While it has just begun, 2016 will be fondly remembered as Sweet '16, a year of renewal and discovery -- a coming out, if you will, into adulthood. Part of this newfound maturity will include a domestic ritual that our grandparents enjoyed when they were our age: the dinner party.
Dinner parties are all about intimacy and connection -- friends bringing a few bottles of wine; passionate conversation about things that matter; and enjoying a meal prepared with care and attention to detail.
And most of all, dinner parties save us from the many reasons why I won't do clubs in 2016, including:
- Bottle Service: We'd rather take that extra 1,400% markup and just buy more wine.
- The Bathroom Pirate: The guy withholding your paper towel for ransom. You know the dude: "Look at me. You know you want this paper towel for your drenched hands - it'll only be a couple bucks. Isn't your dignity worth it?"
- Lines & Bouncers: Self-explanatory.
Here are a few reasons why the Dinner Party > Club in 2016:
1. No designated-driver worries: It's always apropos to allow your friends to use the extra bedroom.
2. Opportunities to try new recipes: The homie G. Garvin always has some great ones.
3. Relaxed etiquette: You're free to talk about more risqué things; no strangers listening in.
4. No Tinder traps: You know what I mean -- the bro who won't stop bro-ing or the thirsty girl.
5. Lift some veils: Dinner parties allow you to have longer lasting, deeper connections with your friends and maybe learn something new to further bind your relationship. Or you may find out they're racist. Either way, it's a win-win.
Pair your first dinner party of '16 with these gems:
Francis Coppola Reserve Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: A talker. You'll get dark fruit flavors to take the conversation into a dark place, though come out not feeling beat up by either the topic nor this wine. Additional talking points: What other winemaker keeps his Oscars in his tasting room?
Concha y Toro Terrunyo Peumo Vineyard Block 27 Carmenere 2012: Another conversation starter. Founded in the 19th century, this winery, Latin America's biggest producer, is connected to Chilean nobility and aristocracy. Carmenere is Chile's signature grape, and this one's a stone-cold winner. Dramatically red in color, elegant, complex with a long finish similar to the riveting time at your dinner party - both leaving more to be desired for the next one.
Cheers to you and yours in '16.
Photo: William Hereford