5 Great wines to drink this sizzling summer


There is nothing quite like enjoying wine with family and friends during the sunshine season, and this year that will be even more singular. With al fresco dining, poolside sipping, picnics and outdoor celebrations/gatherings in mind, Times Drinks Editor James Viner picks five bright fizzy, red, rosé, and white wines to serve during the heat.

“With the temperatures set to rise again shortly, here are some of my favourite wines to enjoy with family and friends in the balmier, post-summer-solstice weather,” says James. “Which one will you be pouring first?”

Summer Wines

1) Joyous, sappy, light-bodied supermarket bargain

Tesco Beaujolais 2020, France (Tesco, £5, buy 6 or more, save 25% until 28 June)

An extremely decent bottle for the asking price, this chillable red Beaujolais brings Gamay’s characteristic redcurrant, sour cherry, loganberry, and raspberry flavours, with just a whiff of violets and pencil lead. Great poured from a carafe, perhaps with cured meats, aubergine parmigiana or boeuf bourguignon, this is the sort of easy, accessible red you might sup in a French café as you watch the world go by. Downright gluggable and unbeatable value! Don’t leave it too long as stock is flying out (and you get 25% off 6 or more until 28 June)!

Alc 13%

2) Burgundy-like Aussie Chardonnay

Caves Road Chardonnay 2018, Margaret River, Australia (Aldi, £9.99)

Aldi has found another winner in its ‘Classic Icons’ range. This one’s the finest-value elite chardonnay of the season, made by distinguished consultant winemaker Larry Cherubino from Robert Oatley Wines. It ticks all the boxes, especially its perky acidity and the oak – not because of its taste, but purely its control and role in the attractive mouthfeel; it’s just part of the picture, but no more. You’re sure to fall for the sophisticated, crowd-pleasing peach and cream notes. A knockout at this price and one for Burgundy lovers. Bring out the roast chicken, scallops, grilled/BBQ fish and chicken liver pâté on toast. Excellent.

Alc 13%

3) Rocking, unoaked, high-altitude Rioja rosé

Ramón Bilbao Rioja Rosado 2020, Spain (Great Wine Co, £10.69)

Rosés are one of Spain’s signature wine styles. Based on a majority Garnacha with a dollop of Viura (aka Macabeo) from vineyards planted at between 550 and 770 metres altitude in different estates in the Alto Najerilla valley on the slopes of the Sierra de la Demanda, this sleek salmon-pink Rioja rosado/rosé is elegant, bone dry and stunningly perfumed, with notes of red and white fruits and crisp acidity. It would be great with the salmon en croûte, a shellfish salad, grilled veggies, and most risottos. One swallow brings a summer of flavour. Poolside pink anyone?

Alc 12.5%

4) Stellar (just) off-dry West Sussex white

Stopham Wine Estate Pinot Gris 2019, West Sussex (Stopham Wine, Grape Britannia, Elizabeth Rose Wines & Waitrose Cellar, £14.95-£17.99)

This pedigree West Sussex Pinot Gris, an early budding and ripening aromatic colour mutation of Pinot Noir, is well-known as one of the finest wines in the land, regularly winning the best still white award at the independent English wines awards [IEWA] competition. An excellent aperitif, it’s also just right for roast pork and Thai cuisine. And since it’s also available in local Waitrose branches, readers, you know it’s a wine of the highest quality. The second glass will speedily follow the first. Posh Stelvin Lux closure, too.  Rosewater, peach, floral, fig and pear notes abound. A top-drawer release that will win many more fans. Lovely stuff.

Alc 11.5%

Follow Stopham’s great Insta here during the rest of this busy #EnglishWineWeek [19-27 June]. Stopham offers vineyard, winery and wine tasting tours with the winemaker on most Saturdays at 11am or 2pm, April-October 2021.

5) Support local and think pink! Cheers to a top pale but vivid bottle of Kentish rosé fizz

Co-op Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling Rosé NV, Kent (Co-op, £18)

Raise another glass to #EnglishWineWeek and toast the excellence of our home-produced vinous luminaries! The fledgling English wine industry sparkles when it comes to quality fizz. Fragrant, red-fruit stashed, summery, scented and floral with snappy acidity and a dry finish, this is a fab, consistently outstanding summery bottle of pink fizz from Kent’s Hush Heath Estate. My top sub-£20 supermarket perkily crowd-pleasing, rosé English sparkler, with refreshment in spades, plus a soupçon of complexity. Check out the relatively modest price, too (compare the prices of many vapid, overpriced rosé  champagnes!).  Perfect for a picnic on a sunshiny day or wedding reception wine.

Alc 11.5%

Cheers and happy drinking all… wherever you are this summer!

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine


Summer photo: © Dary423/dreamstime.com

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