There was a time when people who gave or went to wine and cheese parties were the same effete crew who found any movie with subtitles "meaningful."
Nowadays, the appreciation of win (or at least the drinking of it) is sufficiently widespread so that few people get the giggles when confronted with a sommelier, and the story (true) of the Midwestern columnist who, on being presented with the cork, showed his disdain for such snobbish customs by salting and eating it, seems apocryphal.
It's okay to give a wine and cheese party.
Following are recommendations from four knowledgeable sources on wines you might serve and cheeses to accompany them.
Harry Siegel at Ace Beverage, 2446 18th St. NW., suggests four wines carried by most liquor stores, some of which come in jugs for the budget-minded. With the white wines -- a Chenin Blanc or a Chablis -- Siegel would prefer fruit. For the red, he recommends a Zinfandel, whose fruitier flavor would do well with a sharp cheese, or a Cabernet Sauvignon served with a bland cheese.
The two white wines recommended by Ekkiott Staren of MacArthur Liquors, 4877 MacArthur Blvd NW, are a Cuvee du Baron, a blended burgundy at $2.99 a bottle, to be served with a Port du Salut or a Tilsit, and a Macon Le Grand Cristal, a Pinot Chardonnay, at $4.49 a bottle, paired with a Danish Grand Toast or a Camembert.
For the red wines, he would choose a Bordeaux -- Chateau Bodet 1975, $3.99 -- served with a Boursault, Black Diamond or cheddar, and a 1976 Beaujolais from Jadot, $4.99, served with a Brie or Jarlsberg.
The Original Wine and Cheese Shop, 1413 Wisconsin Ave. NW, suggests for the red wines a La Vieille Ferme, $2.99, a dry, full-bodied wine to be served with a soft cheese, a Brie perhaps, or a Camembert or Coulommier, and an Italian wine, a Pasolini Bardolino, also $2.99, coupled with an Italian Fontina or Aurichio Provolone.
For white wines, they recommend a 1976 Macon Village Blanc, a full-bodied, dry burgundy at $4.99 a bottle, to be served with a chevre, a goat cheese, like St. Maure or Montrachet. The other white they recommend is fruitier, a Pasolini Soave at $2.99, good with a Havarti, a German Bianco or Bel Paese.
Jeff Cohen at Capitol Hill Wine and Cheese, 611 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, recommends a Cuvee Jour ou Nuit, a blended burgundy in either red or white, at $3.69 a bottle. With the red he would serve a medium-hard cheese, an Italian Fontina, and with the white "one of the better Swiss cheeses, an Appenzell."
His other choice in red wine is Paul Beaudet's Beaujolais Village Chermieux, 1976, at $4.89 a bottle, slightly drier than most Beaujolais. With it, he chooses a soft, runny cheese: "My favorite would be Valembert."
With his second choice of white wine, Castel's Muscadet Sevre et Maine at $3.49 a bottle, he would serve a chevre, Montrachet Buche.