Now the Sun has got his hat on 

Hip, hip, hip hooray. The weather has certainly taken a turn for the better and there is a mad scramble in the supermarket for barbecue suitable items.

We love setting fire to food in this country – a miracle when you consider our climate – but we seem to have an appetite for a big slab of meat, a bigger bag of charcoal and some huge tongs with which to manhandle said meat.

It’s finally time to reach for the rosé, as we did with great enthusiasm last weekend. But let’s not forget those juicy, light whites and, of course, some barbe reds too.

We have long been a fan of the pink wines of Rioja, as they put in mind hazy, crazy holidays in Spain where time is not an issue and the most important to worry about is have you got enough sun cream and do you look cool in your shades.

The super tasty Marques de Caceres Excellens Rosé Garnacha (Fine Wines Direct UK, £11.99) has an abundance of stonefruit aromas alongside fragrant rose petal notes.

It’s the weightier peach tones that come through on the palate that sets this wine apart from the crowd and makes it a super versatile foodie wine.

It has long been a favourite of ours and is a popular among our customers who like a little more va-va-voom in their rosé.

The success of sauvignon blanc has long been attributed to the super wines from New Zealand – especially the wines from Allan Scott in Marlborough, to the north of the South Island. They have taken over the mantle from the Loire Valley, as the wine-loving publics’ benchmark sauvignon.

After a chat with Jonathan Tew – our knowledgeable shop manager – he pointed the super-juicy Sauvignon Le Demi-Boeuf Malidain (Fine Wines Direct UK, £11.99).

This Loire Valley white reminded me of the refreshing, easy-drinking style that this French region is renowned and why we fell in love with this grape variety in the first place.

From the delicate floral notes on the nose to the friendly citrus mouthfeel, this is a cracking drop, which has focus and balance.

And so we inevitably move to some stonking reds that would suit a great hunk of charred meat.

From a big glass of juicy Rioja – if lamb is on the menu – to a malbec or a shiraz, if beef is your bag.

The Rioja I have been enjoying recently is the David Moreno Reserva, from the Rioja Alta region (Fine Wines Direct UK, £19.99).

The wine is composed of old vines grown at altitude giving a concentration to the fruit which has aged for 24 months in French oak barrels and 15 months aged in bottle.

There is a smoothness to the wine without losing that necessary acidity that sets Rioja Reserva apart from the crowd.

When beef is the main event then a spicy drop of shiraz is the very wee man.

The Thorn-Clarke Barossa Shiraz (Fine Wines Direct UK, £14.99) is a fine option. Six generations of rich viticultural and geological family history has gone into creating the wines, which truly showcase the best of the Barossa and Eden Valley.

This Barossa Shiraz has an intense deep purple colour. The nose is abundant with vibrant red fruits supported by subtle hints of French oak.

On the palate, well balanced tannins are intertwined with notes of black cherries, satsuma plums and mulberries.

A touch of pepper spice can be found on the finish, making it the ideal partner with charred beef – almost doing the seasoning job for you.

While the sun continues to shine let’s all enjoy a lovely glass pf wine and get some vitamin D into you.


Neil Cammies

Former columnist for the Western Mail and is now working for Fine Wines Direct UK. Hosting tastings, building client relationships, and writing about his experiences in the wine trade.

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