PA Media’s Sam Wylie-Harris sums up the best tipples to remind you of the high summer
The lure of the vine can take us on a tasting journey with every glorious sip, without having to leave home.
If you had to sum it up, you could say this summer has been a tale of two cellars, writes PA Media’s Sam Wylie-Harris. Cracking open the wines we’ve been hoarding because, during lockdown, we couldn’t get our hands on anything else, and easy drinking styles to see us through endless weekends at home and staycations.
And both have stirred our imagination. Whether it was a heavy red to remind us how much we love a Sunday roast at the pub – but are just as happy firing up the BBQ to accommodate a rich Argentinian. Or splashing out on a fancy French rosé to evoke those lazy, hazy carefree days of summers past. Such is the lure of the vine, it can take us on a tasting journey with every glorious sip, without having to leave home.
Make the most of the last of the summer wine with these top drops…
1. Viña Ventisquera Root: 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Chile, £7.75, Morrisons
Fresh as a daisy, this savvy blanc hints at summer meadows and freshly cut grass, with tropical, citrusy aromas and a lively crisp palate of fresh pineapple, pear flavours, herbs and gooseberry. Fruit forward with fresh acidity, brilliant balance and concentration, it’s tailor-made for laid-back lunches .
2. Trivento Reserve Shiraz 2019, Mendoza, Argentina, £8, Tesco
Want to do more with those smoky BBQ ribs? Something with spicy notes of smoke and vanilla to complement the spicy rub? Meet Trivento’s new Reserve Shiraz, to accompany its bestselling malbec. A meaty shiraz with smoky vanilla oak spice and bags of peppery blackberry fruit, the finish is long and smooth with enough intensity to handle tangy, sweet BBQ sauces. A real crowd-pleaser.
3. Torres Viña Esmeralda 2019, Spain, £9, Tesco
Fragrant and uplifting, this medium dry white captures the essence of the Mediterranean, with its delightful florals and hints of orange blossom. Soft with an enticing silky palate, it offers delicate notes of exotic fruit and a honeyed, floral freshness. Pretty and appealing, it’s made for terracotta terraces, but will feel just at home in your urban haçienda. Enjoy with seafood.
4. Côtes de Provence Saint Victoire Rosé, 2019, Provence, France, £12, Marks & Spencer stores
We’ve been flirting with Provençal pinks all summer, but our love affair with one of the region’s greatest exports (apart from lavender, tapenades and herbes de Provence) feels like we’re still in that first flush of romance. What we love most about this garden party-pleaser is the square shouldered bottle, powder pink colour, balance of freshness and ripe berry fruits edged with blossomy, peachy notes, fresh acidity and seductive, silky texture.
5. Adnams English Bacchus 2018, England, £13.99, Adnams
If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air… think the best bag of fish ’n’ chips sprinkled with salt and vinegar as you’re sitting by the sea. And what goes best with that deep-fried batter, flaky fish and chunky chips? A crisp glass of English bacchus. Similar to sauvignon blanc, it has the citrusy freshness, with floral charm and zippy acidity, to make it the perfect foil for batter and tangy tartare sauce.
6. Domaine du Gros Noré 2017, Bandol, France, £22, Lay & Wheeler
Provençal rosé not your thing? Be prepared to be blown away by one of the Riviera’s best kept secrets – a ravishing red from the village of Bandol. A rare beast (it’s grown in small quantities) and powerful blend of grapes (predominantly mouvedre), these wines are rich, complex and fine-tuned, with herb-infused, sun-kissed fruit and spice. Utterly gorgeous from beginning to end, sip and savour with one of this summer’s hottest book reads.
7. Maree d’Ione Organic Fiano IGP Puglia Tube, Italy, currently £20.79 (was £25.99), 2.25L, Waitrose
We may have missed out on epic summer socials, but we can still picnic in the park and find the perfect wine to carry across verdant gardens and beauty spots. Take this tip-top tube for example, which offers a slice of Southern Italy with fresh pear and citrus flavours, and hints of honeysuckle and nuts peeking through. One of the best boxed wines around, it can be kept in the fridge as your go-to white at the push of a button.
8. Chapel Down Rosé Brut NV, Kent, England, £26.99, Waitrose
It’s been a bumper summer for English sparkling wine producers. Partly thanks to the trend – especially during lockdown – for shopping for home-grown produce. Take this Chapel Down rosé – made from pinot noir, it’s beautifully expressive with red berry and shortbread aromas, a vivacious, fruity palate and crisp, tangy finish. A countryside escape in a glass.