Touch Down

This Marlboro couple, party hosts extraordinaire, earns extra points with an annual Super Bowl and wine-tasting party. (Photos by Joe Polillio)

When Dr. Scott Eisenberg and his wife, Christine, throw a party they always think big: big guest list, big amounts of food and big bottles of wine. Fortunately, their big Marlboro home is perfectly setup to accommodate frequent entertaining. They host dozens of gatherings each year, but no party is more anticipated than their annual Super Bowl/wine-tasting gala.

“I’ve learned to entertain without stress,” says Christine. “I actually enjoy it.” The Eisenbergs regularly have 30 to 60 people over—the house easily accommodates a crowd with its open layout and large rooms. Says interior designer Sheila Rich, “Too often people have houses like this and they don’t open them up to everyone. That’s certainly not the case here.” Decorating the house—a six-year project so far—has been a work in progress, one room at a time, say both women. “We just want to get it right,” says Rich.

The Super Bowl bash, now in its seventh year, is a gathering of family and friends. As parents of Brianna, 7, Matthew, 5, and Jake, 3, the Eisenbergs happily welcome children to the fest.

Everything is hands-on with the Eisenbergs. Christine quarterbacks the food, often with the help of her mother, Reeta McCarthy. For Super Bowl, it’s all family-friendly fare: penne with vodka sauce, chicken marsala, salad and the kicker, Reeta’s special chili. (See recipe at Guests bring desserts.

Scott calls the plays when it comes to wine. A cardiologist, Scott began learning about wine by attending tastings while in his medical residency. Eventually, he became a passionate collector. “I’m always picking up a bottle here and a bottle there,” he says.

Another passion: sharing the wines he finds and teaching his guests a bit about each. In fact, he tackles wine tasting with the same directive as he tackles cardiology—Scott is a partner in Change of Heart Cardiology with offices in Wall, Lakewood and Freehold. “Our motto is: Educate without confusion,” he says. During half-time, Scott lives up to that motto: Guests huddle in the climate-controlled wine room while Scott pours and educates. The theme this year is “the wine heard ’round the world,” featuring tastings from Australia, Spain, France, South Africa, the United States and more.

While most would agree that the Eisenbergs’ wine room is more than adequate, expanding it is the family’s next project. The plan is to knock down the wall between the dining room and the wine room, and add a large walk-in wine refrigerator—just in time for Super Bowl 2012.

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