IIf you open one of those vintage entertainment books, it’s like you’re looking into a different world. It’s all chicken galantines and molded salads, stuffed celery sticks and weird sandwich toppings (sardines and applesauce, you say?), And the kind of party food that back then probably would have. served with a glass of semi-dry white wine or a “summer cup”.
In fact, it’s as hard today to imagine a pre-prosecco, pre-rosé or pre-New Zealand sauvignon blanc world as it is to imagine a Guardian without Ottolenghi. Be careful, I’m not sure there is like a party wine, no more than there is a dinner wine: it all depends on the menu, the theme (if there is any) and the guests.
What evening drinking is more about than anything else is the numbers. Of course, you hope everyone brings a bottle, but if you lay down on the wine the key is to pour bottles that taste and ideally look more expensive than they actually are. . (If your budget is really tight, by the way, Tesco, which at the moment appears to be trying to outperform Aldi and Lidl on value stakes, currently has two under £ 5: one sweet, fruity, 12.5% Bulgarian merlot for £ 4.50 – make sure you buy the 2020 – and a remarkably decent, dry Italian, 11.5% white Trebbiano d’Abruzzo for £ 3.95 that would do the trick.)
There is a festive aspect to the holidays too, especially after the dark and depressing past year. A party should be fun, so it’s not an occasion for serious wines that deserve thoughtful drinking; festive wines are wines to drink rather than to meditate on. A cheerful label helps, so if you pick up a bottle, pick one that at least looks a little upbeat like Vis à Vis shiraz or Les Chiens rouge in today’s picks, although I still favor the strategy of planting it somewhere nearby, rather than handing it straight to your host at the door and never seeing him again.
The other important thing is to have something of interest available for non-drinkers or those who moderate their alcohol consumption. In addition to the beers I mentioned last week, there is an incredible array of other options as well, with Wildpress Apple Juice being my favorite right now. Try the beautifully appley Rebel harvest, a mix of james grieve, may queen and arcy spice that its creators describe rather nicely as members of an aging rock band and sells for £ 5.10 a bottle of wildpressjuice.com.
Five wines to pour during an evening
Mimo Moutinho Loureiro 2020 € 6.49, 11.5%. Fresh, food, fresh label, modest in alcohol: this pretty Portuguese dry white ticks all the boxes and makes you feel like you know your wine.
Pierre Jaurant Côtes du Luberon Rosé 2020 € 6.49, 13%. The ooh-la-la on the bottle screams party, so enjoy this classic Provence rosé at a less than typical Provencal price.
Vis à Vis Chiraz-Mourvèdre 2019 £ 7.99, 14%. A beautifully bright and lush South African red – not cheap for Lidl, but it would be at least £ 2 more elsewhere. Perfect if the party is a barbecue. I also love the slightly surreal Dalí label.
Castelo da Lapa Bairrada Brut 2018 £ 6.99, 12%. If you’re looking for a party sparkle that won’t break the bank and isn’t as predictable as prosecco, this peachy Portuguese sparkling is perfect.
Catalan Dogs Vin de France Red 2019 £ 8.45 The Whiskey Exchange (or £ 8.03 if you buy six), € 8.35 Wines Loughborough Vest, 12.5%. This cheerful red is a great bottle to take to a party, especially if your friends like natural wine. Very fresh too.