Summertime and the living is easy: warm days and long nights, the long-promised barbecue summer...may still materialise. Forget your brown lawn, get out there and soak up the sunshine, rejoicing in the fact that, like wine in moderation, the sunshine is now acknowledged to be good for you, hooray! So now that you have the green light for indulging in feelgood pursuits, we thought we would offer a few sybaritic suggestions to enhance your experience.
Wine complexity and subtlety tends to get a bit lost outdoors – so this is not the time to uncork your treasured bottle of white burgundy or revered claret.
Go for simple, bold aromas and flavours that can stand up to the different smells, temperatures and conditions of alfresco dining.
If it’s lunchtime keep it light – both in terms of the wine’s style and the alcohol level, or write-off the afternoon for siesta!
Prosecco, the Italian fizz is a perfect lunchtime wine: light and fruity in style, but dry and only around 11% alcohol. Majestic stock the cracking Prosecco La Marca NV at £7.99 if you buy 2 bottles. You could mash up a few red berries or soft peaches and mix with the fizz to make a pretty and delicious summer cocktail.
Talking of strawberries and cream, try this classic summer pudding with a Moscato d’Asti also from Italy, it’s sweet, lightly sparkling with loads of fizzy pear fruit, but just 6-7% alcohol. Local wine merchant Les Caves de Pyrène has Vittorio Bera’s delicious Moscato d’Asti for £14.04.
Ah, Salad Days, and for anything with a vinaigrette dressing, then a rosé is the best wine to serve. White wines end up tasting too sharp and lose their fruit; the tannins in red wine react really badly with the oil and vinegar making a horrible match!
As for which rosé to choose – our last article provided plenty of food (or drink) for thought. You can read it online on Liquid Assets here http://heatherdougherty.blogspot.com/2010/07/bunch-of-roses.html
“To BBQ or not to BBQ, that is the question” with apologies to William Shakespeare
Chargrilled meat needs wine that is bold and big on fruit and flavour. The words Australia and Barbie go together like, well, cork and bottle, so it’s perhaps no surprise that Aussie Shiraz is the ultimate barbecue wine. Big, juicy fruit, a subtle whack of tannin and a sometimes not-so-subtle whack of alcohol to go with it. Chateau Reynella, in McLaren Vale, South Australia, have been making classic Aussie shiraz for years, but the price has been creeping up to frankly silly levels. But get thyselves to Waitrose sharpish and you can snap up a bottle of this for the relative bargain price of £10.99, “beauty, mate!”
For white wine drinkers, something made from the Viognier grape has plenty of apricot and peach fruit to stand up to “toss the shrimp on the Barbie” situations. But it can sometimes lack a bit of refreshing acidity – so Chilean winemakers Anakena have come up with the idea of a Viognier, Riesling and Chardonnay blend, which they call Ona, available at Oddbins for £10.99, or £8.79 as part of a mixed case.
Keeping your cool - You need to think about how you’re going to keep the white wines cold of course. Fridge space can be taken up with food, so consider putting ice in cold water (much more efficient than ice alone) in a bucket for your white and rosé wines.
Consider chilling the reds, very chic and continental. On a hot day, red wine at room temperature can seem a bit soupy and un-refreshing. Chilling could be the answer and some red wines respond well to the treatment. In general, red wines that work well chilled need to have plenty of fruit and not much tannin. So think juicy, fruity, jammy and young.
Brown Brothers’ Tarrango from Australia was designed to be chilled – and also to accompany spicy foods. It’s widely available in supermarkets including Waitrose at around £6.50. Beaujolais is the classic French wine for chilling and drinking in the summer months. It has bags of raspberry and cherry fruit and, importantly, not too much tannin. Try Louis Jadot’s Combe aux Jacques Beaujolais-Villages 2008, £8.97 at Waitrose.
Libatious corruptions, such as Sangria are a great accompaniment in the garden or on the beach. Having lived in Portugal for a long time Heather A has smuggled in a couple of special Sangria recipes from celebrated restaurants:
Alambique is family owned, and probably the most popular restaurant in the Algarve “Golden Triangle”, the canteen for visiting celebs.
Recipe: Half fill a large jug with ice and a handful of chopped citrus fruit and apple. Add a cinnamon stick and a sprinkling of sugar. Fill your jug one third full of either red OR white wine, then one third of lemonade. Add a generous dash of Brandy and ideally a gulp of Liquor Beirao and a shot of Triple Sec. Stir well and top up with lager. (If these liqueurs are not available use your imagination.) Serve on ice.
Evaristo – a hut on a small beach hidden and protected by rocks, reached by dinghy expertly navigated by tanned and muscular young men, all of whom answer to the name of José! You are really ready for refreshment after jumping out of the boat!
The signature drink is Champagne Sangria Evaristo and is a knockout. Chopped strawberries, Rum, Triple Sec and Brandy are mixed with Champagne and loads of ice to add the necessary water content. Blissful and guaranteed to make all your barbecue guests so happy that they will not care if the burgers are burnt.
“Spare rib anyone?” Adam
For more recipes and ideas visit our website www.redwhiteandrose.co.uk