Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? What to Serve Your Party Guests

Everyone loves a party. Mostly. Unless you’re actually throwing the party, in which case certain questions can keep you up at night during the planning process. Who should you invite? What food do you offer a lactose and gluten intolerant vegan? Should you hide your Game of Thrones DVDs in case a guest spies them on your bookshelf and asks to borrow them?
We’d like to help quell your anxiety in at least one area: what wines to serve. Our Wine Director Tom has put together the Pick of the Bunch Party Case, a mixed case of 6 wines. We’ve tasted this case pretty thoroughly, and we think we’ve found something that each of your most challenging guests will love – from the gourmet to the party animals to the super-cool.
les_fleursWhat to serve: The Wine Enthusiast We recommend: Les Fleurs de Montblanc Chardonnay
Most of the time, having a friend who Knows All About Wine is brilliant. You can give them the job of picking wines at a restaurant, at a bar – everywhere, really, except when you’re hosting them in your own home. And then, suddenly, it’s a little bit intimidating and stressful.
Firstly, relax - it’s a party, and your wine enthusiast guest realises that a) you’re going to go through quite a few bottles of wine and b) most guests will be paying far more attention to the gossip than the contents of their glass. Anyone who knows anything about wine realises this isn’t the best time to crack open that challenging white Burgundy.
Secondly, the specific wine we’ve recommended has an impressive purity and depth of flavour. More generally, by serving Chardonnay over the increasingly popular Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, your Wine Enthusiast guest might think you’re making an impressively bold statement.
What to serve: The Hipster We recommend: Brownstone Winery Zinfandel
It happens at every party: you and your mates are just gearing up for a karaoke session centred on Kylie’s Greatest Hits, when in walks The Coolest Person You Know. And even though they’re your friend, and you know they’re actually a very nice person, you can’t helped but feel judged for the comfortable fit of your denim and completely unremarkable choice of reading glasses.
We can’t help you grow a moustache and ride a fixed gear bicycle. We can, however, direct you towards the most fashionable wine genre of 2014 – North American wines. Drop into the conversation that this Zinfandel is from California, and you might just hear about how your Hipster friend is actually really into Oregon Merlots right now, but this is cool too…
What to serve: The Life of the Party We recommend: Babot Cava Brut Nature
You love these guests. You really do. They’re fun and enthusiastic and want to celebrate everything – from your birthday to your cat’s birthday to your fridge’s birthday – with a glass of something sparkling.
And you love Champagne. You really do. You just also love being able to meet your mortgage repayments, and serving up glass after glass of Champagne can make this difficult.
Enter this artisan sparkling. Our Wine Director describes it as “a cava that will make converts”. Extra ageing means it has more depth and richness than your typical entry-level cava, and the thoroughly sensible price means you can keep serving it up to your guests for whom it’s not a party without a fizz filled flute.
What to serve: The Foodie We recommend: Montej Rosso
The one guest scarier to welcome into your home than the Person Who Knows About Wine? The Person Who Knows About Food. Unless you have a personal chef, or decide to “ironically” serve Monster Munch and Soreen loaf, your best course of action is probably to keep it simple.
One of the easiest ways to enhance food? Serve it with a complementary wine. This lovely Italian red is a great fit with party staples like charcuterie – a fancy name for some nice ham from the deli. It will also work equally well during a dinner party with simple pasta dishes.
The Guest Who Just. Won’t. Leave
 It’s 3am, everyone else left at midnight, and all you want to do is go to bed. The guest who just won’t leave (or take a hint, apparently) is hanging on for dear life, talking you through their step-sister’s holiday photos on their phone.
Now’s the time to crack open the £3.99 wine of uncertain origin they brought along with them. If that won’t clear a room, nothing will.