For summertime you want freshness in your wine above all, particularly as we tend to eat lighter at this time of year regardless of the weather. Freshness comes from acidity but also from balance in a wine which can be found in oaked Bordeaux style blends as much as in light rosé.
O’Briens have a good summer rosé offer running until the end of August with any second bottle purchased costing half-price. These include the always excellent Chateau de Sours Bordeaux (€16.99) and the light but fragrant Chateau Riotar from Provence (€16.49). In all O’Brien’s have ten rosé on offer and most are worth trying, but I found the usually reliable l’Ostal Cazes Rosé (€14.99) a little light and unexciting this year. O’Briens have some new wines this month, including a Viognier from their excellent Uruguay producer Atlantico Sur — perhaps suitable for toasting some Suarez goals on June 19 when they play England. Also watch for the new vintages from the Insight range from New Zealand and good value Italian and Spanish reds.
Aldi are expanding their Exquisite range later this month. It is virtually impossible to get much complexity into any wine costing under €10, but a good proportion of the Aldi wines I tasted were cleanly made and good for their price.
Some of these wines wont be available nationwide until the end of June but watch out for their new Picpoul de Pinet and Mendoza Rosé. Chateau Marot Bellevue 2012 from Bordeaux is also well worth €7.99, although I suspect it needs another six months in bottle to show at its best.
Sherry week finishes on Sunday and you will still find flights of Sherry on pour in l’Atitude 51 and available for tasting in good off-licences such as the Celtic Whiskey Shop and O’Briens in Beacon.
The Grillo grape is widely grown throughout Sicily and worth exploring as an inexpensive fragrant but crisp white wine perfect for summer. This has fine peach and floral aromas and a light clean finish — try with some grilled fish or barbecued pork chops.
From the Uco Valley in Mendoza this has good typicity with lightly smoky black plums aromas and soft juicy fruit but also a lightness of touch and some freshness on the finish — flavours well suited to barbecue food. Other Exquisite collection wines to watch for include the Provence Rosé and the Australian Shiraz.
Made by a former senior winemaker at Cloudy Bay (Eveline Fraser) this is in the French (Alsace) style with lots of fragrant flower and apricot aromas. The wine is weighty in the mouth but has a clean lingering finish showing elegance and balance and would be perfect for sipping on its own or with light barbecue food.
This is a light (11.5% abv), dry and supremely refreshing Riesling that will convert anyone that has doubts about this grape. This has no petrol aromas (an occasional Riesling characteristic), just fine green apple and creamy lemon aromas and a crisp zingy finish.
From a spectacular modern winery in Navarre this might sound at first like a winter wine but thanks to the fresh clean finish I think it also well suited to summer. A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet this is spicy and complex with supple fruit and dark chocolate and plum flavours and a touch of mint on the finish.
Aldi’s sparklers are one of the best parts of their range from the zesty Chardonnay based Crément du Jura down to their basic Prosecco. The Veuve Monsigny Champagne however is worth the extra few Euro for those classic citrus and biscuity Champagne aromas and for its elegant mousse and mouth-feel.