Glasses at the ready: The best wines to buy this summer
Sunday 19 June 2011
1. Oudinot Vintage 2004
Buttery and biscuity aromas announce this vintage champagne, part of a range specially made for M&S. A full-flavoured mouthful with a golden colour and masses of very fine bubbles, it is lovely with canapés, particularly smoked salmon. A great sparkler for any kind of celebration this summer. But wait a few weeks and buy at the discount price. £25 (£20 between 4 and 31 July ), M&S
2. Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut NV
A touch of the native Spanish Trepat grape adds a little complexity to the Pinot Noir in this premium rosé cava from Penedès. Dry, elegant and refreshing, it abounds with summer-fruit flavours of raspberries and cherries and is ideal for sipping on a terrace on a sunny day, preferably with almonds, fried in butter. £14.99, Waitrose
3. Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs
An absolutely top-notch sparkler from a reliable Kiwi producer that stands comparison to the best champagnes, possibly because it is made from Chardonnay grapes by a French wine-making team. Toasty, creamy, but balanced with nice citric touches, this is the perfect modestly priced bubbly for a summer party. £7.99 (normally £8.99; minimum purchase of six bottles), majestic.co.uk
4. Rosé Bonbon Domaine des Diables 2010
Lovely, light and elegant rosé from Provence, the home of "pinks" and well worth paying the premium price for that special-occasion bottle. Made from Syrah and Cinsault grapes, it has delicious wild strawberry aromas, with a clean, refreshing taste of summer fruits and herbs. A wonderful match for lobster or other shellfish. £11.95, Lea & Sandman (or £10.95 as part of a mixed case with a minimum order of £100)
5. Casa Leona Rosé 2010
Cherries, raspberries and other red-berry fruits are the dominant flavours of this full-bodied, crisply refreshing rosé from Chile, made from a Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blend. A perfect wine for plates of charcuterie or robust salads and with enough backbone to make it a great accompaniment for barbecues. £6.99, M&S
6. El Prado Rosé 2010
After a hard day's work, everyone needs to restore their spirits with a good, versatile, cheerful but cheapish rosé hauled, ice-cold, out of the fridge on a warm summer's evening. Plonk it on the garden table for drinking with some tapas-style foods or simply grilled fish or chicken, as the sun sets and the birdsong slowly fades away into the twilight. £4.99, Waitrose, ocado.com
7. Bodegas Castro Martin Val Do Salnes 2009
Made from the Albariño grape in the verdant Galician region of north-west Spain, this is a fabulously full-on wine, with lovely fruit aromas and intense flavours of apples, pears and peaches and touches of lime and lemon. A pure mouthful and an excellent match for simply cooked shellfish. And a great bargain at this price. £9.99 (until 3 July; normally £11.99), M&S
8. Picpoul De Pinet, Domaine Félines Jourdan 2010
This rare grape, from vines grown near salty étangs on the very edge of the Mediterranean, just south-west of Montpellier, produces a wine of fascinating contrasts. Made to drink with the oysters and mussels farmed on the étangs or to accompany a fine grilled Dover sole, it is rich, almost floral and spicy on the nose and both bone-dry and full textured on the palate. £8.95, bbr.com (as part of minimum order of £100 for delivery)
9. Wild Valley Fairtrade Chenin Blanc 2010
Punchy, citric, tropical-fruit-flavoured and vibrant, this excellent South African white is not only a refreshing mouthful, but has a really strong backbone that makes it great to cut through pungent soft cheeses or complement a garlicky sauce for fish. £7.99, Sainsbury's
10. Franc Tireur, Domaine Reveille 2009
In the South of France, the Carignan grape used here is normally found in blends. But this terrific single-varietal, made from 100-year-old vines, has all the hallmarks of a big Languedoc red: intense, rich, with fresh flavours of dark fruits and the herby "garrigue" of the hillsides. Perfect with a butterfly leg of lamb spiked with rosemary. £12.50, Adnams
11. Tons de Duorum Red 2008
This new Portuguese wine, a great match for any pork- based Iberian cuisine, is one of the really sumptuous reds made from the Touriga Nacional and Touriga Granc grapes in the Duoro. Medium-bodied, smooth, elegant, it has enough rustic, spice-and-coffee edge to keep things interesting. £8.49 (minimum order 12 bottles), therealwineco.co.uk
12. Rioja Reserva Viña Eguia 2005
Plenty of ageing in oak barrels and the bottle have allowed the Tempranillo grapes in this traditional Rioja to develop serious flavours of dark fruits and spices, mingling with, er, tobacco and liquorice. Trust me, it works, and gives the wine a lingering finish best savoured with Spanish cheeses such as manchego or the blue Picos de Europa. £5.99 (each for two bottles as part of a minimum six-bottle purchase; normally £9.99), majestic.co.uk
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