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Beyond rosé: The best of summer drinking

By LLM Reporters on 6th July 2019

Wine expert James Lawrence picks out his favourite summer wines.

It’s a terrible cliché yet an undeniable fact: nothing defines summer like a chilled glass of rosé. The style, once relegated to what we might simply dismiss as ‘a poolside wine,’ is seriously popular at the moment and shows no signs of abating. Rosé’s popularity, however, isn’t just a fad, on the contrary it makes perfect sense. It works as a party aperitif, with salads and seafood and won’t clash with strongly flavoured meat dishes. So it will come as no surprise that rosé features heavily in this ode to summer wines.

And yet, and yet. There is far more to summer drinking than rosé, delicious as it is. We all have our comfort zones, in wine as in everything else. Yet wine is wonderfully various, and you never know what potential new favourites you’re missing if you never try it. So, here are some leads to more exploratory drinking, to accompany tried and tested summer wines.

Champagne

Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose

Taittinger Brut Prestige Rose

RRP: 39.99
Where to buy: waitrosecellar.com

It is hard to imagine a more perfect summer drink than this elegant, salmon pink coloured rose from Taittinger. A lighter rose style which seduces you with its beautiful soft scented strawberry, raspberry and citrus aromas and flavours.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Rosé, Brut

RRP: 65.00
Where to buy: bbr.com

A gorgeous, majestic wine of epic proportions, Billecart-Salmon’s rosé is in a class of its own. A blend of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir has produced a deep, intense Champagne with aromas of red fruits, smoke, liquorice, almond and grilled nuts. It manages to be both light and intensely flavoured at the same time. Worth every penny. More, in fact.

Rosé

2018 Mirabeau Pure Provence Rosé

RRP: £14.99
Where to buy: waitrosecellar.com

Mirabeau’s superstar rose is undoubtedly one of the finest in its class from the beautiful Provence region. A singular wine based on the Grenache grape grown to perfection, the wine benefits from a superior terroir and the formidable talent of the team at Mirabeau, led by founder Stephen Cronk. Expect red fruits, almonds, vanilla and creaminess by the bucket load.

Mirabeau Pret-a-Porter Rosé Can

RRP: £3.49
Where to buy: waitrosecellar.com

In May 2019, Mirabeau launched the first premium rosé packaged in a 250ml can – “Pret a Porter, Rosé to go!” Another great idea from the team at this iconic winery, Mirabeau has proven that canned wine is not always a poor relation.

2017 Joseph Mellot Sancerre le Rabault Rosé

RRP: £22.85
Where to buy: theguildfordwinecompany.co.uk

This superlative wine seduces you with it’s light, delicate aromas of rose petal, apple and red cherry. Fresh, elegant and delicious, one bottle of this fabulous rosé will never be enough.

White

2016 Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia

Ornellaia_Poggio alle Gazze 2016_photo

RRP: £42.45
Where to buy: winebuyers.com

A superstar white from venerable Tuscan winery Ornellaia, the Poggio alle Gazze is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, with a dash of Vermentino and Verdicchio. Its beguiling aromas offer beautiful citrus green herbs, honeyed minerality, and just a hint of tropical fruit. A welcome alternative to our ubiquitous wine choices.

2016 Passobianco Tenuta di Passopisciaro

RRP: £31.95
Where to buy: corneyandbarrow.com

Passobianco is a mineral-driven, unoaked Chardonnay from the spectacular vineyards of Sicily’s Mt Etna region. This vintage offers citrus and hints of pear and honey on the palate, underpinned by a lovely acidity and freshness. Wonderful!

2016 Diemersdal Wild Horseshoe Sauvignon

RRP: 25.95
Where to buy: laithwaites.co.uk

For those of us who are tired of fruit-driven, one dimensional Sauvignon Blanc, this unusual, but fantastic wine from South Africa is for you. Wild Horseshoe is oak-fermented and aged, lending the wine a rich, almost funky texture and aromas of tropical fruit, apple, vanilla and orange peel – something delicious and a little different for those who dare to go off the beaten track.

Red

2016 Toscana Rosso IGT “Nambrot” – Tenuta di Ghizzano

RRP: £41.74
Where to buy: tannico.co.uk

This intense, rich and velvety blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a touch of Petit Verdot for good measure is sublimely crafted by Tuscany’s top dog Tenuta di Ghizzano, one of Italy’s star wineries. It will more than stand up to a richly flavoured piece of BBQ ribeye, the perfect antidote to health freaks and vegan fever. It offers intense red berry, blueberry and vanilla aromas, the palate is similarly complex and would stand to age for a few years. But if I was you, I couldn’t bare to wait.

2014 Château Cantin Saint-Émilion Grand Cru

RRP: 25.99
Where to buy: waitrosecellar.com

Please don’t let the fact that this gorgeous St-Emilion is affordable bias you – this is a blockbuster, and make no mistake.The 2014 is a standout example from Chateau Cantin; expect an intense nose of black fruits, plum and spice, with blackcurrant, blackberry and mocha on the palate.

2015 Vérité : La Joie

Verite La Joie

RRP: £350.00
Where to buy: farrvintners.com

It needs no introduction – Vérité: La Joie is one of the world’s most magnificent red wines. Produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and varying proportions of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2015 is really starting to hit is stride. Its California’s ultimate gift to the oenophile, an outstandingly complex and elegant wine effortlessly merges force and finesse. It may not have quite the status of Lafite, but it is every bit the equal in quality – and even, some would say, superior. Today it remains one of California’s finest wines.