The place was Hatfield's on Melrose. And the "party" was a wine tasting held by Bodegas Riojanas.
Sweet but savory, crisp at the edges yet soft enough to almost dissolve in your mouth, the pork belly was the hit of the appetizer table.
Maybe it wasn't the best match for wine. So much sweetness, like sugared bacon, could turn a good red wine flat
And there were very good reds at the tasting, like the 1998 Viña Albina and Monte Real Gran Reservas, both blends of mostly Tempranillo, with some Mazuelo, which is the name used for Carignan in the Rioja district, and a touch of Graciano.
Drop down $5 and you could have the Monte Real Gran Reserva Rioja from one of the great vintages in Spain, 2001.
Then there was the pleasantly fruity Puerta Vieja 2009 Crianza Rioja for $13.99. Crianzas have to spend time in oak and in the bottle before they are released. This one had 18 months in American oak.
For easy drinking at an even lower price there was the Peñamonte 2010, a Tempranillo, for just $9.99
The two white wines that stood out were a Viore 2011 Verdejo Rueda, $13.99, and, for $2 more, the Vega Naum 2011 Albariño Rias Baixas.
These bright wines seemed made to go with Asian dishes and light summer salads. Whether they could stand up to the pork belly, I can't say. It was gone by the time I tasted them.