to be best here.
Chicken Satay & peanut sauce: Riesling, Gewurztraminer
Sausage rolls: Riesling & Gewurztramier are generally good here
Hot crab dip or shrimp dip: Chardonnay, if the "base" is creamy/smoky/garlicky, Riesling if more spicy & chili-hot
Black bean layered dip w/ blue corn chips: SB probably best, reds also work
One glaring omission is that there's really nothing to match your dessert items below:
Wonton tarts OR goat cheese cheesecakes: Sauternes, Vouvray
Ginger citrus tarts: Muscats or Sauternes
Mini shortcakes or Mini-Pavlovas w/ whipped cream and fruit: Sauternes, Late-Harvest Riesling
Choc Mousse in choc cups OR Brownies (for the choc fans): Muscats
Kolaches (rasp & apricot): Vouvray, Sauternes
Also, there's no bubbly... what's a party without bubbly ?? Fortunately Moscato d'Asti is reasonably friendly to alot of your dessert choices there SO....
Just a suggestion: Lose the Beaujolais, Rose, and Chenin-Viognier and replace them with a Sauternes and Muscat de Beaume de Venise to really match your desserts, and a Moscato d'Asti as a friendly inexpensive bubbly you can have throughout this meal, from start to dessert!
re: Chicago Mike
Thanks for your suggestions Chicago Mike. I will have a majority of red drinkers at the " do", so what would you suggest in the way of a red? I thought the Beaujolais would be a good all-around red for the evening. Perhaps I need another visit to Sam's Wine & Spirits?
I had originally thought of a dessert wine and then lost the thought somewhere along the way. I believe I have a few bottles of Michele Chiarlo Moscato "Nievole" around. It has a bit of "fizz" to it and is rather nice. I also have some Eiswein but would rather save that for a special occasion and a smaller dinner party. Looks like I have a lot of work to do! I love making nice food for people and I would love the wine to be good as well.
As for the red... well, I'm focusing more on the ham and manchego and black bean offerings.... and IMO that calls for a sturdier red than Beaujolais... tempranillo would be my first choice here... see if you can't locate a 94, 95, or '01 nice bottle of rioja or ribera from Sams... if not, see if they have a 96 ribera.... 2nd choice would probably be straight cabernet... doesn't have to be an elaborate wine as we're focusing on the wine and food MATCH, not the wine by itself. 3rd choice would be a straightforward zinfandel...
I think the Nievole would be great for sparkling Moscato, so you have that covered.... that just leaves a really impressive dessert wine you need.... how about a young sauternes ??? 2001, 2002 are perfect for this occasion.... Follow it up with whatever they recommend in a Muscat de Beaume de Venise for the chocolate dish... you can serve the dessert wines in those little mini-tulip glasses so one bottle will go a long ways....
The way to keep your guests drooling is to put the Sauternes on display... so they know that the closer to dessert they get, the closer to "that wine" they get... by the time dessert rolls around they will be sauced and your middle-shelf Sauternes (from a good year of course) will blow them away :)
Along with the beaujolais, lose the chenin-viognier and rose, they don't add anything here....
re: Chicago Mike
Mike, from your frequent posts on this board, I know you have zeal for food and wine pairing and I know you enjoy making suggestions.
But gosh, in this thread, I think you’re off base.
I think you've done Twodales a disserve.
[Twodales, for the sake of writing here, I’m going to assume you’re a “she”. If not, apologies!]
Look at Twodales’ appetizers. They're casual. Unpretentious. The wine pairings should be also. A simple recommendation of a flavorful red and white wine (perhaps two of each) that would complement most of Twodales’ apps would have been fine.
Instead you offered suggestions that were overwrought, more appropriately found at a multi-course wine-pairing dinner than at an appetizers grazing party.
That kind of party -- with many platters on the table and a few wines to which guests help themselves – isn’t conducive to dialed-in pairings anyway: the event is too free-form for that. No one is going to consider – and if they do it’s only in jest – what wine goes best with Twodales’ crudités or sausage rolls.
And the chances that the "94, 95, or '01 nice bottle of rioja or ribera" you recommended will actually being consumed as a pairing only with the two apps you designated? Negligible. Twodales had the red wines covered, she said.
Twodales also stated she had dicated some budget considerations -- please be sensitive to those.
