It is time to throw your infamous Christmas cocktail party which means the question of how to provide a really decent drop to drink while being able to water 30 odd thirsty friends without busting the bank is once again at the forefront of your mind. Not an easy task, we know!
Not only is it important to find value, but it is worth bearing in mind what style of wine is best suited to these parties. There are usually nibbles, but certainly not enough to line the stomach, so steer clear of serving 14%+ alcohol wines if you would like your guests to walk out of the door rather than crawl. Lighter bodied and fresh rather than rich, oaky or overly tannic wines are definitely the way to go as they are much easier to drink and enjoy. Even though they are light, they still need to have plenty of flavour and character as without food, they are the star attraction.
Prosecco is well known as a crowd pleaser; it is light, fruity, frothy and instantly appealing. When there is not much food, the more austere acidity of Champagne can prove rather sharp so this gentle fruity number can be just the ticket. Add to this it is 11% alcohol; 1% less than Champagne. There is a lot of mediocre Prosecco out there, but the Mionetto Prosecco DOC Trentino NV from Tesco is a really lovely, classic example and unusually for most Prosecco, it has great intensity and length. We thought it was worth £11.00, but it is currently £10.00, which, though quite pricey for a Prosecco, is well worth splashing out on. Click here to buy.
If you are after something a touch richer and made with the traditional Champagne method then try the Tesco Finest 1531 Blanquette de Limoux 2013, France. It is a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and a fabulous local grape called Mauzac which adds incredible freshness to the richer, apple strudel notes of the wine. As always you get rewarded when you step off the well trodden path to taste something a little more unusual. We thought it was worth £10.00 but it is currently £8.50 at Tesco. Click here to buy.
The Aldi Exquisite Collection Hunter Valley Semillon 2015 from Australia is another gem and not what you would expect from Aussie wine. It is light and pure with a fine, crystalline citrus character and again, at just 11% alcohol, the perfect party wine. Big on flavour and low on alcohol, it is exactly what you need. We valued the wine at £9.00, but it is £6.99 which really is great value. Buy in store only.
For the red you want something silky and fresh but with plenty of flavour. We recommend the Tesco Finest Cotes du Rhones Villages Plan de Dieu 2014 from France. Unlike many lighter red wines it is not thin or summery, but has plenty of black cherries and blackberries wrapped up in chocolate making it an elegant, delicious and easy to drink red. We thought it was worth £9.00, but it is a great deal at just £6.00. Click here to buy.