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Party wines don’t need to be fancy – they’re there to pour, not pore over
If you open one of those vintage books about entertaining, it’s like looking into a different world. It’s all chicken galantines and moulded salads, stuffed celery sticks and bizarre sandwich fillings (sardines and stewed apple, anyone?), and the kind of party food that back then would probably have been accompanied by a glass of medium-dry white or a “summer cup”.
In fact, it’s as hard to imagine a world pre-prosecco, pre-rosé or pre-New Zealand sauvignon blanc these days as it is to envisage an Ottolenghi-free Guardian. Mind you, I’m not sure there is such a thing as a party wine, any more than there is a dinner party wine: it all depends on the menu, the theme (if any) and the guests.