Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Wines to get you in the party spirit

    Mont Saint Jean 2011 Corbieres
    Mont Saint Jean 2011 Corbieres

    Every year, my wife has a birthday party. Not my favourite evening of the year. For me, to paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre very loosely: “Hell is a crowded room with lots of people.”

    My job is to organise and pour the wines, and buying always poses the same question: What is good enough to (A) make the guests feel well treated and (B) be pleasant to drink if there’s any left over, but also (C) reasonably priced and (D) sold by someone who will also deliver rented wine glasses?

    Questions A through C (and many others) are addressed in Helen McGinn’s The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club (Macmillan, £12.99). The book, arising from Ms McGinn’s blog, gives a lot of the wine basics (production techniques, grape varieties etc.) in plain, chatty style without making you feel you’re taking a wine course.

    What I like best about it, however, is that it addresses questions ordinary wine books do not address. Such as: what wines should you serve at a book club? And: what should you serve to the parents whose children have come over for your child’s birthday party? Call it a wine book if you will. It’s also a book about contemporary parenthood. I heartily recommend it.

    Ms McGinn proposes easy-going wines from the New World for parties. Easy-going – definitely. New World? Not necessarily. Our supplies usually come from Oddbins or Majestic, which both hire out glasses, and they’re usually European. This year it was Majestic, which had an offer on two exactly suitable low-priced wines.

    Cuvée de Richard Blanc 2012, Comté Tolosan
    Cuvée de Richard Blanc 2012, Comté Tolosan

    One: Mont St Jean 2011, Corbières, a medium-weight specimen with very accommodating tannins. Two: Cuvée de Richard Blanc 2012, Comté Tolosan; very quaffable citrus flavours, 11.5 per cent alcohol. Snap up both at £4.99.

    My final bottle is the one I pulled out of the freezer (I don’t drink at parties) when everyone had left. Russian Standard is the best-value vodka in the UK. Clean, sweet flavour. Widely
    available at £15 to £18. I sipped a
    Martini slowly while washing those glasses. Of course, it tastes far better in company. Just not too much company.

Food

Declare war on waste and use up the surplus in your fridge.

Victoria Prever

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Declare war on waste and use up the surplus in your fridge.
Food

The joy of baking

Victoria Prever

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The joy of baking
Blogs

Chill out with these soups

Victoria Prever

The Fresser

Friday, August 18, 2017

Chill out with these soups
Food

How Alon Shaya brought Israel to New Orleans

Anthea Gerrie

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How Alon Shaya brought Israel to New Orleans
Blogs

GBBO big reveal

The Fresser

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

GBBO big reveal
Food

Hear me raw

Daniella Isaacs

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hear me raw
Food

Resolving to eat better

Victoria Prever

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Resolving to eat better
Blogs

Birthday cake - why you need to bother

The Fresser

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Birthday cake - why you need to bother
Food

Opinionated about dining

Sudi Piggott

Friday, August 11, 2017

Opinionated about dining