Wines to make your party go with a pop

These 20 great party wines are guaranteed crowd-pleasers

Party wines should not be too high in alcohol, but easy to drink with or without food. Photograph: iStock

Party wines should not be too high in alcohol, but easy to drink with or without food. Photograph: iStock

 

Wine plays an important role in any successful party. Choosing a wine that will impress your friends (even the wine nerds) is not difficult once you follow a few important guidelines.

First, go for wines that are lower in alcohol, with no oak, and for red wines, no tannins. What you want is a delicious, light, fruity wine, between 12% and 13.5% alcohol that guests can enjoy without wincing.

Always have plenty of nibbles to hand – a couple of glasses of wine on an empty stomach will have your friends keeling over. A few canapés, bought or home-made – they don’t have to be complicated – simple prawns, smoked salmon, posh sausages or roast chicken pieces will provide the necessary soakage.

For any guest who is driving to and from your party, make sure you have plenty of water (flavoured with a selection of herbs, citrus, flowers and cucumber), a mocktail or some other sophisticated soft drink. There are plenty available these days.

Don’t go too cheap on your wine. If you are having a big crowd in, the understandable temptation is to go for the latest bargain on special offer in your local supermarket. Taste it first! If you don’t like it, chances are your friends won’t either. Spend €10 or more a bottle and your friends will thank you, although I do include a couple of exceptions below.

Generally, old favourites such as Muscadet and Beaujolais make perfect party wines, as do Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling or for the more adventurous, Albariño, or Grüner Veltliner. For red wines, look to Pinot Noir, Merlot, Valpolicella, Dolcetto or Barbera. Lastly, don’t forget that most adaptable all-purpose wine, rosé – either still or sparkling!

Below are 20 wines, from €7-€34 to help you plan your party.

(Prices were correct at time of going to press.)

SPARKLING WINES

1. Exquisite Collection Crémant du Jura 2014, Philippe Michel

12%, €11.99

A perennial bargain. Crisp, dry and refreshing with ample green and red apple fruits. Perfect party wine, by itself or as an ingredient in cocktails.

From Aldi

2. La Jara Prosecco DOC Frizzante NV, Veneto. Organic

10.5%, €14.95

Elderflower and pear aromas, clean and nicely rounded pear fruits balanced by good citrus acidity.

From La Touche, Greystones, Latouchewines4u.ie; 64 Wine, Glasthule, 64wine.ie; Martin’s Off Licence, Clontarf, martinsofflicence.ie; Clontarf Wines, clontarfwines.ie; Liston’s, Camden Street, listonsfoodstore.ie; World Wide Wines, Waterford, worldwidewines.ie; Morton’s, Ranelagh, mortons.ie; Fallon & Byrne, Exchequer Street, fallonandbyrne.com; Green Man Wines, Terenure, greenmanwines.ie

3. Croser Sparkling Rosé NV Australia

13%, €24.95

A very smart, crisp, dry rosé with very refined ripe strawberry and red cherry fruits.

From O’Briens Wines, obrienswine.ie

4. Champagne L. Bénard-Pitois Premier Cru Brut N.V.

12%, €34

The various Bénard-Pitois Champagnes, imported directly by Whelehan’s, offer fantastic value for money. This is a delightful generous Champagne with a creamy texture, red apple fruits and a mouth-watering, clean, dry finish.

From Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown, whelehanswines.ie

WHITE WINES

5. Abellio Albariño, Rías Baixas 2016

12.5%, €10

Soft, plump peach fruits with a lick of zesty citrus on the finish. Light and fruity, this would be perfect with nibbles or on its own.

From SuperValu, Centra

6. Rapaura Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Marlborough

13%, €11.50

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Classic Marlborough Sauvignon with intense aromas of gooseberries and lychees; ripe exotic fruits on the palate cut through with fresh lime zest.

From Dunnes Stores

7. Thymiopoulos Malagouzia 2016, Imathia, Greece

12%, €13.80

One to impress your wine-buff friends. Made from two indigenous Greek varieties, this has juicy, rounded, rich red apples and pears with a touch of lemon zest.

From Marks & Spencer

8. Clos du Ferré 2017, Domaine David, Muscadet de Sevre & Maine sur lie

12%, €15

This is a delightfully fresh, uncomplicated Muscadet with vibrant, crisp, green apple fruits, and racy citrus zip.

