Hosting a dinner party can be fun, but choosing the right wine to go with it can be a bit tricky. Recently I popped over to O’Brien’s Wines to check out what might work. The only problem was narrowing it down, with such a great selection it was difficult to do so, but I think we managed it. I choose six of the most versatile wines that will work for a number of dishes.
Personally, I always think it is fun to start your evening with some bubbles; they create a relaxed but happy atmosphere and can pair well with some fresh starters, such as scallops or salads, though do be careful what dressing you add, as it can jar with the wine. Think grilled goats cheese salad with a touch of honey with bubbles.
Following on from that you may want some red and white wines, though that can be a challenge depending on your menu. Remember to always carefully consider the sauces or accompaniments to your meal. Roast chicken is great but if you are adding gravy or a jus then this will impact on the style of wine that will work.
Once you are over that hurdle, consider finishing your meal with some sweet or fortified wines. It might be slightly decadent, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive way to cap off your evening, and it can be a pleasurable way to finish any meal.
Beaumont des Crayères Grande Réserve NV Champagne €36.99
This is a special champagne, it has two to two and a half years less aging which gives it a great body but lots of those champagne characteristics that we know and love. Usually this length of ageing would cost more, and is not that common in non-vintage Champagnes – or at least not at a this affordable a price.
This champagne delivers a delightful nose, I believe the first word I said was “wow”! You have some beautiful floral touches as well as yummy brioche and nutty characteristics.
All those aromas flow delightfully onto the palate, along with some light citrus tones. It is a rich champagne with a lovely creamy mouthfeel, and fine yet persistent bubbles.
A great way to kick off your evening but can also pair well with shellfish.
Domaine Begude Terroir 11300 (Limoux) Chardonnay €17.99
On the nose it delivers some honey, buttery touches with a nutty and hay characteristic. Add some citrus and pear and you have quite an interesting wine.
All of these aromas follow onto the palate nicely, along with some fresh peaches and a pleasing minerality. It has a lovely mouth feel and medium body.
This will work as an aperitif but will also pair beautifully with roast chicken, summer veg risotto and pork.
Château-Fuissé les Brûlés €42.00
Like a true classical Burgundian this wine has a sophisticated and elegant nose with ripe apples and pears as well as honeyed buttery tones with touches of straw and oak.
This is a big, beautiful wine, with a creamy soft texture on the palate. The buttery viscous consistency wraps beautifully around the peaches, ripe melon and tropical yellow fruits, finishing clean and crisp. This is a complex wine with a long finish.
This will go beautifully with roast chicken, white meat or vegetable pasta dishes and meaty fish.
Longview Devils Elbow Cabernet Sauvignon €21.49
Don’t worry there is nothing evil about this wine, it’s apparently named after a hairy bit of road near the Longview Estate. This is a quality wine coming from a very dedicated family at a fantastic price.
On the nose this wine is packed full of fruit such as blueberries, blackberries and wild raspberry. There are also aromas of leather, light tones of charred oak with mild spicy touches from the oak.
This wine delivers all the aromas from the nose along with red liquorice, cherries and a light smoky character towards the end. The tannin is soft but present, gently tickling the gums. A beautifully balanced wine which is an absolute pleasure to drink.
It will pair well with red meat especially game.
Domaine La Sarabande Misterioso 2013 €16.99
On the nose this wine is berrlicious, lots of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cherries. It is a fresh and inviting wine with notes of spice, pepper, leather and nuts.
This wine is beautifully balanced, with all the aromas from the nose popping up on the palate. It’s a juicy wine with a long finish; the first time I tried it I described it as “a taste of summer”.
The palate is lush yet refined, full but not heavy, making it ideal for many dishes like pasta, red and white meat as well as game.
Longview Epitome Late Harvest Riesling €16.99
Late harvest means the grapes have been left on the vine longer than usual so they can lose their moisture and resemble a sultana/raisin. Winemakers do this to intensify the sweetness of the grape. This is a beautiful example of this style.
This wine has a delightfully expressive nose of orange blossom, mango, and cumquats, with a honeyed undertone and faint aroma of lightly toasted hazelnuts.
The smooth velvety texture glides onto the palate bringing with it the orange blossom, peaches, Chinese lanterns and lightly honeyed mangos.
Although it may sound intensely sweet, the acidity cuts through it, leaving a beautifully balanced dessert/sweet wine that will work well with a cheese board (goats, light blue, most soft medium strength cheese), with simple fruit dishes or poured over vanilla ice cream.