Meaning, please don’t tell someone to “lose” the case of Beaujolais (which she’s already purchased) and spend the money instead (huh?) on Sauternes and Muscat de Beaume de Venise.
Please refrain, as well, from saying to a hostess who's throwing a casual apps party and is on a budget that the wines she’s already purchased "don't add anything here" and that instead she should purchase the ones you recommend. That’s not being respectful.
Twodales mentions she has several bottles of Michele Chiarlo Moscato "Nievole" she is planning on serving with dessert. You tell to serve the Nievole instead through the meal, along with the other wines, and then to buy the bottle of Muscat de Beaume de Venise mentioned above to pair with a single chocolate mini-dessert and to purchase the Sauternes for the other mini-desserts.
Mike, I bet you might be surprised by some of the matches between Twodales dishes and the wines she had already purchased, the ones you told her to “lose,” because they “don’t add anything here.”
That case of Beaujolais she bought and you told her to “lose”? I’m thinking Twodales’ roasted veggies and goat cheese with the cous-cous appetizer might be pretty good with it. The grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil skewers might be pretty good, too. Come to think of it, both those apps will probably work very well with the Rose also, another wine you told her “won’t add anything here.”
And that Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier she already has and that you told her not to use? I bet it might be tasty with the hot crab dip, the mozzarella and basil, and the spices in the cous-cous.
I’m not trying to be rough on you here, Mike, but it sounds like you dialed-in the wine pairings, but didn’t dial-in the nature of the event, or pay special attention to Twodales’ budget or even consider how well Twodales’ existing wines would work with her apps and desserts. The pairings were more about you than about Twodales’ needs. With your resources, you can really capable of much more.
To Twodales: The wines you have on hand will work just fine at your appetizer grazing party. Enjoy cooking, enjoy your guests, and be sure to try some of the foods and wines together to see what you like.
re: maria lorraine
Well keep in mind that these posts are actually for the benefit of a wider audience than just the initial poster.
Any suggestions made on here can be used by FUTURE HOSTS of FUTURE DINNERS... they are also for general discussion of the topic.
And so... I still stand with my thoughts that a richer red better matches the two "red-oriented" apps on here...
I do agree with you that Viognier particularly may be a decent match for the Crab dip, but that's the only match where it really stands out, IMO for this wine... And chenin blanc in general isn't a wine I look to for "cream" based dips although it can be nice with straight shellfish... Why have a wine that only matches one app particularly well, when a wine that already matches other items on your list will cover it ??
As for budget considerations, a young Sauternes is not particularly expensive, and you can find reasonably-priced Riberas and Riojas... In fact you raise an interesting point about "expense".... Because we are talking about FOOD AND WINE MATCHES and not the wine by itself, you can serve a rather "middle grade" wine and have a delicious match with the food.
I agree that the event sounds lovely and I'm sure everyone will have fun and enjoy their food and drink.... I just always look to "maximize" things. If there's a suggested food or wine item that can be eliminated or switched, IIMO, I say so...
Also I didn't realize these wines were already purchased, is that mentioned anywhere in twodales posts ??? I've re-read them and I don't see that mentioned anywhere here, sorry..... it just says "heres the menu"... so I assumed a menu could be tweaked....
re: Chicago Mike
Thanks for responding. I think we approach pairing differently, and there is, of course, no one way to pair. I pair by flavor, mainly. I pair by region, by intensity, by commonality, by contrast, by patterns I’ve learned that work, by what I have experienced personally during my food and wine travels.
[rolling sleeves up]
Let’s say a general goal here to help Twodales would be to pick fruity, lively wines, one red and one white, that will each go with as many of the appetizers as possible. Let’s say to do that we’ll respect Twodales budget and won’t buy any wines for more than $10 (with a slight nudge up for white wines) as she writes in her post. Since she’s on a budget, and she indicates she'd like to use wines from her cellar, let’s try to do that. Let’s read what ideas she already has. Let’s hear her when says the red wines are covered. Let’s listen to her good idea about pouring the Michele Chiarlo Moscato "Nievole" she has in her cellar for dessert. Let’s pore over her menu. Let’s even pretend, for our purposes here, that Twodales is a client of ours, maybe a customer.
