August is almost upon us which spells the beginning of the end of Summer (in my head at least), so I am focusing on wines for the sunshine.
Rosé is one obvious choice, however, I did looked at pink in late May so I include just one Rosé below.
Note that O’Briens still have their Rosé offer running where the second bottle of rosé costs half-price — wines like ‘L’Ostal Cazes, Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois Pinot Noir, Château Riotor Rosé and Rizzardi Chiaretto are all recommended.
Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé has been selling well this summer once again but at €34.99 it is probably not one you will be buying by the case.
Known as ‘Hampton Water’ thanks to its popularity among vacationing New Yorkers it is the Rosé of the moment and while I consider it a solid fruity rosé I do think the price a little inflated.
For the same money I would opt for Bandol such as Domaine Tempier Rosé (Karwigs, Whelehans, etc) or Domaine de Terrebrune (64 Wines) or perhaps Domaine Ott.
If you really want some glamour attached to your pink wine don’t forget Brad and Angelina’s Miraval (€30) is excellent and available in Whelehans, Terroirs, and occasionally in M&S.
For aromatic whites and fruity reds at this time of year I tend to look to Languedoc-Roussillon.
However consider Monastrell based wines from Spain, which work well served a little cooler.
Bodegas Castaño Hecula from Yecla (World Wide Wines, JJ O’Driscolls) is one example. Garnacha from Catalonia or Aragón would be my next choice — sub regions such as Monsant or Catalayud offering particularly good value.
We still have some festivals to look forward to, and I will be doing some wine and drinks events at Grub Circus Food Theatre at the All Together Now Festival in Waterford over the Bank Holiday.
My esteemed Irish Examiner colleague Joe McNamee is curating the Theatre once again and has lined up all manner of demos and shenanigans.
The All Together Now festival deserves massive praise for their embrace of local food and drink producers rather than relying on large corporate sponsorship, and it really was a major highlight event in 2018 for food and drink for me.
If you have a ticket definitely call over for a chat.
Best value under €15
Picpoul de Pinet is a huge appellation near the Mediterranean coast — sea breezes and the grape’s natural acidity keep the wines fresh and crisp.
Most on the market here are worth a try including the ones in Tesco, Dunnes and SuperValu but this is one of my favourites — lemony floral aromas, a fresh palate with lots of citrus freshness perfect for warm days.
Solas means joy in French and light in Irish so was a good choice of name by Laurent and Nessa Miquel.
This has ripe bright black and red fruit aromas, soft darker fruits on the palate with a lifting herbal edge to cut through the ripe fruit flavours.
This would work well served cool and is the classic match for some barbecued duck breasts.
Viogner is one of my favourite white wines to drink at this time of year, the aromatic stone fruit flavours seem more suited to sunshine.
I can rarely afford the good stuff from Condrieu but Languedoc versions are getting
better and better.
This has bright textured apricot and white peach fruit aromas, textured pear fruits on the palate and just enough acidity.
Best value over €15
I’ve mentioned my love of Minervois in the past — I rarely dislike the fruit-driven wines from this sub-region of the Languedoc to the North-East of Carcassone.
This is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah and has bright cherry and plum fruit aromas, soft berry fruits on the palate and a pleasing juicy freshness.
There is also lots of excellent rosé in Languedoc-Roussillon.
Few have as pretty a bottle as the LaFage and the wine is similarly attractive with a light salmon pink colour, aromas of peach and strawberry, textured and crisp on the palate with a lingering citrus freshness.
The less expensive Côte Est (€16.95) from this producer is brighter and fresher but this is a little more serious with a decent amount of Roussanne added which gives a nervy edge and rounds out the creamy soft Grenache Blanc.
Floral and textured with lingering stone fruit flavours.