Well spring is certainly springing at the moment, and that means the party season is just around the corner (maybe it’s already started for you?). I always find it a downhill run to Xmas once September starts; calendars start to book up and every weekend seems to have something happening.
Which brings me to this week’s subject – How to choose wine for a party or function
Maybe it’s a wedding, a birthday, or maybe a carpark at the Spring Racing Carnival; there’s certainly an art to keeping it functional.
I’m sure that many of us at one stage or another have been confronted by the unenviable decision of choosing between a number of uninspiring (and often frightening or borderline offensive) options for an event at a function centre. Unfortunately, many of these wines have been chosen using the following process
(a) will it send the guests blind? If no, continue
(b) Will it allow me to charge an ungodly mark-up for the function package? If yes, we have a winner.
but it doesn’t have to be this way!
Firstly, you need to choose a range of drinks that will suit everyone’s tastes; without making it too complicated.
Secondly, the wines you choose need to be sessionable. If you’re going to be having a few glasses (responsibly, of course) over the course of an afternoon or evening then you want wines that you don’t get sick of after a glass or two – and will broadly go with whatever you plan on eating.
Thirdly, don’t feel that you need to go with the ‘old favourites’ in terms of varietals. People will choose their drinks based on taste, so even if uncle Bill doesn’t know anything past a Shiraz or Cabernet, after a glass of your delicious Tempranillo he won’t really care.
And most importantly? This does not mean that you need to choose bland swill! Even a well chosen small selection should allow you to cover most bases if you pick carefully. One of the things I pride LTLT on is the range of delicious wines in my sub-$20 selection; and as many of you know, these wines well and truly prove that low price doesn’t mean boring or bland.
So what are some of LTLT’s top functional picks (as also endorsed by LTLT customers over the last 18 months)?
The clear, almost unchallenged favourite on the sparkling front is the Vallformosa ‘MVSA’ Sparkling, a wine that is bursting at the seams with bright citric fruit and is country miles in front of anything that usually gets offered at functions. Also worth a mention is the Oakdene NV from Geelong, which is all green apples and more delicate flavours but stands out in a crowded pack.
Both for functions or general drinking, it’s hard to top Hunky Dory’s ‘The Tangle’ Pinot Gris/Gewurz/Riesling for versatility, deliciousness and value . Going well with almost any food that you could choose to throw at it and with something to hit almost any palate it’s a proven winner time and time again. If you’re looking at straight varietals, Eden Road’s ‘Seedling’ Chardonnay is a great wine that’s true to varietal and made with more love than its (roughly $20) price point would suggest and the Rocky Gully Riesling from the crew at Frankland Estate utilises the prowess of one of Australia’s great riesling producers to bash out an unashamedly textural riesling that is striking for its drinkability.
The Rocky Gully winning streak continues with their Shiraz and Cabernets (Blend), both cool climate wines that are incredibly varietally expressive (i.e. they taste like great Shiraz and Cabernet should, not non-descriptive rubbish) and are stop-you-in-your tracks value. Another great favourite of LTLT customers both for loungeroom and function drinking is Avaniel Tempranillo, a medium-weight unoaked beauty that is loaded with aromatic spices and savoury fruit, and just slides across the palate.
So next time you’re planning a party, big or small, get in touch with LTLT and find out just how much better your function drinks can be!