So, given those parameters, do you see why your recs for Sauternes, Muscat de Beaume de Venise, and 94, 95, or '01 rioja or ribera doesn't work? How it's kind of awkward for you to suggest to get a "really impressive dessert wine"? And how it's uncouth to tell Twodales to lose her Beaujolais (already purchased), Rose and Chenin Blanc-Viognier when they actually work pretty well here? Especially when you consider it's a milling about casual appetizers party?
I’ll share with you my thinking about I how I’d go about this, knowing everybody does this differently. I'm not the be-all and end-all genius at this, but I have a pretty good record of making folks' eyes roll back into the heads with pleasure.
First, let’s review the pairing possibilities. Twodales had mentioned Beaujolais, Rose, Chenin Blanc-Viognier, unoaked Chardonnay and Riesling/Gewurtz. She has her dessert wine. She has all her red wines.
Let’s start with Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier, about 86% ChB and 15% V.
You say..."And chenin blanc in general isn't a wine I look to for "cream" based [crab]dips although it can be nice with straight shellfish..."
You see, I take a different approach. I don’t pair a dish because it’s cream-based.
I like to look at everything that’s going on in the dish. Here’s the way it shakes out
The Crab Dip will work with the Chenin Blanc-Viognier is because
-- nice white and a lovely match for delicate crab meat.
--wine’s light green notes (think celery, leek, green olive) that match up perfectly with celery and mince of red onion in the crab dip,
-- the wine’s citrusy lime notes may act something like a squeeze of lemon or lime on seafood.
-- Any slight hint of heat from either the red onion, dash of cayenne or mustard (often added to crab dip), will match the spiciness of the Viognier.
Notice I haven’t begun to talk about cream yet. But since I have…
-- The acidity will cut through the cream.
So, right there, in one appetizer and one wine, there are FIVE flavor pairings.
Of course, the Rose will work perfectly here also. It’s classic, Rose with seafood/shellfish, found on every restaurant patio along the coasts of Spain and France in the summer. The Riesling/Gewurtz might pick up on the sweetness of the crab. The unoaked Chard will also be fine, though I can’t think of any instance with these 8 apps that the Chard would work better than the ChB-V or the Riesling-Gewurtz.. The Beaujolais may be too much.
Continuing with the Chenin Blanc-Viognier, lest you think I’d recommend a wine that would only go with one appetizer out of eight.
The 2nd app: roasted veggies, goat cheese and mesclun with cous cous:
--The ChB-V works with the roasted veggies, too, providing a compatible delicate greenness and
--lime acidity (squeezing citrus on roasted veggies to brighten them, get it?)
--The greenness of the wine is a natural with the mesclun.
--It will work well the goat cheese, just like a Sauv. Blanc would.
-- The Viognier spiciness beautifully handles the Cous Cous component, in fact think how cous cous is traditionally prepared in Morocco.
But, of course, the rockin’ combo here is the Beaujolais, wonderful with goat cheese and roasted vegetables. Both items are part of Burgundy’s cuisine. We know this works. And yes, the Rose will be refreshing and lively here, and its fruit flavors, like that found in the Beaujolais, will enhance the flavor of the vegetables. A heavy red might be too heavy, though this is the only instance among the apps that a heavy red might work at all. Beaujolais is the ticket here.
Moving on, The mozzarella and basil in the skewer are going to melt into the delicate greenness of the ChB-V. The tomatoes will do fine also. But this is an Italian dish, and the tomatoes make me think of how well the light Italian reds work with them, something like a Dolcetto. The Beaujolais is similar in weight and fruitiness. And remember, our hostess has the Beaujolais, a case of it, already purchased. Ah, but this dish is also drunk with Italian Rosato or Ceresuolo. That means Rose will work, also. OK, with me?
On to the crudités…
The vegetable crudités will love the delicate greenness of the Chenin Blanc.
The curry (spiciness) will pair up the spiciness and aromatics of Viognier. But the best pairing here will probably be the curry sidling up to the Riesling/Gewurtz.
The dip here is unknown. If it’s cream, we know from the crab dip above
that the acidity in the wine will work well with the ChB-V. If the dip has some fresh herbs in it, well, the Chenin Blanc can surely handle that. The Rose will also work,
but's it's the curry Gewurtz/Riesling combo that tips it here. Have to try all.
