Summer wines

by Tim Atkin on Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Forget hefty reds when it comes to summertime – lighter white wines and the odd chilled red wine make the best drinking

I’ve picked examples from varied sources, most of them unoaked and all of them light and refreshing. I’ve also included a red wine, made from the Gamay grape, which is ideal served straight from the fridge. I hope you enjoy them, come rain or shine, but ideally on a warm summer afternoon.

1 2007 Riff Pinot Grigio, Venezie (£5, 12%, Asda)

There are plenty of cheaper Pinot Grigios on the market, some of them very neutral in flavour, but I’d advise you to trade up and buy a bottle of this attractive white from Alois Lageder, with its Cox’s apple, melon and fresh pear flavours. This is great value for a fiver.

 2 2008 Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde (£5.99 or £4.99 each for two, 10.5%, Majestic) Consistently one of my favourite wines for summer drinking, this northern Portuguese white is as refreshing as a dip in a mountain stream: crisp and slightly frothy with notes of citrus fruit and fresh limes. The low alcohol is a big plus point here.

3 2007 Cuatro Rayas Rueda Verdejo (£5.99, 12.5%, M&S)

Made in one of Spain’s best white wine regions, Rueda, this is produced entirely from the local Verdejo grape. It’s a crunchy, zesty white with flavours of grapefruit and greengage, and pithy acidity. Try it with anchovies.

4 2007 Macon Rouge, Cave de Prissé (£6.99, 12.5%, M&S)

The Gamay grape, known for its starring role in nearby Beaujolais, tastes even better when it’s lightly chilled. So slip this light, fruity number into an ice bucket for half an hour before serving yourself a large glass.

5 2008 Tesco Finest Tingleup Great Southern Riesling (£7.09, 12%, Tesco)

If you still think all Riesling is medium, try this elegant, bone-dry white from Western Australia, with its lime perfume and pithy, lemon zest notes. This wine ages well, too, if you can resist it.

6 2008 Taste the Difference Chenin Blanc, Western Cape (£6.99, 12.5%, Sainsbury’s)

Ken Forrester makes a range of Cape Chenin Blancs at different prices, yet the quality never dips. This has a little bit of vanilla oak, but the focus is very much on apple and guava fruit, with the faintest trickle of honey.

7 2008 Grüner Veltliner, Weingarten Weissenkirchen (£7.99 or £7.49 each for two, 12%, Majestic) The Viennese drink copious quantities of Grüner when the temperatures start to rise. This is peppery and complex, with no oak to mess with the flavours of Austria’s signature white grape.

8 2008 La Monetta Gavi del Commune di Gavi, Piedmont (£8.99, 12.4%, Waitrose)

The decision to keep this wine in contact with its fermentation lees for six months has given it a bit more weight, but it’s the tangy flavours that dominate your taste buds. Ultra crisp.

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