Raise Your Glass!
Summer is here! As the days get longer and warmer, aromas of BBQs fill the air and everyone is drawn to them like bees to a honeypot.
On the grill you can cook a wide range of foods such as burgers, sausages, chicken and fish but pairing them with wine can seem quite a challenge. Fortunately, dining al fresco narrows down the choice slightly as we tend to drink lighter wines, so here are my suggestions.
Sparkling wine is not just for special occasions. In fact, bubbly can make any event feel special, and it goes well with almost all grilled food. Why not try the Sparkling Brut Rosé from Kingscote Vineyard in Sussex? Made from a blend of Bacchus, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, it’s bursting with strawberry fruit with subtle hints of citrus and is lovely and refreshing (11.5%).
If you don’t fancy a fully sparkling wine, why not try a Vinho Verde from Northern Portugal? These wines are naturally light and made in a slight spritzer style. I recommend Quinta de Azevedo (12%) from Waitrose which is crisp, light and refreshing; made from a blend of local grapes Loureiro and Pederna, it has intense aromas of fresh citrus – grapefruit with a hint of tropical fruit. Perfect on its own, but also pairs well with seafood, chicken or veggie burgers.
Rosé wines definitely add that extra something to outdoor gatherings and, served slightly chilled, they have slightly more weight than white wines to complement the flavours of grilled food. Bandol from Provence made from Mourvedre has more weight than the traditional pale Provence style and would pair nicely with juicy steaks and burgers. Similarly, try a Cotes du Rhone Rose from the Rhone valley made from local grape varieties Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah – light and refreshing with vibrant juicy berry fruits. Marks and Spencer (sold as a case of six).
In our home county of Kent, we have some excellent rosés. Biddenden Estate Gribble Bridge Rose (11%) is a blend of Dornfelder and Ortega – both having origins in Germany – which gives a dry, well-balanced wine with notes of raspberries. A delicious wine, perfect for BBQs and summer picnics alike; serve chilled to enjoy the full fruit flavour of this wine – just don’t forget to pack the bottle opener!
Available direct from Biddenden Vineyards at their vineyard shop and online at www. biddendenvineyards.com.
In warm weather, red wine on the slightly lighter side tends to work better, and may also benefit from, a brief spell in the fridge. Warm reds can taste flabby, jammy and alcoholic – cooler wines taste fresher.
Why not try a Beaujolais Villages made from the Gamay grape? Louis Jadot is a famous negotiant in Burgundy with vineyards all over the region and produces wine at all quality levels from basic Bourgogne Rouge to top Grand Cru. Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages (13.5%) from Tesco is made from grapes sourced mainly from Regnie in the north of Beaujolais and this classic fruity Gamay has real depth enhanced by the granite soil. Succulent and fruity with soft tannins, it has been created by a traditional fermentation rather than a semi-carbonic maceration, which adds weight and character to the wine.
A little outside the box, why not try a Zweigelt? Mainly grown in the Niederosterrreich region of Austria, it is now the most planted black grape in that country. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range do an inexpensive Zweigelt (13%) for just £10. With flavours of Morello cherry dominating, its zingy acidity is a great match for fatty meats such as lamb. Serve chilled.
Discover the Vine
Discover the Vine runs regular online wine tastings on Thursday evenings when we taste wine from a wide variety of countries and regions.
More information from www.discoverthevine.co.uk #thewinelady.