Summer wines matching barbecue feasts

Match the right wine for the barbecue.

Match the right wine for the barbecue. - Credit: Archant

The sunny weather is back again making the social distancing guidelines a little easier to live with - at last we can sit out in the garden and enjoy a glass of wine whilst the barbecue is heating up. It’s time to find the ideal light white, fragrant rose or light red to complement delicious al fresco meals.

My list of aperitifs includes old favourites such as the Italian Gavi and Orvieto, a tangy, zesty New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a French Viognier from the South of France such as that from Mont Rocher. Dry Sherry is also in this list especially the current En Rama.

There’s lots more to try – the lemon fresh dry white Pecorino from Italy or the delicious Assyrtiko from Greece are high on my list at the moment. Although Pecorino has a light citrus aromas and light fresh peach notes it is also great with many cheeses including the one it shares a name with but not with strong cheddar or blue!

The increasingly trendy Picpoul de Pinet from the tiny Pinet region is a great palate refresher with its lovely zesty fruity flavours. Young French wines from blends such as Ugni Blanc and Colombard grapes, Chilean Sauvignons and Godello from Spain are also worth seeking out as aperitifs.

Crisp salads and light meat or fish dishes that are so appealing on hot sunny days some of the best wines are the light young whites from the Loire Valley in France such as the Touraine Sauvignons etc. Look towards the Atlantic Coast near Angers and you’ll find Muscadet - there has been a resurgence of interest in this wine following changes in the appellation laws and contemporary Muscadets have regained some of their appeal.

If you like Muscadets look out for some of the crisp uncomplicated whites from the Albarino grape in Galicia in north-west Spain. These wines are full of flavour yet light and refreshing as are their Portuguese counterparts made from the Alvarinho grape with a lovely minerality and crisp yet fruity dryness. New Zealand Pinot Gris is a good alternative to a Sauvignon as is a Chenin Blanc from South Africa such as that made by Jeremy Borg under the Painted Wolf label.

Roées come into their own at this time of year with their light touch, but no longer are they typically nondescript or slightly sweet. Look out for new rosés from traditional red wine making regions such as the Albia Rosé from Tuscany made from the Sangiovese grape by the renowned Chianti producer, Ricasoli and is light, fragrant and refreshingly fruity with a lovely soft note but still dry. Southern French Rosés such as the light coloured, fresh roses from Provence and those from the Languedoc Roussillon with their vibrant yet light raspberry, strawberry and cherry notes are quintessentially summer wines to make the most of though they’re great all year round.

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Barbecue reds need to have some ‘bite’ to accompany the chargrilled flavours and often this is best in young reds such as the vibrant Merayo Mencia from Bierzo, Mont Rocher Carignan form the South of France, Romanian Pinot Noir and a definite wow is the Visconti della Rocca Salento Primitivo from Puglia – all full of flavour and great character. Worth a try!