The ham and manchego? Ham in springtime always means Rose, especially in Spain and Italy. The manchego is slightly more intense in flavor, and the Beaujolais will act as a slightly heavier red, though one with a lighter weight. I don’t know about the whites working well here, but I’d sure give the ChB-V a shot since some cheeses like this work better with a white, rather than red, wine anyway. I’ll just have to try.
Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce
This is one of my favorite dishes, and once I experienced Charles Pham of the Slanted Door [Vietnamese] restaurant in San Francisco pairing it with 8 Rieslings from the German Wine Board.They ranged from dry to the sticky sticky. Hands down the winner was the sticky dessert Riesling (I was floored) though the off-dry Rieslings worked almost as well. The spicy-sweet interchange is something, a contrast pairing. So the winner here is the Riesling/Gewurtz.. But when you’re think about what else is in Satay sauce -- lots and lots of lime and coriander – the ChB-V might work here as well, because of the Chenin Blanc's own citrusy lime and the similar spiciness in the Viognier. In terms of the peanut butter, acidity will be important to clear the fat. Also, roundness in flavor, even a caramelized sugar quality. That's another nod for Riesling/Gewurtz. The chicken is essentially neutral here.
Sausage Rolls –
Depends on how heavily spiced they are and what their component meats are. I’m thinking acidity to cut the fat, and a lively redness to take on the paprika, garlic and spices. I’m coming around to Beaujolais again, though I think the Rose would work very well. Think Paella with sausage. Works well with a lively white and also a lighter
red. A Zin-like red is too heavy. The bread makes a difference here too -- you can't just pair to the sausage because there's not a lot of it. Rose, Beaujolais.
The Black Bean Dip
Depends on what else is in it. It’s layered, remember, with guacamole, salsa, refried beans, sour cream, cheese etc. How spicy is it? The best wine with fresh Mexican food – guac, salsa, etc – is Rose, hands down. The black bean flavor is darker and deeper than some of the other flavors, and that sort of says red wine but the other layers also diminish that darker flavor, so you only tiptoe towards a red wine. The Beaujolais fits the bill again. A big Zin would create too much heat with the salsa and be too much. Might work if spicy black beans were the only component, but that's not the case with the other layers. The salsa, cilantro and avocado would pair perfectly with the lime citrusy notes of the Chenin Blanc, and the Viognier can pair with the dish’s spiciness. The ChB-V provides lively acidity too to cut through the sour cream and cheese, too. But that little bit of sweetness in the off-dry Riesling would do it's magic (a little sweet to offset the spice). For this appetizer, four wines work well: Rose, Beaujolais and Chenin Blanc-Viognier, Riesling.
OK, looking over all of this, the same four wines just above pair most often with all the eight appetizers as well. That’s 2 whites, one pink, one light red, and the possible addition of a red from Twodales wine cellar.
"IIf there's a suggested food or wine item that can be eliminated or switched, IIMO, I say so... it just says "heres the menu"... so I assumed a menu could be tweaked...."
Twodales has listed her menu here. You’re not honesty saying that she should tweak the menu she's listed here to match your wine suggestions, are you? Um, you tweak your suggestion to match her menu using her ground rules for wine.
"And so... I still stand with my thoughts that a richer red better matches the two "red-oriented" apps [cous cous and black bean dip] on here..."
Don’t agree with you on the Black Bean dip (see above) but agree it might work with the roasted veggies and goat cheese. But a heavier red wine doesn’t go with the six other apps and again, the Beaujolais is what Twodales, our hostess, already has waiting on hand, a whole case of it. I’m trying to work with the whole of her situation.
And honestly, Twodales has it going on! After reviewing her appetizers and their ingredients, Twodales picked the best four wine options for this type of milling-about casual appetizers party: Rose, Beaujolais, Chenin Blanc-Viognier and Riesling.
She said she might throw in a couple of heavier reds from her cellar. She likes her Moscato "Nievole", for dessert. Nothing fancier is required. Now that I've written this novel, I hope Twodales relaxes when she sees it and has a whale of a good time at her own party.
re: maria lorraine
re: maria lorraine
Thanks for all the descriptions...
My pairings are based on actual tasting experiences. I've found that food & wine pairings often SOUND lovely when described, only to find they are mediocre to awful in the "real world".
Again, I just base my recommendations on actual tasting notes.... and if I haven't had a particular combination, I'll mention that.
