New ideas or old favourites for the summer?
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New wines from emerging regions are appearing on the shelves of wine merchants and supermarkets all the time and they are definitely worth trying.
However, amidst the flurry of wines from Macedonia, Brazil and China it is easy to forget wines from traditional regions that were once in favour and now forgotten. For an alternative to the New Zealand Sauvignon et al, it's time to go back to producers that continue to make delicious wines. Wines from the Loire Valley, Alsace and Beaujolais, Italy, and also sherries from Jerez to name a few are in this group that were once in favour and lost out to the high quality but brasher bolder stars of the New World.
As wines from around the world proliferated on UK shelves wines from Alsace fell out of favour together with those of Germany though when tasted are often liked and bought only to be forgotten again. The lovely aromatic Alsace wines made from Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer grapes to name a few are crisp fruity and stylish and definitely worth a try. If you like the ripe fruit notes of New Zealand Sauvignons and Pinot Gris then they offer a great alternative.
Don't be put off by the tall bottles or the Germanic sounding names as like current German wines they are refreshingly fruity and delicious.
Since the days of Beaujolais Nouveau it is largely forgotten that there is much more to Beaujolais than just this fun bubble gum wine and the more serious wines with fuller, more complex flavours derived from oak aging are worth seeking out.
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The Gamay grape produces well-balanced wines full of flavour yet elegant and silky, with a refreshing thread of balanced acidity. It shows its full potential in the named villages/regions including Regnie, Moulin a Vent and St Amour where the wines are quite full flavoured, whereas Fleurie has lighter flowery flavours as the name suggests. They match the vibrant Gamay fruit and light tannins of Beaujolais so it is an easy choice to accompany lighter dishes.
This is also true of some New Zealand Pinot Noirs like the Old Coach Road from Seifried Estate - lovely light wines with plenty of fruit and soft ripe tannins to make them easy drinking in the sunshine.
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They can be lightly chilled too making them even more appealing too.
Italian wine producers keep introducing us to many new grape varieties and if you love a light crisp dry white wine check out Pecorino (the same name as the cheese!), and Gavi from Piemonte with their lemony aromas and lovely mouthfilling texture or the Catarratto made mostly in Sicily.
In Salento there are some lovely light but full-flavoured, yet lowish in alcohol reds made from the Primitivo grape - they are good value too!
Sparkling wines are great in warm weather, bubbles make them fun to drink. Check out some of the lesser known sources such as Limoux in the south of France, Franciacorta in Italy, Argentina and many others make methode traditionelle quality wines at half the price of Champagne and delicious too!