Natasha Heard: The very best wines for drinking in the sunshine
Summer has landed. We’ve waited patiently and we have no idea how long it will last so dust off the barbecue, grab yourself some charcoal and stock up some great wines to pair with your meaty treats and light bites. We’ve hand-picked some of the lightest reds, brightest roses and most sparkly and refreshing whites that we think will help you through these warm times. Take note, we’ve got some good ones here.
‘From the Oenothèque 10’
An elegant sparkling wine with exceptional balance and poise from English producer Furleigh Estate’s. Consisting of 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier, this has an attractive pale golden hue with a continuous stream of very fine bubbles.
Alluring floral aromas of hawthorne and almond blossom mingle with butterscotch and nougat, alongside sweet apple tarte tatin, panettone and a hint of marzipan. Flavours of preserved lemons, yellow peach and nectarine with medlar and russet apple marry toasted brioche and notes of hazelnut on the palate. The mousse has a wonderfully soft, creamy texture with beautifully balanced acidity plus a touch of saline minerality on the extremely long finish.
Serve this wonderfully food-friendly sparkling wine well-chilled with savoury pastry dishes such as salmon en-croute or seafood filo parcel. Also pairs well with poultry dishes such as chicken with garlic mushroom cream sauce.
Blanc de Blancs 2013
A deliciously pale golden colour with soft green shades and a pleasing flow of delicate bubbles, this Blanc de Blancs has all the characteristics of Chardonnay – white and citrus fruits, honey on the nose, clean and mineral flavours with a touch of pastry and brioche on the palate. Exceptional winemaking ensures a well-balanced yet refreshing acidity with a creamy mouthfeel and long, complex finish.
Taittinger Nocturne City Lights NV Champagne
With a pale yellow colour and delicate fine bubbles this Champagne’s nose is subtle, fresh and reminiscent of white blossom and ripe fruit, with overtones of yellow peaches and dried apricots. On the palate it is soft, fresh and mellow with delicate floral and ripe fruit flavours. The aftertaste is long and soft with a subtle sweetness. All in all it is rounded, rich and well balanced, smooth and creamy.
Denbies Cubitt Blanc de Noirs 2013
Pale gold in colour, this full-bodied wine has a fine mousse and a creamy, rich texture. Complex aromas and flavours of baked pear and rose petal are complemented by a hint of strawberry and an underlying minerality. Denbies Cubitt Blanc de Noirs 2013 was awarded Gold in the Best English Blanc de Noirs category at the 2018 Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships so you know it’s going to be good with this seal of approval.
Jenkyn Place Brut Cuvée 2013
A gold winner at the Sommelier Wine Awards, this is young and fresh in style, while on the nose there is a whiff of flinty smoke, lead pencil and chalky green apples. Youthful still, even 4 years after vintage, and Chardonnay-dominant as always, this wine combines the steeliness of a young Cotes de Blancs champagne with the tightrope acidity of the very best English sparkling wines. A wonderful aperitif to sip before tucking into a summer picnic, and also especially good with fresh seafood flavours.
This light, dry and fruity sparkling wine from Chet Valley vineyard is made in the Charmat method. Wine maker John Hemmant named his wine after the Skylarks which can often be heard singing melodically as they soar above his vines in South Norfolk. This exciting sparkling wine has notes of apples, pears, peaches and honey with good length, it is perfect for summer parties and is also vegan-friendly too.
Denbies Sparkling Bacchus 2016
The UK’s first Sparkling Bacchus wine to be made using the traditional method, this is a new release from Denbies and has a crisp and dry finish. Hints of Lavender and elderflower on the nose are overlain with brioche and the palate is fresh and fruity with flavours of honey.
Louis Delaunay Champagne
This delightful and elegant Champagne is made from 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Meunier and 15% Chardonnay grapes. The result is a lemony fresh wine with white peach flavour and citrus zing, making this a fine and delicate fizz, perfect for celebrating summer.
Martini Asti Ice
Recently launched, this delicious new wine has been uniquely created by the winemakers at Martini to be served over ice making it ideal for any summer occasion. Bursting with flavours of fresh pear and pineapple, with notes of grape, melon and peach, the Martini Asti Ice is set to be the must-have budget sparkling wine this summer.
Clos de Los Siete 2016
With a vibrant ruby red colour, this elegant blend offers amazing aromas of blackberries and plums with spicy floral notes. It is balanced and fresh with a pleasant acidity characteristic of the vintage, giving an excellent capacity to age. The Cabernet Franc, even though it accounts for just 1%, adds an agreeable hint of spice to the palate. Clos de Los Siete 2016 is made up of 54% Malbec, 18% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc.
Buy – vivino.com
Baron De Ley Reserva Rioja
This Reserva shows off a steak on the grill perfectly. It’s aged for 20 months in new oak casks and then matured in bottle to complete its evolution. Barbequed meat really brings out the fruit characters in this full-bodied Rioja with its deep cherry colour and complex aromas, making it the ideal pairing.
Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages ‘Combe aux Jacques’ 2018
This should be enjoyed quite cool in order to protect the delicious aromas of fruits and the delicate freshness, which is the signature of this wine. It has a good structure and will therefore be able to age several years. Enjoy with grilled and roasted red meats, salads and picnics, it is also perfect with pâté, charcuterie and lots of crunchy French bread.
Mount Rozier The Red Snapper Cinsault
This is a delicate and elegant red wine, made with carefully selected grapes from South Africa’s sunny Western Cape. It has floral aromas with ripe and delicate strawberry notes on the palate and is well-balanced and fresh, elegant yet intense. It is a versatile wine which would work well chilled on a hot summer’s day or served at room temperature as a perfect match for smoked or flavoursome fish, roasted meat dishes and spicy curries.
McGuigan Reserve Shiraz
Beautifully complex in flavour with vibrant red berry aromas, this is best enjoyed with red barbecued meats. An easy-going red that most guests will enjoy with no fuss.
Buy – Sainsbury’s
Denbies Ranmore Hill 2017
The 2017 vintage is made up of a bled of Pinot Gris, Bacchus and Chardonnay and is medium-golden straw in colour. With aromas of fresh white peaches, the palate is crisp and fresh with flavours of melon and white stone fruits, while underlying nutty and mineral notes give the wine complexity. As part of Denbies’ Vineyard Select range, this wine is made only in the best of seasons and varies in its varietal make-up depending on vintage.
Louis Jadot Mâcon Villages 2018
An extremely well made and balanced Chardonnay showing the lovely ripe fruit of the region that gives a balanced wine with a soft, gentle creamy mouthfeel with crisp apple characters all balanced by just enough fresh acidity. Best enjoyed with grilled and roasted white meats, fish, shellfish, mild creamy cheeses, salads and picnics. Especially delicious with barbecued king prawns.
Pessoa – Vinho Verde DOC
This lower alcohol (11%) wine is crisp, elegant and full of citrus and passion fruit aroma, while striking a beautiful balance between acidity, sweetness and minerality. Portuguese wine presents some of the best value in Europe and Pessoa Vinho Verde DOC could just be the perfect summer wine. Pair with grilled fish or chicken with a garden salad.
Honeycomb Journey’s End Chardonnay, 2018
A fully refreshing dry Chardonnay scented with subtle, aromas of toasted almonds and moreish flavours of fresh apples and peach. This beautifully balanced wine makes a brilliant match for many dishes, from a creamy chicken pie (on those cooler evenings) to pesto and pine nut linguine. This wine is ready for drinking and will keep for 3 years.
Buy: Marks and Spencer
Rosé and sparkling rosé
Jenkyn Place Rosé 2014
A dry, elegant sparkling rosé with delicate flavours of rosehip, redcurrant and cranberry on the palate and savoury notes of fresh bread, citrus and brioche on the nose. With a long, precise and linear finish, it is a wine that will continue to evolve gracefully for many years to come.
L’Esprit de Provence
A dry, fruity and elegant rosé made of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Rolle varieties, this wine has a pale colour with pink hues. Its nose is complex and aromatic with a hint of yellow peaches, passion fruit and floral notes, which can be found on the palate as well.
The wine is balanced with a long, fresh finish and lends itself well to a wide range of dishes and food styles. For example, it is comfortable being paired with ceviche, fish carpaccio or salt crusted sea bass, lobster linguine. It’s ideal with gazpacho, rabbit rillettes and for dessert, pair with seasonal fresh fruits.
Marrenon’s Roséfine IGP Méditeranée
Roséfine’s strong character and elegant, fresh, yet delicate, finish is the result of the grapes being taken from the vine at night-time. This, combined with an oxygen-free winemaking environment, helps capture and preserve the wine’s special aromas.
A blend of grenache noir, syrah and merlot, the wine has a pale pink colour with salmon hues, showing notes of citrus fruits and a touch of floral. Roséfine has a strong character, elegant and refined with a long and fresh, yet delicate finish. It is ideally paired with fresh fruit or a Niçoise salad.
RRP: £11 (75 cl) and £23 (magnum)
McGuigan Black Label Sparkling Rosé
A vibrant, fruity wine with refreshing strawberry flavours, this summery offering would go really well with smoked salmon or goat’s cheese crostini – yum!