Wines for the Barbie

POSTED ON 08/06/2013

I suppose I should have learnt by now that in any attempt to pacify the rain gods, the words most to be avoided are barbecue, rosé and picnic, adding for good measure flaming June, and Lord’s Test. Despite sunshine at the time of writing, it’s generally business as usual, i.e. grey skies, by the time of publication. At least when the sun comes out you can go online and search.

Against the usual run of summery whites, wines I’ve selected with the barbecue in mind are juicy, affordable reds with the guts and flavours to put the char into char-grilled. I’m not fanatical about food and wine matching but there’s something incomparably satisfying when the opulence of juicy ripe fruit in a red wine is offset against the savoury juiciness of a tender piece of barbecued meat and its lightly charred crust. Not that it has to be meat. The barbie can equally work its magic on courgette, aubergine, asparagus and tomato.

Beaujolais is the quintessential summery red and excellent examples abound. At the affordable end of the spectrum, it would be hard to beat the bright and nubile strawberryish fruit of the 2011 Beaujolais-Villages, £8.74, buy 2 = £6.99, Majestic, although the fragrantly cherryish and summery 2011 Waitrose Beaujolais, £6.99, gives it a run for its money, as does the exuberantly mulberry fruit quality of the 2012 Paul Mas Merlot, £7.99, buy 2 = £6.49, Majestic. One tip: chill such low-in-tannin reds lightly for maximum beneficial effect.

A cut above, the same producer’s Taste the Difference Languedoc Red, £8.99, Sainsbury’s, adds spice, grip and vigour to its deliciously cherryish, robust fruit, while a useful budget buy is the succulent 2011 Winemaker’s Selection Costières di Nîmes, £6.99, Sainsbury’s. The same applies to Tesco’s Finest* Touriga Nacional, down to £4.99 from £6.99, Until 16 June, Tesco, a bright, sweet damson plummy Portuguese red whose juicy ripe fruit and rustic grip make it the perfect bbq quaffer. A fine source of robust reds, Portugal also delivers with the 2010 Rufo do Vale Maria, Douro, £8.50, The Wine Society, a red full of succulent pepper and spice-infused blackberry fruitiness.

Further afield, look to South Africa and in particular the 2012 Boekenhoutskloof Porcupine Ridge Syrah, Swartland, £7.99, down to £5.99, until 11 June, Waitrose, a really juicy ripe mouthful of blackberryish fruit shot through with spice and succulence of texture, Back in France, also on offer until 11 June, the 2012 Paul Mas Grenache Syrah, £6.79, down from £8.49, Waitrose, is a bright and juicy amalgam of dark berry and plum with a hint of the herby garrigue ; and the 2011 Castelmaure , Corbières, £6.99, Morrisons , is just the ticket for barbecues with its garrigue herb, black olive and spice-infused blackberry fruitiness.

Something for The WeekendSomething for The Weekend

Something for the Weekend 8 June 2013

Night In

2012 Domain Bégude Chardonnay, Haute Vallée de l’Aude.

Made by the Kinglake, an English family in the Atlantic-cooled region of Limoux, this is a complex, appetisingly peachy chardonnay with a full-flavoured yet delicately refreshing Chablis-meets-South-of-France dry finish. £9.45, down to £7.49 until 11 June, Waitrose.

Dinner Party

2011 Spolverino Carpineto

This is a sedictively succulent, modern Chianti-style red from Tuscany with a tobacco-spicy sangiovese-based sweet and sour cherry fruit polished by a veneer of smoky, toasty oak and etched with a twist of lively, savoury acidity. £12.49, buy 2 = £9.99, Majestic.

Splash Out

2011 Red Claw Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay

This richly concentrated appley chardonnay from Yabby Lake is polished by a delicate layer of toasty oak in a subtly restrained Chablis-style Oz dry white, finishing with lots of complex, nutty flavours and intense freshness. £17.99, Marks & Spencer.

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