White wines for summer: It’s cracking the flags out there and I for one foresee a cold alfresco glass of vino in my relatively immediate future. But sometimes you need a break from the rolling oceans of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Here are my recommendations for 3 delicious alternatives that you should be sticking in your fridge.
In my fridge right now I have a bottle of Fontanafredda 2017 chilling for later. This is an Arneis wine from the Roero region of Piedmont, which I brought home from our visit last year. Italian white wines, particularly those from Piedmont, are fantastic in the heat. They are always full of crisp acidity and many of the lesser known grapes come with beautiful perfumes of rose, mandarin, peach and other evocative aromas. Arneis is fantastic as it has a slightly fuller texture. This makes it feel caressing and soft in the mouth.
Try a fantastic example from the lovely DeMarie winery courtesy of my Rutland favourites, Bat & Bottle. Their Roero Arneis 2018 comes in at a pocket pleasing £14.40 per bottle at the moment, which is great value for this plucky little wine. I tasted it before it was wine!
Expect lots of stone fruit and a perfect wine for summer salads in the garden. And if you are thinking of going Italian this summer, then give the Pinot Grigot a swerve mmm’kay? The Italian varieties tend to taste of nothin
What would an English summer be without English wine? Of course, we’re well known for our sparkling wine. It’s a great shout on a hot day full of high acidity and citrus fruit flavours. However, spare a thought for the almost unknown Madeleine Angevine. This little number is the first release from Leicestershire’s Rothley Wine Estate. The bumper harvest of 2018 made it commercially viable for the very first time. Normally it’s private cellar for volunteers only and I drink it all.
But now you can get this lemony, delicately perfumed crisp wine to enjoy at home. It has all the refreshing acidity you’d expect from English white wines. Perfect with BBQ food! Go direct to the vineyard, or enjoy a bottle for £12 at Anstey’s The Mash and Press. They’ve just developed a picnic table, so al fresco boozing is finally available there too. Sorry non-Leicestershire folk – you’ll have to come to us to get this one as the vineyard do not sell online.
I’ve heard people be very mean about Spain’s Albariño grape in the past. They call it tasteless but I do not agree! We’re keeping it crisp here and the northernmost growing position in Spain and Portugal mean that it is never overcooked. They have fantastic aroma (because it is still very hot where the grape is grown) – think apricot and almond. Again, crispness is balanced by texture – even more so if you can find a lightly aged example.
This grape is widely available and I would recommend the Definitions Albariño from Majestic. This is their ‘house’ wine label, that is price effective but an excellent expression of the grape. We tried the Definitions Shiraz recently and were equally impressed. Get the 2017 vintage for £8.99 a bottle right now – a great price for a corking wine. Perfect with a lazy board of cheese and meats to share with friends as the sun goes down.
What will you be drinking in the sunshine this weekend?