Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

For some reason 2016 seems to have had a higher proportion of celebrity deaths than usual, and this month two well-known wine names could be added to the list — Louis Latour (aged 83) and Etienne Hugel (aged just 57).

Louis Latour ran the family firm (founded in 1797) from the late 50s until his son Louis Fabrice-Latour took over in 1999. 

Louis was instrumental in expanding the range and in the creation of their Ardeche and Var wines for good value Chardonnay and Pinot Noir respectively.

For many years Louis Latour’s wines were distributed by Gilbeys and were in most of the wine shops in the country and on most of the country’s restaurant lists — particularly their Chablis, and their once ubiquitous Macon Lugny ‘Les Genièvres’.

The brand moved from Gilbeys when they were sold to the Gleeson Group and this is one reason you have not seen it as often in recent times. 

I have generally been more of a fan of Latour’s white wines than their reds but things have improved on the red front recently.

The Hugel family is currently being run by the 12th and 13th generations as they were founded in 1639 making them one of the oldest established family wine producers in the world. 

Alsace wines are not a purchase many consumers in Ireland make regularly, what fame the wines do have is in part to do with their tireless promotion from Etienne, and before him his uncle Johnny Hugel.

Etienne’s death was completely unexpected and is a loss to the wine world as well as to his family and firm. 

I’ve included two Hugel wines below as I consider them to be one of the most consistently reliable producers. 

I’ve also included one of my favourite Louis Latour wines.

I’m writing this in the sunshine and this has inspired me to suggest two wines below with a little more fruit so they can be drunk with a barbecue if by some miracle the good weather has held. 

I think a little richness suits barbecues as it copes better with the smoke and spices.

BEST VALUE UNDER €15

M&S Rosé Pinot Grigio 2014, 12% abv, Hungary — €10.99

Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

Stockist: Marks & Spencer

We forget sometimes that Pinot Grigio is actually a pink grape and this Hungarian version seems to have had extended skin contact to produce a pretty salmon-pink colour.

Light red fruit aromas, soft raspberry and strawberry flavours with a bit of zing on the finish — serve well chilled in the sunshine.

1139 Furmint Pinot Gris, 12.5% Abv, Stajerska, Slovenia — €14.99

Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

Stockist: Marks & Spencer

I have found Slovenia to be one of the more consistent Eastern European wine producing countries and certainly the best of the former Yugoslavian nations.

This is a blend of 45% Furmint, 30% Pinot Grigio, 20% Traminer and a small amount of Riesling and made in a particularly fruity style with lots of ripe pear and apple flavours and a lingering apricot touch.

Centra Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015, 13.5% abv, Rhone, France — €15

Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

Stockist: Centra Stores Nationwide

Centra have a French wine sale running until May 18 with some good value.

This was a highlight of the wines I tasted with good concentration and fruit although it is a little young so you might like to decant it for an hour before you plan to drink it. Also watch for Ch. Sissan for €11.99.

BEST VALUE OVER €15

Louis Latour Montagny 1er Cru ‘la Grande Roche’ 2014, 13% Abv, France — €28.95

Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

Stockists: Ardkeen Stores, O’Dowds Ennis, McHughs, Deveneys Dundrum

From a premier cru vineyard in Chalonnaise just south of the Cote d’Or, this is purely stainless steel aged but with full malo-lactic fermentation, giving a particularly creamy texture.

Light golden colour, aromas of peach and melon with a full soft palate with a touch of spice and a dry finish.

Hugel Riesling 2012, 12% abv, Alsace, France — €19.95

Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

Stockists: Bradleys, O’Briens, McHughs, Vintry Rathgar, Redmonds Ranelagh, Independents

Alsace Riesling is always dry and this is a fine example with a powerful mineral and apple aroma plus a hint of kerosene and chalk — dried apple fruit flavours on the palate, complex and subtle.

Try this with any seafood dish, light pasta and especially with veal or pork Milanese.

Hugel Gewurztraminer 2012, 13% abv, Alsace, France — €20.95

Some fruity wines to enjoy with a barbecue, if we get good weather this summer

Stockists: Bradleys, O’Briens, McHughs, Vintry Rathgar, Redmonds Ranelagh, Independents

Gewurztraminer is one of those love it or hate it grapes and to be honest the only ones I ever seem to like are from Alsace.

This is packed with lychees and rose petal aromas with ripe fruits on the palate and a dry finish. I like this with shellfish, others opt for pork and white meat dishes.


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