Sounds great - are you sure there's not room for 17 people?
I think the wines you have selected will appeal to a broad group, and there is certainly enough variety to allow people to try something new or stick within their own comfort zone.
For a party of 3 to 6 hours for 16 people, I would usually assume 8 to 10 total bottles of wine would cover, although I would always have some extra on hand. I note that you plan to offer beer and maybe cocktails also, so this is probably a safe estimate. I am not sure what time of day the party is planned, but you may want to offer up regular and/or decaf coffee with the sweets. Also, it is always a good thought to have non-alcoholic alternatives if there are any designated drivers in the crowd. Curiously, ordinary bottled water tends to be the favorite when we do this.
Report back after the party and let us know how it all worked out.
OK, it's going to sound like a broken record, as this was also my response to the thread, just above this one. If I have to cover a lot of bases with a white, I always reach for the Conundrum from Caymus.
I, like you, find that many Chards fall apart with the second glass. I find that the wine develops an "edge," in opposition to your description of "sour." We've canned a few of these, over the years, as our "house white," because of the exact problem. I find that the Conundrum holds up to the last drop. It also handles a ton of different mains, plus sauces and spices.
Do not serve it too cold, and I always go for a Bdx. stem, to capture the nose on the Viognier and the Muscat.
It's about US$20 in the PHX-Area, so it's in the mid-range. Also, I did prefer the blend some years earlier, as the floral aspects were more pronounced. Reminded me of a Spring night, in the Deep South.
The obvious question is... what are the appetizers ??
If they tend to be creamy, garlicky, smoky, fishy perhaps... then chardonnay would probably be good...
If they are spicy, peppery, etc. then riesling or gewurztraminer would probably be very interesting....
If they are "vegetal" then sauvignon blanc might be best...
But we're guessing here... you really need to name the appetizers you have in mind. I would say that in general, riesling is extremely versatile and friendly with a very wide range of foods, so if I had to pick one white wine blind, that would probably be it.
Argentinian Torrontes is a wildly aromatic dry white that many people enjoy. Etchart's is ubiquitous.
Similar aromatically, dry Muscat (either alone or in a blend) from southern France. Chapoutier's Cigala (Muscat and Macabou) is a fine example -- or maybe was (I've not seen it around in a while and it's not listed on Chapoutier's website).
Spanish Rueda reminds many people of Sauvignon Blanc. www.chowhound.com/topics/308513
Hungarian Furmint is dry but has an appealing honeyed quality. The 2005 Pajzos is just dandy.
Don't rule out bubbly. Some decent Spanish cavas and southern French sparklers (Blanquette de Limoux, Clairette de Die, etc.) are quite affordable, though they may slightly exceed your price point.
Thank you all for your helpful input. I want to elaborate a bit here if I might:
1) I think the point about keeping white wine cold is so true. I can't drink white if it isn't really cold. Someone in the wine business told me that the "sourness" I experience is tied to the acidity of the wine. I find this happens with a chardonnay most often than other whites.
2) Last weekend I made butternut squash ravioli (from absolute scratch) with a brown butter sage "sauce". I had a slurp or two of a Pinot Grigio before the ravioli. After trying the ravioli and the crispy sage leaf, the wine just got lost. Understandable because of the strong, but tasty, flavor of the sage. I am hoping to find a kind of generic wine that will hold up to a variety of apps as well as being a good aperitif. This is where I need help because I lack experience with red, espec. chardonnay.
3) If the price point goes up a bit, I don't mind. Most of the guests are red drinkers and I will only have to buy 4-6 bottles of a white. So I am a bit more flexible with the price point on the white.
4) I have bought a case of French Beaujolais as a general red and I have enough red on hand to adjust the red supply if I need to bring out something "heartier".
5) I might bring out some Moscato d'Asti for light desserts.
6) Would Gewurzstraminer be a bad idea for a general wine? Or perhaps a few types of white to please people? Maybe 2 chards, 2 Pinot Grigio's/ Viognier/Sauvignon Blanc and maybe 2 Gewurz. or Riesling? What do you think?
