I should have learnt by now that in any attempt to pacify the rain gods, the words to be avoided are barbecue, rosé and picnic. Despite sunshine at the time of writing, it's generally business as usual, ie grey skies, by the time of publication. At least when the sun comes out you can have a few bottles ready to suit the rare occasion.
Against the usual run of summer whites, wines I've selected with the barbecue in mind are juicy, affordable reds bursting with guts and flavours. I'm not fanatical about food and wine matching, but there's something incomparably satisfying when the opulence of juicy ripe fruit in a red wine is offset against the savoury juiciness of a tender piece of barbecued meat and its lightly charred crust.
Beaujolais is the quintessential summery red. At the affordable end of the spectrum, it would be hard to beat the bright and nubile strawberryish fruit of the 2011 Beaujolais-Villages, £8.74, Majestic, although the fragrantly cherryish and summery 2011 Waitrose Beaujolais, £6.99, gives it a run for its money, as does the exuberantly mulberry-beaujoloid quality of the 2012 Paul Mas Merlot, £7.99, Majestic. One tip: chill such low-in-tannin reds lightly for maximum beneficial effect.
A cut above, the same producer's Taste the Difference Languedoc Red, £8.99, Sainsbury's, adds spice and vigour to its deliciously cherryish, robust fruit, while a useful budget buy is the succulent 2011 Winemaker's Selection Costières di Nîmes, £6.99, Sainsbury's. The same applies to Tesco's Finest Touriga Nacional, down to £4.99 from £6.99, until 16 June, a bright, sweet, damson-plummy Portuguese red whose ripe fruit and rustic grip make it the perfect barbecue quaffer. A fine source of robust reds, Portugal also delivers with the 2010 Rufo do Vale Maria, Douro, £8.50, The Wine Society, a red full of succulent pepper and spice-infused blackberry fruitiness.
Further afield, look to South Africa and in particular the 2012 Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah, Swartland, £7.99, down to £5.99, until 11 June, Waitrose, a really juicy mouthful of blackberryish fruit shot through with spice and succulence of texture. Back in France, also on offer until 11 June, the 2012 Paul Mas Grenache Syrah, £6.79, down from £8.49, Waitrose, is a bright and juicy amalgam of dark berry and plum with a hint of the herby garrigue; and the 2011 Castelmaure, Corbières, £6.99, Morrisons, is just the ticket for barbecues with its garrigue herb, black olive and spice-infused blackberry fruitiness.Reuse content