From Cabot and Co, Westport, Cabotandco. com">Cabotandco.com; Grapevine, Dalkey, onthegrapevine.ie; The Hungry Monk, Cong

9. Touraine Chenin Blanc 2016, Domaine à Deux

13%, €16.95

Delightful, fresh, plump quince and pears fruits, with hints of almonds, finishing dry. A grown-up party wine.

From Searsons Wine Merchants, Monkstown, searsons.com; Ely Wine Store, Maynooth; Eleven Deli, Greystones, Co Wicklow; Drinkstore, Manor Street, Dublin 7, drinkstore.ie; Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, jusdevine.ie; Redmonds, Ranelagh; Redmonds.ie

10. Lagar da Costa Albariño 2016, Rías Baixas

13.5%, €16.95

From vineyards planted right by the sea, a deliciously fruity wine, full of peaches and lemon zest, with a mouth-watering saline finish. Made for prawns and other seafood.

From O’Briens Wines, obrienswine.ie

11. Ingata Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

12.5%, €18

A subtle Sauvignon with delicious, elegant, clean, green apple fruits and a snappy dry finish. Perfect posh party wine.

From Baggot Street Wines, Baggot Street, baggotstreetwines.com; Donnybrook Fair, donnybrookfair.ie; JJ O’Driscoll, Ballinlough, Cork jjodriscoll.ie; Number 21, Blarney and Waterford

ROSÉ WINE

12. House Rosé 2017, South-West France

12%, €7

Light, crisp, raspberry and strawberry fruits with a bone-dry finish. Amazing value for money.

From Marks & Spencer

RED WINES

13. Wildflower Pinot Noir 2017, Romania

12.5%, €8.95

Smooth and light with red cherry and raspberry fruits. An instant party hit at a great price.

From O’Briens, obrienswine.ie

14. Exquisite Collection New Zealand Pinot Noir 2017, Wairarapa

13%, €9.99

Supple damsons and spicy black cherries with a soft rounded finish. With or without nibbles.

From Aldi

15. Domaine les Tours de Montmelas 2017, Beaujolais Villages, Thorin

13.5%, €11.99

Light, rounded, juicy blackcurrant and cherry fruits with an easy finish. A straightforward but very enjoyable wine.

From Eurospar, Spar, Mace, Londis

16. Bardolino 2017, Marks & Spencer

12.5%, €13.30

Light in alcohol with juicy piquant black cherries and a lifting, refreshing acidity.

From Marks & Spencer

17. Sangiovese 2017, Cantina dei Colli Ripani (organic, vegan)

12.5% , €15.99

Light, ripe, tangy dark cherries – juicy and instantly likeable, with a supple finish.

From La Touche, Greystones, Latouchewines4u.ie; Green Man Wines, Terenure, greenmanwines.ie; Kelly’s, Clontarf, kellysofflicence.ie; Ardkeen Store, Waterford; The Little Greengrocer, Kilkenny

18. La Volandera 2017, La Calandraia Garnacha Pura, Navarra

13.5%, €17.95

Enticing and fresh, all strawberries and crunchy dark fruits. Vibrant and utterly unputdownable.

From La Touche, Greystones, Latouchewines4u.ie; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; Green Man Wines, Terenure, greenmanwines.ie; Baggot Street Wines, Baggot Street, baggotstreetwines.com; Bradleys Off-Licence, Cork, bradleysofflicence.ie; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street, thecorkscrew.ie; The Coach House, Ballinteer, thecoachhouseofflicence.ie

19. Rigoleto 2015, Whelehans Organic Castello Collie Massari Rigoletto

13.5%, €20

Sweet, juicy, ripe red fruits, with barely a whisper of tannin. A very smart choice for parties.

From Whelehan’s Wines, Loughlinstown, Dublin, whelehanswines.ie

20. Zweigelt Heideboden 2017, Pittnauer, Burgenland, (biodynamic/vegan)

12.5% , €20.95

Juicy, mouthwatering, brambly dark fruits with a lightly tannic dry finish. There is a lightly spicy, earthy touch, but this wine is all about the crunchy fresh fruits. With finger foods.

From 1601 Off-licence, Kinsale; Bradley’s Off-Licence, Cork, bradleysofflicence.ie; The Corkscrew, Chatham Street, thecorkscrew.ie; Green Man Wines, Terenure, greenmanwines.ie; Lilac Wines, Dublin 3, lilacwines.ie; SIYPS.com

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