Drink in the sun: The season's best wines
From complex English sparkling wine to juicy Sicilian reds...
Sunday 16 June 2013
Gusbourne Brut Reserve 2008
The summer celebration drink should now be an English sparkling wine, since their flavours embody sunshine and countryside, with subtle hints of meadows and wildflowers. Made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, this recent award-winner from Kent has become complex and savoury from ageing. £24.99, gusbourne.com; £28.99, winepantry.co.uk
Champagne Jacquart Mosaïque Rosé NV
For some, there is no substitute for champagne, but why not try one of the lesser-known houses, such as this Pinot Noir-dominated blend full of flavours of wild red berries and cherries. Currently on offer, it is a great summer aperitif. £27.50 (normally £32.50), greatwesternwine.co.uk
Prosecco Frizzante La Jara Organic
This is just so much fun – a refreshing, vibrant, organic, deliberately unpretentious but well-made Veneto prosecco, just the ticket for a beach picnic or barbecue. Just don't forget the corkscrew – it is a normal cork, kept in place with a, er, string… There is an equally joyous rosé version. £10.95, swig.co.uk
Famille Negrel Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire 2012
Some Provencal rosés are quite expensive for what they really are, but this typical blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah is perfect for less than a tenner. Subtle herbal and tart fruit flavours, dry and slightly spicy and bliss to drink ice-cold, with bouillabaisse, on a warm evening. £9.99 (or £8.99 each for two if bought as part of purchase of six mixed bottles), majestic.co.uk
Three Choirs Rosé 2011
There are some extremely creditable English rosés emerging and this could hardly be a better example, from a vineyard nestled in the warm Gloucestershire microclimate and made from the Seyval Blanc, Triomphe and Regent grapes. Crispy, refreshing and bursting with raspberry and strawberry flavours, this is just the thing to accompany bowls of them or a summer pudding. £8.81, three-choirs-vineyards.co.uk; £10.85, jascots.co.uk
Chateau Plantey Canteloup Rosé 2012
A darkly coloured, unpretentious rosé from claret country, made with mainly Merlot grapes, but delivering crisp, refreshing strawberry flavours and a very dry, clean aftertaste. Good value, but buy by the case to save money and serve at parties with tapas or mezze-style spreads. £7.50, (or £6.76 each for case of 12), bbr.com
Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Domaine Alain Chatoux 2011
Warmer weather is really the best time to appreciate the subtle virtues of the Gamay grape and the wines of Beaujolais Villages. Slightly perfumed, full of bright cherry and raspberry fruits, fresh and vibrant on the palate, this could even be drunk lightly chilled. Excellent with lighter meats such as poultry, pork or English rose veal. £10.95, bbr.com
Wirra Wirra The Widow Hen Shiraz Cabernet 2010
Not every summer occasion calls for a lighter wine – a leg of lamb, some strong cheese or a cool evening requires a more fulsome red. Robust, full-bodied and very dark, with tarry and brambly flavours, this is an unmistakably New World wine, but not overpoweringly so. Very drinkable. £9.99, ocado.com; £8.99, morrisonscellar.com
Baglio Nero D'Avola 2009
Although this medium-bodied Sicilian has forward flavours of black pepper and dark fruits, the fresh acidity of the grape keeps it surprisingly juicy, supple and easy to drink, particularly in warmer weather. A natural for barbecues or gatherings, and a red that works well with strongly flavoured fish dishes. £7.99, Marks & Spencer
Bolfan Primus Riesling Croatia 2009
The emergence of hitherto lesser-known producers such as Croatia is one of the great recent wine stories and this organic Riesling proves they can deliver wines of real quality. All the Riesling characteristics are here in good order: bone-dry, mineral, refreshing with those unique "petrol" aromas. Drink with Asian foods, salads and goat's cheese. £11.70, jascots.co.uk
Saint-Véran En Crêches Domaine Jacques et Nathalie Saumaize 2011
After all the tropical fruit flavours of New World Chardonnay, it is wonderful to return to a classic white Burgundy such as this – unoaked, sleek, stylish, mineral, refreshing, with just enough of a complex richness to give it a bit of edge. This is the wine for a lovely roasted flatfish such as turbot, surrounded by fresh herbs and lemon. £11.50, thewinesociety.com
Langhorne Creek Marsanne Roussanne 2011
More unoaked restraint here in a carefully made combination of peachy Marsanne and lighter Roussanne, both otherwise used in Rhône-type blends, which creates something on its own, albeit with plenty of New World flavours. Pair with firm white fish such as grilled hake or cod loin, baked under a spicy crust. £9.99, Marks & Spencer
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