Whites to drink during a long, hot summer

It may have seemed like a heatwave to start with, but it looks like the very hot weather in the UK could be here to stay. With high temperatures forecast for the next four weeks at least, it’s time to talk refreshing whites.

Summer white wines are light and delicious, providing a nice contrast to the popular rosé. Sifting through the options available, we like to go for something light and fragrant with a hint of floral aroma.

Pairing with summer foods

Everyone needs some good white wines that go with summery food such as vegetable dishes, grilled fish and fancy salads. Particularly delicious with English peas and seasonal broad beans, white wine is the best choice for the hot months ahead.

Taking white wine with you on a picnic can be tricky, as it’s difficult to keep them cold enough, but it’s also a good idea not to over-chill the wine. At this time of year, it can be tempting to leave them in the fridge for days before drinking but, unlike with rose, white wines are often best well chilled but not ice cold.

French whites

Everyone gravitates towards big name wines such as Sancerre and Chablis, but the south of France is also a good place to look for some more individual wines. For example, Chateau Rives-Blanques Cuvee Occitania Mauzac 2016, which is made in Limoux from mauzac is a frangrantly delicious choice. Usually the mauzac is only found in local sparkling wines, so this white is a nice change, with light fruity flavours of peach and apricot working well with grilled fish.

Alternatively, a good Sauvignon Blanc from the same region does the trick. Abbots & Delaunay Les Fruit Sauvages Sauvignon Blanc packs in citrus and tropical fruit flavours with enough acidity to cut through richer dishes.

Vineyards above the village of Lagrasse turn out the Laurent Miquel Albarino with the Spanish albarino grape. Resulting in a crisp, elegant, fresh and clean flavour it goes very well with all kinds of fish and salad dishes.

Italian white

The Italian island of Sardinia is home to vineyards that make delicious wines, although they’re less well known in the UK as a rule. From up in the hills comes the Unmaredivino Terra e Mare Vermentino di Gallura, which is super refreshing with sharp apple and grapefruit flavours.

From the Italian mainland comes Sassi del Cadinale Gavi di Gavi, which is a smoky wine from the Piedmont. With lemons and spices threading through, it’s a lovely wine for seafood pasta.

Pinot Grigio is often the first choice for a summer wine and is seen as the typical Italian choice. Some people can assume it’s going to be a bland and uninteresting, but there are plenty of delicious choices around. For example. Redentore Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie is a natural wine (without sulphurs) and gives a full-flavoured, tangy taste with notes of pears and almonds. It’s great with richer cheese or fish dishes.

UK whites

Don’t forget the UK, which is well on its way to making a name for itself in the industry, particularly for sparkling and whites. Try Ortega Classic Ferment which is grown on the North Downs towards Kent. It has a depth of flavours including lychee, melon, elderflower and honeysuckle and means you can enjoy an old-fashioned hot English summer while enjoying a delicious English wine!

What are the best wines for an early summer barbecue?

At the time of writing, the UK is experiencing the hottest April temperatures for some years, and it’s reminded everyone to dust the barbecue off and get set for al fresco dining.

And just as important as the food is the wine. It’s often an integral part of the perfect barbecue, but we’re not just talking about serving up a random wine with your burger. It is possible to serve it correctly and with complementary food when you’re eating outside.

Classic wine pairings

Here are some classic BBQ/wine pairings, that will tantalise taste buds and improve the food – even if it’s a blackened sausage!

Ideal Wine - Summer barbecue

 

  • Steak – to enjoy your juicy, barbecued steak match it with a Zinfandel with its spicy, brambly flavour. Malbec or a Shiraz works well too.
  • Burgers – the perennial barbecue favourite is enhanced with Cotes du Rhone, Zinfandel again, Syrah or Touriga Nacional, which is a dark-skinned, rich Portuguese wine.
  • Chicken – a good old Chardonnay works best, ideally from a warm climate.
  • Sausages – Malbec, a Southern French wine or the Spanish favourite Tempranillo all work well.
  • Pork chops – choose a dry rose, a Riesling or a New World Pinot Noir to complement your pork. Obviously, a crisp cider also works well.
  • Salmon – a chilled Cava or Rose Champagne will hit the spot with this rich, oily fish. Or try a Pinot Gris, New World Riesling or the Beaujolais grape Gamay.
  • Halloumi – this sharp cheese works well on a barbecue, and even better when paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, Prosecco, Semillion of Chenin Blanc.

All-round wines

We’ve named many choices here, and even for the poshest barbecue, we know it’s not practical to buy every single one. So, here is a list of excellent all-round wines that match a variety of foods, are easy to find in the supermarket and not too expensive. Choose from:

  • New World Pinot Noir
  • Vins de pays reds and whites
  • Dry Rose
  • Malbec
  • New world Riesling
  • Sparkling Methode Champenoise.

All of these are light and enjoyable when chilled but have enough punch to cut through the strong flavours of whatever you have on your barbecue.

To chill or not to chill?

If it’s hotter than 20°C outside, then chilling your red wines is the way to go. Red wines are always served best at room temperature, which is anywhere between 13 and 18°C. The cooler red wine will offset the hot meat beautifully, and it’s the very best way to enjoy al fresco dining. If possible, only serve in traditional glasses and avoid plastic cups, as this improves the flavour.

Enjoy!