We moved into a new house earlier this year. It is a 1970s-built bungalow in the woods. It has a whiff of The Ice Storm about it, but without the swinging. A few of the houses do have pampas grass outside but as yet, no evidence of keys in glass bowls. So it was with a tiny niggle of trepidation that we invited all of our neighbours in for a drink on Saturday night, to kick off the festive season. Happy to report my niggle was needless and the party went with a bang. Or not, as it were. Anyway, when it came to choosing wines for 30 people without it costing the earth, here’s what we went for…
Great Party White: The Post Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011, £5 on offer, Tesco.com
This went down a storm (see what I did there?), with its good-looking label and bright, unmistakeable New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc lime-loaded aroma and gooseberry fruit flavours. Not a complicated beast, but when you are drinking this standing up, without proper food, it does well. I say without food: I made palmiers. So fabulously ’70s, I couldn’t resist. I almost went for the pineapple & cheese stick combo but peaked with the palmiers. And by serving Sauvignon Blanc you avoid the ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ issue from those who insist on trashing Chardonnay (unfairly so, IMHO).
Great Party Red: Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2008, £6 on offer, Tesco.com
This is such a classic Aussie Shiraz, absolutely heaving under the weight of dense, dark fruit and spice flavours. Most of our neighbours went for white but there were a few stalwart red-only drinkers who absolutely loved this bruiser. It is made from Shiraz grapes (Australia’s vinous calling card) grown in South Australia by one of the country’s most famous and trusted producers, and weighs in at a whopping 14.5%. I did notice the red wine drinkers snaffled most of the sausages in honey & mustard, which must have worked a treat.
Chin chin x