A more fruity white stands better once people being chomping on apps. Its the flavors, salts, spices in foods that can change the palate and experience with the subsequent glass of wine (not to mention the loss of chill,, oxygen, etc.). Keep the wines as chilled as possible with ice tubs, inflatable chillers, etc. Typically a sweet pinot grigio ( I find Santa Marghetria or an Italian Pinot quite satisfying, or a drier Reisling. You can then finish up with a white dessert white , such as a Sauternes, Moscato, (Eiswein if you want to be flamboyant) or even a chilled Vanilla cognac such as Navan is a great blend in for the finish. I too find Chardonay unappetizing after the second glass.... I just don't know what it is. But I don't think it blends well with foods sometimes. It can be thick and buttery and almost fights with the food on the palate.
Just a reiteration of a few points already made, but I think they bear repeating: have a variety of wines on hand. You need the sauv blanc for the goat cheese dishes (the Sancerre would work well, but might be more expensive than a CA). Reislings and gewurztraminers tend to work well with curried foods, even those that aren't spicy, so if you do your curry cream chese dish, I'd have one of these on hand. I would personally probably choose a reisling because I find that good reislings are still easier to find at a good price than good gewurztraminers. Chateau St. Michelle makes a good reisling and I think there's a decent value gewurz made by ... Valkenburg? I'll get back to you on this one.
Chardonnays are accessible, of course, but I also think that for your interestingly spiced appetizer menu, a cava or other bubbly would play more broadly.
Sounds like it'll be a good dinner!
Based on your additional info, if it were me, and I was looking for six bottles of white, I would go for 2 bottles Reisling (for the curry / spicy items), two bottles SB (CA/WA if under $10, NZ if around $10) and 2 unoaked Chards, like Kim Crawford. I think the Gerwurz could be a good match, but the Reisling is probably an odds-on bet to be a better crowd pleaser at this price range. The appetizer selection sounds great, and there are many good suggestions on this thread. You probably can't go wrong with a mix of any of the wines suggested.
As an aside, if you only like a white wine if it is extremely cold, then you may not really like the taste of that wine, and that's OK. Serving the wine extra cold suppresses some of the flavor. We actually have the same problem with some Chardonnay, and we have be on a "mission" lately to find some whites for summer that we like better. This is why I suggested the unoaked Chard. You might also prefer a French Chard to a CA Chard.
truth to the matter, if you are serving many people in varied levels of wine saaviness (just assuming this as you only want to spend $10 a bottle) - keep the onus on the wine and don't get too caught up in the food / wine pairing perfectly. a flavorful well balanced wine will go a lot further than pulling out an ecletic never heard of wine that matches well.
serve what is common and will please many, instead of going on a limb and trying to hit a home run with something that might work perfectly with couscous or seafood thingys.
additionally, you are probably in the minority when you say that the second glass of wine tastes sour. maybe there are deep, recessed pits in you taste buds, but I would venture to guess that most people don't experience the same sensation. most people don't think that, in general, the first glass tastes okay, but the second glass tastes sour. at least, i have never had that sensation nor has anybody else i have known. if the wine is bad, it is bad from the gitgo.
keep it simple and save yourself the headaches. go to costco, unload on a six pack of $10 chardonnay and another six pack of $10 sauv blanc and two cases of beer. you'll be in good shape.
I would guess that the "sour" sensation may be as the temperature of the wine climbs (assuming it is white wine). Many bottles of white are opened and then kept out on the counter. Now same may prefer the temp as it warms a bit, but if teh first glass was straight from the fridge, the refreshing sensation from the cold first glass may be diminished. With somewhat "generic" white wine, I would keep it on ice. I know, the arguement about serving at 45 - 50 degrees, but in this case, I would say keep it cold.
1) I am still putting my list of apps together as I've got 3 weeks but they will range from a roasted veg and couscous dish to goat cheese to sun-dried tomatoes to a seafood thingy (hot or cold? shrimp or crab?) to snow peas dipped in curried cream cheese and dipped in peanuts to feta/sauteed onion tarts etc. I need a variety to suit many tastes.
2) One correction. I meant to say Sancerre and not Semillon in my original posting.
Thanks for the suggestions. Do you have specific vintners that you like?
Hard to say as you have not offerred up what the range of appetizers may include. Champagne tends to cover a broad range of food matchings so it might work for you. Pine Ridge makes a Chenin Blanc / Voigner blend that is pretty versatile and is generally available for around $10 to $12.