I always feel I am tempting fate when I write about wines for summer in Ireland — I feel as if the weather gods are waiting to thwart me should I even mention the garden or the word barbecue.
However like most Irish people, I’ve mastered the art of holding an umbrella while I barbecue, and we now have an inexpensive canopy to sit under, such is our determination to enjoy the wines of summer.
To be honest, I don’t drink that differently in the warmer months but I do alter the temperature of my wines.
I probably do drink more rosé and white wine but I still tend to go for fragrant whites such as Albariño and Godello from Galicia or Portuguese wines based on grapes such as Antão Vaz, Verdelho, Alvarinho, and Loureira.
If I want a very light fruity (and inexpensive) wine, I look to IGP Gascogne rather than Pinot Grigio.
For reds I favour fruity wines with lower tannins such as Beaujolais and reds from the Loire Valley such as Saumur and Chinon.
I am quite happy to chill my Côtes du Rhones and Languedoc reds a little and remember that the Spanish happily chill all their inexpensive reds during the summer.
Fridge temperature (five degrees) is a little too cold but leaving a bottle in the fridge for an hour should be enough to cool it without deadening the fruit.
Don’t forget about fizz and if you are on a budget, think about Vinho Verde from Northern Portugal which is back in vogue. The wine is best described as pétillant rather than fizzy but there is just enough CO2 to prickle the tongue and whet the appetite.
I wrote about Rosé last week and it really is the iconic drink of summer so I’ve included one of the world’s best Rosés below from Domaine Tempier in Bandol.
Bandol is a little known but iconic (and beautiful) wine region to the west of Toulon and Karwigs always have Domaine Tempier’s wines at very fair prices.
Bloom is on this weekend so if you are visiting the Phoenix Park do make sure to drop by the drinks tent to sample some of the best of Irish craft cider, beers and spirits.
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
Potel Aviron Beaujolais Villages, France — €14.99
Stockists: Celtic Whiskey Shop Dublin and Killarney, Nolans Clontarf, Mchughs, Baggot Street Wines, www.celticwhiskeyshop.ie
This is a joint venture between two old college mates — Burgundy producer Nicholas Potel and Beaujolais producer Stephane Aviron and is excellent value — packed with bright juicy cherry and red fruits.
On warm days you can happily serve this chilled to perhaps eight or 10 degrees.
Prova Regia Arinto, Bucelas, Portugal — €13.99-14.99
Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, La Touche Greystones, Redmonds Ranelagy, Deveneys Dundrum, Independents
Bucelas is in the Lisboa region in Southern Portugal but despite the warm climate, the local Arinto always has lots of acidity and freshness.
This has a bright lemon-lime-grapefruit character but also peach and pear ripeness and drinks very well on a warm day .
Adega de Pegoes Colheita Selleccionada, Sétubal, Portugal — €14.95
Stockists: JJ O’Driscolls, O’Donovans, No. 21, Ardkeen Stores, McHughs, Independent NOffLA Off-Licences
This ‘harvest selection’ is a made from Arinto, Verdelho and Antao Vaz plus a little Chardonnay.
Antao Vaz provides fragrant peachy flavours and Verdelho some honeysuckle while Arinto makes up the backbone. Ripe and complex with a textured fruity freshness perfect for outside.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé 2013, Provence, France — €29.95
Stockists: Karwig Wines www.karwigwines.ie
Domaine Tempier is one of the iconic producers in Bandol and although I’ve mentioned their fragrant red a couple of times, their Rosé is also iconic and age-worthy (Robert Parker called it the world’s best Rosé).
Pale salmon pink with complex wild strawberry aromas, textured red fruits, and lingering spice and dried strawberry. Delicious.
Domaine de Terres-Dorées Côtes de Brouilly, Beaujolais, France — €21.95
Stockists: Wines Direct Arnotts Dublin and Mullingar, wines-direct.ie
Jean-Paul Brun farms organically and uses spontaneous fermentation and sucks every scrap of flavour he can from his terroir.
This is from an East and South facing vineyard and has a little more structure and energy than some of his other Beaujolais. Dark black cherry and plums, earthy tinges, and solid juicy and fleshy fruits.
Grand Plessis Médoc 2015, Bordeaux, France — €15.00
Stockists: Marks & Spencer
Young fruity Bordeaux works very well with grilled barbecue meat and can also be served a little cooler than you might expect.
This is a typical Médoc Cab-Merlot-Petit-Verdot blend with solid cedar and black plum aromas and chewy blackcurrant fruits on the palate.
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