We used last Sunday's Academy Awards as an excuse to throw a party that had a little something for everyone: movies, wagering, and wine. It was a fun time, and the company of good friends and the delicious wine more than made up for my poor showing in our Oscar pool.
Sally and I are huge movie fans and try to see all of the Best Picture nominees every year. Even for our friends who are more casual movie watchers or those that don't see movies at all (a.k.a. parents), the Academy Awards is a fun show to watch with other people. There's humor, entertainment, and plenty to talk about.
We ran a simple pool where each person chipped in $5 to submit their picks for each award. Our pool is equally weighted, so a correct guess for Best Picture is worth the same as getting the Sound Editing category right. Second place gets their money back, first place takes the rest of the pot, and last place gets a bottle of cheap wine to serve as a reminder that they need to stick to the basics.
It's a gathering, so why not drink some wine?! We served four wines blind at pairing stations and had our friends vote for their favorite. All of them were favorites we'd discovered on our wine adventures that retailed for less than $20 and could easily be found in most local wine shops. (We got ours at BevMo.) Here are the wines, the pairings, and the rankings.
4th Place: 2010 Line 39 Petite Sirah
This is a very tasty wine, but despite the deep purple color its flavor is a little light for Petite Sirah. Our guests had trouble identifying this grape and wished for a bit more tannin. Nonetheless, it was still considered enjoyable.
Paired with aged cheddar, manchego, and mini tacos (chicken and pork)
3rd Place: 2009 Kendall-Jackson Vinter's Reserve Chardonnay
According to Kendall-Jackson's website, this is the #1 selling Chardonnay in America. It's a good Chardonnay for it's price point with some crisp acidity that pairs well with food, though our guests were a little biased against the varietal.
Paired with double cream gouda, Monterey jack, and roasted chicken purses
2nd Place: 2010 Cycles Gladiator Pinot Noir
This wine drew rave reviews and several guests announced their intentions to acquire a bottle or two. It's definitely a California-style Pinot Noir with a lot of fruit, but it is flavorful, smooth, and goes well with a variety of foods. It was also the winner of our 2010 HalloWine blind tasting, so we had to bring it back to defend it's crown.
Paired with creamy Havarti, Harvarti with dill, and beef brisket sandwiches
1st Place: NV Roederer Estate Brut Sparkling White Wine
It must have been a champenoise kind of night, because the Roederer Estate edged out the Cycles Gladiator by just one vote. This wine was a crowd pleaser with a crisp taste and notes of pear to go with the bubbles.
Paired with cream cheese topped with pineapple and apricot preserves and mini chicken egg rolls
Somehow, we managed to have such a good time we forgot to take any pictures. Here's one quickly staged photo of the four wines: