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The very best luxury wines for spring and early summer drinking

By Natasha Heard on 16th April 2021

As spring gets into full swing, embrace bright flavours and sprightly wine styles to match the season’s lighter, fresher menus. From food-friendly whites, aromatic reds and crisp rosés, through to indulgent sparkling wines and special bottles, these are excellent wines for celebrations and simple spring and summer suppers alike.

Sparkling

Denbies Sparkling Bacchus

Denbies Sparkling Bacchus

Pale straw green in colour with an elegant and persistent mousse, the 2019 Denbies Sparkling Bacchus is bursting with fresh honeysuckle, red fruits and rose petal on the nose. The palate is lean and crisp with a zingy citrus fruit acidity culminating in a long and creamy finish. Perfect on its own as an aperitif or with air dried ham, mild cheeses or even with white asparagus.

Price: £18.95
Where to buy: Denbies

Tesco Finest English Sparkling Rosé NV

Tesco Finest English Sparkling Rosé NV

This elegant sparkling rosé from Kent is produced in collaboration with the renowned Hush Heath estate. Grapes are hand-picked from the estate’s own vineyards where they grow in the region’s unique Weald clay soils. This celebratory fizz is produced using the traditional method, as used in Champagne, which results in fine bubbles and elegant flavour complexity. Bursting with notes of fresh strawberry, crisp citrus and a touch of rich brioche, it is an excellent choice for special occasions.

Price: £20
Where to buy: Tesco

Fenice Rive Di Manzana Brut

Fenice Rive Di Manzana Brut

Made from 100% Glera (Prosecco) grapes, this brut prosecco hails from the historical vineyards of the Mani Sagge Estate in Conegliano Conegliano-Valdobbiadene DOCG. Strong straw yellow in colour, the nose recalls the crust of bread and ripe fruit, like apple, with a slight floral tone. The refined perlage is fine and persistent, and thanks to its distinctive personality, this wine is the perfect accompaniment to fish dishes and white meats.

Price: £23.95
Where to buy: fenice-wine.com

Bottega Gold Prosecco

Packaged in a dazzling gold painted bottle with a fresh, crisp taste and crafted in the heart of Italy’s prosecco region, Bottega Gold uses hand-picked Glera grapes and is carefully created with artisan care and attention. A refined bouquet with fruity and floral notes delivers a soft, harmonious and elegant taste with lively yet balanced acidity that is sure to delight prosecco fans this festive season. This prosecco can be enjoyed alone as an aperitif, and it also goes particularly well with starters, seafood, risotto, grilled white meats and vegetable dishes.

Price: £24.99
Where to buy: ocado.com

Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs 2016

The second vintage of the elegant Sussex Sparkling. The Rathfinny Blanc de Blancs 2016 is pale honeysuckle in colour, with a sumptuous nose of lemon curd over buttered croissant, delicate bubbles accented by fresh grapefruit on the palate, and a generous peachy finish. This limited production, delicate Chardonnay-based sparkling pairs seamlessly with the purity of ultra-fresh crab.

Price: £39.50
Where to buy: rathfinnyestate.com

Taittinger Prelude Grand Cru NV

Taittinger Prelude Grand Cru NV

The colour is a brilliant, pale yellow with silvery highlights, reflective of the high proportion of Chardonnay; the bubbles are fine and form a lasting and delicately creamy mousse; while the nose is subtle and fresh. The initial mineral aromas quickly develop into green, floral scents with hints of elderflower and spicy cinnamon overtones. Flavours are dominated by intense fresh citrus fruit which then give way to a much fuller, well-bodied and mellow taste with flavours reminiscent of white peaches in syrup. The finish is long, rich and extremely expressive. This wine can be enjoyed as an aperitif but has the structure to match grilled fish and seafood.

Price: £56.00
Where to buy: Ocado

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2016

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2016

Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs 2016 is the estate’s multi-award-winning sparkling wine. Created from 100% Chardonnay grapes, this fizz has classic aromas of green apple and citrus, balanced with a palate of mineral notes and white stone fruits. No matter what the occasion, these award-winning English sparkling wines deliver elegance with every sip. Exclusively vintage, every wine is unique to each growing season and presents an authentic reflection of a specific time and place.

Price: £59
Where to buy: gusbourne.com

Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Rosé, Brut

Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Rosé, Brut

Billecart-Salmon has been a family-owned Champagne house for over two hundred years since it was founded by Nicolas-François Billecart. Most of Billecart-Salmon’s fruit comes from a small vineyard holding, though this is supplemented with grapes bought in from the Marne Valley and the Montagne de Reims. Meticulous production techniques, from the use of their own cultured yeast to its long, slow, cool fermentation, ensure that the family has 100 percent control of production. Billecart-Salmon is renowned for the quality of its delicate rosé – and rightfully so. This is a delightful rosé with a charming, fruity nose and palate with hints of roasted nuts.

Price: £64.95
Where to buy: wineutopia.co.uk

White

Croix de Bézard Picpoul de Pinet

Croix de Bézard Picpoul de Pinet

The grapes for this wine come from vines grown on ancient terraces facing the Thau lagoon. The unique geological structure of the soils, the long, sunny days and moderating influence of the Mediterranean Sea all combine to produce an intensely aromatic and fresh wine. With notes of lemon zest and white blossom, this crisp and refreshing white is delicious on its own or with seafood.

Price: £10
Where to buy: Tesco

Not Your Grandma’s Riesling

Not Your Grandma's Riesling

Not Your Grandma’s Riesling epitomises the new style of the Barossa and Eden Valleys. An aromatic lift of lemongrass, petrol and lime combines with a light spritz on the palate, which delivers quite powerful fruit with a lovely length and a minerality and apple blossom finish. Dry, with classic Riesling petrol notes, this is a flavoursome wine that pairs well with fish, salads and Asian cuisine.

Price: £14
Where to buy: northernwineandbeer.co.uk

Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve

Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve

Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve is ripe and fruit driven, and has a rich profile. Stone fruits such as white peach dominate the nose, while the palate is rounded with sweet apricot and a subtle spice on the finish. This is Sharpham’s largest production wine of about 20,000 bottles per year and consists of a blend of free run and pressed juice fermented in stainless steel tanks with a small proportion having French oak contact before being carefully blended. Pair this award-winning and oh-so tasty wine with chicken or seafood salads, light tapas dishes and paella.

Price: £14.10
Where to buy: Sharpham Dart Valley Reserve

Veiga da Princesa Albariño

Veiga da Princesa Albariño

This wine is made with only the finest Albariño grapes in the producer’s farm consisting of 18 hectares in the Tea County within the Apellation of Origin Rias Baixas in Spain. Driving the trellis vines allows the grapes to be fully ventilated and sunny, and the ideal characteristics of granitic terrain avoid much of the pesticide treatments. Thanks to this, the producer is able to eliminate the malolactic fermentation of wine and the delicate varietal aroma and fresh flavour characteristic is respected. With fruity aromas, a fresh, balanced crispness and an elegant aftertaste enhanced by a hint of citrus, this tasty wine can be enjoyed alone or with seafood, pasta and appetisers.

Price: £14.50
Where to buy: northernwineandbeer.co.uk

Tesco Finest Margaret River Brooks Road Chardonnay

Tesco Finest Margaret River Brooks Road Chardonnay

A new wine to the range, this elegant Australian white is made from Chardonnay grapes grown at the southern end of the Margaret River region, where cloudy skies and southerly breezes ensure they ripen slowly, developing layers of flavour and aromatic complexity. It is fermented in French oak barrels, which adds weight, texture and well-integrated vanilla spice to its lemon zest, peach and nectarine notes. This IWC Bronze Medal winner works brilliantly with food and particularly richer white fish or creamy sauces.

Price: £15
Where to buy: Tesco

STILL By Hattingley Chardonnay

STILL By Hattingley Chardonnay

Hattingley Valley, the family-owned Hampshire winery, has added its first-ever white wine to its collection of award-winning of English sparkling wines. The 2020 Chardonnay joins the brand’s STILL By Hattingley range that includes a 2019 Rosé and 2016 Pinot Noir, both released last year. 

The new release is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes. Pale lemon in colour with a soft green hue, this young and vibrant Chardonnay has wonderfully pronounced citrus, blossom and grapefruit aromas, with a hint of honey and pear. The palate is clean and fresh, with green apple flavours, and a creamy texture that is nicely balanced with its natural vibrant bright acidity. A fine and rich mouthfeel, with a long dry finish, the Chardonnay is perfect for alfresco drinking, pairing beautifully with barbecued monkfish or chicken – a crowd-pleaser when entertaining in our gardens this spring/summer.

Price: £19.50
Where to buy: hattingleyvalley.com

Domaine Durrmann, Zegwur, Gewurztraminer, Alsace, France

Domaine Durrmann, Zegwur, Gewurztraminer, Alsace, France

Normally the reserve of off dry, flabby wines, Gewurztraminer is becoming increasingly common with natural winemakers. This expression from The Durrmann family in Alsace is my personal favourite. It takes all the floral aromatics of Gewurztraminer but ferments it to dryness while maintaining a wicked acidity and ultra lively, energetic wine that just jumps out of the glass, the lack of any sulfur additions really allows this wine to sing.

Price: £22.50
Where to buy: shopcuvee.com

Weingut Pitneur, Perfect Day, Chardonnay Blend, Burgenland, Austria

Weingut Pitneur, Perfect Day, Chardonnay Blend, Burgenland, Austria

An orange wine that maintains freshness and acidity, the clue is in the name; perfect for a day of drinking wine. A blend of local varieties all macerated on the skins separately and blended together before bottling, the key is the chardonnay juice sees no skin contact so adds a real vibrant, zippy acidity to the wine. 

Price: £22.50
Where to buy: shopcuvee.com

Contino Blanco 2017

Contino Blanco 2017

Known and loved for its bold reds, the white wines of the Rioja region are just as varied, exciting and high-quality, and are having their moment in the spotlight. This spring, white Rioja is the drink of the moment; the perfect pairing for refreshing alfresco aperitifs, it is also the drink of choice for sipping alongside springtime suppers, matching beautifully with an array of dishes. A quality white Rioja, this wine from the producer Contino is made using a blend of Viura, Malvasia and Grenache Blanc grapes. The result is an elegant, floral white with hints of spice and crunchy orchard fruit. Great for pairing with mature cheeses or seafood.

Price: £31.10
Where to buy: Hedonism

Domaine Ferret Pouilly Fuissé 2018

Domaine Ferret Pouilly Fuissé 2018

Domaine J.A. Ferret – located in the Mâconnais – was founded in 1840 and is currently owned by Louis Jadot. It is run by Audrey Braccini, who has started the conversion of 20-hectare vineyard to biodynamic viticulture. Pouilly-Fuissé comes from one of the most prestigious denominations of Mâcon, south of Burgundy. Fresh, unctuous and balanced, it is the ideal companion for oysters and seafood.

Price: £33.60
Where to buy: North and South Wines

Rioja Vega Blanco Tempranillo Reserva 2017

Rioja Vega Blanco Tempranillo Reserva 2017

With nine authorised white grape varieties grown in Spain’s premier wine producing region, Rioja is home to an incredibly diverse array of white wines, from fresh, fruity and young, to more complex styles with hints of oak. These lesser-known gems are certainly worth exploring, with white Rioja sales in the UK increasing 19.2% in 2020 compared with 2019, a trend which is set to continue. This white Rioja from producer Rioja Vega is rich, intense and a brilliant golden colour. It has aromas of tea and honey with a subtle smokiness, hints of oak from barrel ageing are paired with citric and stone aromas.

Price: £39.99
Where to buy: House of Townend

Red

Tesco Finest Douro

Tesco Finest Douro

A deeply coloured, full-bodied red wine made from grapes grown along the steep banks of the Douro river in northern Portugal. The steep vineyards promote slow ripening in the grapes, resulting in brilliant flavour concentration and aromatic intensity. Full and fruity, yet elegant and fresh, it’s an excellent match for spring and summer barbecues.

Price: £10
Where to buy: Tesco

Radlow Hundred red

The Radlow Hundred estate falls within the undulating landscape previously known as the Radlow Hundred, an administrative area noted in the Doomsday Book. The family has been farming the beautiful Herefordshire countryside for eight generations and each bottle ignites a fond memory of their homeland. Made from Rondo, Pinot Noir and Regent grapes, the red wine is smooth, yet light, with the intense, rich dark colour bursting with lively red fruit and apple aromas. A hint of pepper lifts the sweet cherry flavours, while the silky structure of this easy drinking English Red leaves a powerful aftertaste.

Price: £18.99 per bottle
Where to buy: radlowhundred.co.uk

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Pinot Noir 2018

Domaine Drouhin Oregon Roserock Pinot Noir 2018

The Drouhin Family estate winery in the Dundee Hills, near Portland, Oregon, creates elegant, fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines forged from the family’s tradition of fine winemaking in France. The 2018 Roserock Pinot Noir is a lively, energetic expression of both the vintage and the Eola Hills. On the nose, blackcurrant and ripe plum are followed by crushed red flowers and clove, while the palate opens with intense cherry and cranberry, mixed with a hint of allspice and light notes of oak. Texture, balance, and length are all impeccable, making for a wine that drinks well now but should age very nicely for six to eight years and beyond.

Price: £28.50
Where to buy: VINVM.co.uk

Marsannay Mogottes Domaine Michel Magnien 2017

Marsannay Mogottes Domaine Michel Magnien 2017

Marsannay is the northernmost appellation in the Côte de Nuit in Burgundy. This is classic Pinot Noir, from a renowned producer, who has both organic and biodynamic accreditation for his wines. Dense and structured, with aromas of red berries with silky tannins and long length, this is best enjoyed with poultry or beef.

Price: £38.95
Where to buy: wineutopia.co.uk 

Rosé

Lady A rosé

Lady A rosé

The label is designed by prominent artist Damien Hirst for his good friend Markus Anderson, one of Soho House founding team and depicts a ‘social butterfly – very fitting for someone who spends so much time entertaining high-profile jetsetters. A gorgeous blend of organic Grenache and Cinsault grapes from the heart of French rosé culture, Provençal. This is a delicious, thirst quenching rosé that is delicate and elegant. Pale in colour, it is light, crisp and zesty, offering flavours of citrus, pink grapefruit, peach and raspberry with a long and refreshing finish. It is equally as popular served on its own as it is with food.

Price: £14.95
Where to buy: 31dover.com

Radlow Hundred rosé

Radlow Hundred rosé

Proud of their eight-generation farming heritage, Radlow Hundred’s small batch English Wine is a commemorative nod to their farmscape’s history and surrounding community with each bottle depicting fond memories of days gone by, while toasting to those yet to come. Their rosé, made from Rondo, Pinot Noir and Dornfelder grapes, boasts alluring summer berry aromas, which burst through with hints of green tea. The refreshing flavours of strawberries and limes balance the sweetness with a medium dry finish. Perfect for sunny alfresco dining.

Price: £18.99 per bottle
Where to buy: radlowhundred.co.uk

Alcohol free

Richard Juhlin Sparkling Rosé Alcohol Free

Richard Juhlin Sparkling Rosé Alcohol Free

This is an elegant sparkling wine that will bring sophisticated fizz to any celebration, meaning you don’t have to miss out on any of the festivities. World-renowned Champagne expert Richard Juhlin lent his name to this premium rosé sparkler, so it must be good. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, its soft flavour comes from careful ageing in oak barrels, while a silky texture reveals subtle notes of sweet berry, citrus and apple.

Price: £15.99
Where to buy: drydrinker.com