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Tonight I'm hosting an Italian wine hour (will probably go much longer). many people attending do not know much about wine. Suggestions for service or information?!?

I would like to serve 3 wines to keep it simple and to be able to provide a wealth of information about each.

I'm obviously going to have Pinot Grigio.

Then I'm thinking two reds. I really want to do Amarone, but this wine is certainly not for everyone.

Chianti would be easy, but [yawn] not that exciting.

Brunello is good but expensive to use on people who will not fully appreciate it.

This is a crew of Californian's so maybe a value Super Tuscan.

Anyone chime in, I need to prepare for this shindig.

thanks,

Nate
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quote:
Originally posted by Alta Skier:
You are starting your planning a little late aren’t you? Razz Not to be a smart a$$, but why do you have to have Pinot Grigio as your white? This is a generalization but I think that, as a whole, Italian PG sux rocks. Why not serve a Prosecco as your apertif?


I'm not starting too late, most of the people at this event are barely into wine or just starting to get into it; so I'm making a big deal out of it for no real reason other then I like to make a big deal out of wine.

but, seriously on the PG tip - it is the fastest growing variety in terms of sales. Also, it is a stepping stone to get into the best versions of this grape that usually say 'Pinot Gris' on them and are from Oregon. But, the bottom line is that people will find it easy to drink and refreshing.

Prosecco - I don't have any, but I could rush out and get some. Suggestions? I never drink this stuff. CA & France are my sparklers of choice.
quote:
Originally posted by TBird:
le volte


Sounds awesome, but my problem is that I'm trying ot get these guys into the mainstream before they get into the obscure. You know like try missionary position first and then start experimenting?

I was really wanting to do some Allegrini '01 La Grola, but again, this is harder to place into the classic Italian wines for the novice drinker.
quote:
Originally posted by Natester:
...Also, it is a stepping stone to get into the best versions of this grape that usually say 'Pinot Gris' on them and are from Oregon.

Sorry, but I’ll have to disagree with you on this. IMO the best is Alsatian Pinot Gris, aka Tokay (however, this name is being phased out to avoid confusion with Tokaji Aszu and I believe that there also has been some sort of legal ruling in favor of the Hungarians so that Alsatian producers stop using the name). Italian Pinot Grigio really is some wimpy juice and bears little resemblance to Alsatian. If the people you are hosting really are newbies, don’t introduce them to PG if you want them to continue drinking wine.
quote:
Originally posted by Natester:
quote:
Originally posted by Alta Skier:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Natester:
...Also, it is a stepping stone to get into the best versions of this grape that usually say 'Pinot Gris' on them and are from Oregon.

Sorry, but I’ll have to disagree with you on this. IMO the best is Alsatian Pinot Gris, aka Tokay (however, this name is being phased out to avoid confusion with Tokaji Aszu and I believe that there also has been some sort of legal ruling in favor of the Hungarians so that Alsatian producers stop using the name). Italian Pinot Grigio really is some wimpy juice and bears little resemblance to Alsatian. If the people you are hosting really are newbies, don’t introduce them to PG if you want them to continue drinking wine.


Okay, fair enough on the Alsatian thing, but think back to when you barely knew wine, if you can remember that far. Don't you think newbs will easily quaff PG and be turned on? I'm not sure, as I've not been in a position like this before...

Lets talk reds. The red drinkers there will most likely be somewhat into wine, aka 'I like a good Cab' or 'I'm aware that Zinfandel is red, from California, and jammy'. So I feel that these wines need to be more impressive. Also, they have total CA palates so they need to be extra impressive since these wines are old world.

I'm definately leaning toward the La Grola and we can drink lots of it without worry at its price...

I think I'm also going with Frescobaldi '00 Brunello, its reasonably priced and pretty impressive on the palate...
quote:
Originally posted by mpls wine guy:
If they are not that into wine I'd do a Piedmont tasting and start with a Dolcetto then a Barbera and finally Barolo to finish the night.


That's an awesome idea, i gues my main problem is that my cellar is Italian weak and so I'm ending up with the following, as people are arriving in about 15 min.

RIFF Pinot Grigio from Alois Lageder - ~$10/bottle and they can drink as much as they want.

Then Zenato's Ripassa 2003 Valpolicella, almost an Amarone, one third the price

Then Frescobaldi's 2000 Brunello CastelGiocondo, its in the decanter right now, it getting better but is lighter then I expected, I imagine it should open up nicely.

Man I wanted some Vin Santo but again price versus who its served to doesn't compute!

thanks again for all the recommendations.

Oh and when you make fun of someone by suggesting a Sauvignon blanc you should suggest a crappy one instead of a good one, FYI.
It went well, the Brunello was actually appreciated by many. The Pinot Grigio was definately the right choice for the white, everyone sucked it down and was merry. The Zenato '03 Ripassa was an interesting choice. Many did not like it and thought it was "too sweet" and others loved it because it was "bone dry and a little tannic". The wine is definately dry, but it has so much cherry, cherry pie, and cherry spice fruit that it can deceive many into thinking its sweet. Fun stuff!

Thanks again everyone.

-Nate

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