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Some People Just Know How to Party

The view from the rooftop.

Last weekend, we were invited to a party on a friend's rooftop on Manhattan's Upper East Side. On the way there, my wife and I grabbed a $35 grower Champagne at the wine shop, as the hosts were celebrating both a birthday and a new job.

I always worry expect, however, that when I bring a nice bottle to a party, I'll get to drink about an eyedropper's worth of the good stuff, and will be stuck forcing down $5 Malbec for the rest of the night.

Imagine my surprise, then, that every single bottle others had brought was...thoughtful. Even the $10 Grooner Grüner Veltliner someone plopped into the cooler, with no pretense, is a delicious value. Someone else brought a Moët rosé Champagne. Another person brought a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (not a second label or silly brand – the main label from a real winery).  And imagine my delight upon grabbing a random bottle in the cooler and pulling out...a Chassagne-Montrachet. Even more stunning was that two of the other party guests actually knew the region and that the wine would be dynamite, even though they hadn't brought it.

The best part? Not a single other person at the party works in the wine business. There were nurses, teachers, bankers, executive assistants – and yet all in attendance understood and appreciated great-tasting wine, from the $10 Grüner on up. There was little discussion of wine, fawning or swooning over this label or that, which made the evening all the more enjoyable.

I never did get to taste that grower Champagne, but I'm not sure I care considering that everything else I drank was delicious. And, as an added bonus, I am most definitely looking forward to the next party this couple hosts.

What's your go-to wine for bringing to a party? Mine's usually Cotes-du-Rhône, but it might be time to raise my game if regular, summer-evening partygoers know a lot more about wine than they used to.

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