Whites of the month
1996 Con Class, Rueda, pounds 3.49 Kwik Save. From the flat plains of the bread basket of Spain near Valladolid. Rueda's home-grown Verdejo grape is blended with Viura and a touch of aromatic Sauvignon Blanc to create a peachy, full-flavoured Spanish dry white with a refreshing citrus-peel tang.
1997 Castillo de Molina Reserva Semillon, Lontue, pounds 5.99, Safeway. Semillon is turning out to be a useful arrow in Chile's sheaf of white wine grapes. This exotic dry white from San Pedro has a lemon-meringue-pie creaminess and tropical citrus-fruit freshness.
1996 Vergelegen Chardonnay Reserve, Stellenbosch, pounds 9.99 Oddbins. This finely crafted, modern Cape Chardonnay by the talented wine-maker Martin Meinert is made in the Burgundy mould, with stylish cinnamon and clove oak characters and an intensity of flavour which balances the sweetness of buttered popcorn with a refreshingly lemony acidity.
Reds of the month
1996 Due Rossie Merlot Refosco della Venezia Giulia, pounds 3.19, Asda. In case summer does decide to peep through the clouds, this is a thirstquenching, cherryish rosso, made by Australian winemaker John Worontschak.
1995 Chateau de Cazeneuve, Pic Saint Loup, Les Terres Rouges, pounds 4.99 Fuller's. North of Montpellier, Pic Saint Loup is one of a growing number of oases of quality wines in the Languedoc. This is a soft, spicy Mediterranean blend with juicy blackberry-like fruit and a rustic dry bite that calls out for wild boar, failing which, pasta with a rich Bolognese sauce will do nicely.
1996 Leef op Hoop Cabernet Sauvignon/ Merlot, pounds 6.99 Unwins. Leef op Hoop (`live in hope') is fresh, silky soft and juicily blackcurrant with an attractive veneer of spicy oak to round it out nicely.
Fizz of the month
Waitrose Cava Brut, pounds 4.99 Waitrose. For August, a versatile fizz which can be enjoyed on its own or, to make it go further, with fresh orange juice for buck's fizz or cassis for a Kir Royale. Made from a traditional Catalan blend of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello, this new-look methode champenoise Cava from Castellblanch balances fresh-apple fruitiness with the bubble- filled texture of a whipped-cream mousse