Many people associate wine parties with winter; images of red, mulled wine, served with warming red meat stews and roasted vegetables, all enjoyed next to roaring open fires are sure to spring to mind. However, wine parties should by no means be restricted to the dark depths of winter. Summer wine parties – although completely different in theme – can be just as enjoyable.
Summer wines – deliciously sharp, crisp and fruity – are an essential accompaniment to a lazy, warm summer evening. Whether you prefer yours still and strong or sparkling and light, beautiful white summer wines are perfect to enjoy among friends in idyllic green garden surroundings. What better way to enjoy them than by throwing your own summer wine party? Picture a garden filled with friends perched on outdoor sofas and loveseats, with a glass of fresh white wine in their hands.
There are many good summer wines on the market, to suit a range of budgets. You don’t even need a large amount of money to go and buy a decent wine. You can pick up bottles of soft, fruity summer wines such as Blossom Hill and Jacobs Creek for under ten pounds per bottle. Or you can go for something a little more sparkly, such as Freixnet, which is a refreshing and excellent quality alternative to champagne, but available at a fraction of the price.
Good quality summer white wines also make excellent cocktails. They go exceptionally well with another summer favourite – strawberries – to make all sorts of delicious concoctions. Here is a particularly tasty cocktail that is the perfect accompaniment to a summer wine and dinner party.
500 g of strawberries, larger ones should be halved or in quarters
2 tbs of sugar
1 sprig of mint
1 zest of 1 lime
1 bottle of dry white wine
1 bottle champagne
100 ml lemonade
How to make it:
First, you will need an ice cube making mold. Pop one strawberry in each mold hole – or if the strawberry is too big simply cut it up into chunks that fit properly. Cover the strawberries with water and then put the mold in to the freezer to set.
Mix the remainder of the strawberries with the sugar. Then allow your mixture to marinate for about an hour while you make the rest.
Chop up the mint in a rough fashion and – if your taste buds prefer – add a zest of a lime. Then – in a large punch bowl – mix the mint and / or zest with the wine and the lemonade.
Add your strawberries to the marinade and put it in the fridge to set for about another hour.
When you take out the mixture from the fridge, add your fresh champagne. Then, when you are serving up your punch, add a strawberry ice cube or two for effect. Your guests will love it!
Some good foods to serve up with your summer wine and cocktail:
Foods that are good accompaniments to summer wines are tomatoes and grilled vegetables. Keep carbs light – so things like potatoes should be kept minimal. Meat should be fish or poultry – red meat can be considered too heavy to be an accompaniment to summer white wines. If the flavours of your meal are particularly zesty or contain a lot of lemon or other citrus or tomato, go for a lower alcohol wine – perhaps around 11 to 12 per cent. Gruner Veltliners from Austria and Spanish Albarinos are good ones to go for as they are white wines that are full of citrus flavors and are quite acidic – they are the perfect complement to lights summer and spring dishes.
ANother great accompaniment to a summer wine party and dinner is cheese. Some great cheeses to try during your party, which your guests should love, would be creamy cows milk cheeses such as Jasper Hill’s Constant Bliss pair well with Gruner Veltliners. Goats cheeses are also great, such as Camembert. THis will go well with the sharp flavours of a crisp white summer wine. Aged goats and sheep cheeses are also good with Rose wine.
Whatever you decide, make sure you get plenty of selections in so that your guests can choose for themselves which wines they like – this is the secret to a great wine party – whether in summer or winter. Enjoy!
|Writer – Katrina Norman – is a freelance writer from England who covers both wine and travel for a number of journals. Whether you’re looking for cheap wine by CityLink delivery or a great place to enjoy a glass of wine, Katrina will point you in the right direction.|