I love English summer evenings, preferably with a lit barbecue, a hint of smoke in the air, good company and something in my glass.
South Africa generally doesn’t come high on my favourite sparkling wine regions but Graham Beck The Rhona Blanc de Blancs, Western Cape (M&S £11) is an exception. One hundred per cent chardonnay, this has citrus, vanilla and brioche on the nose, a creamy palate with zesty acidity. Lovely on its own, but good with griddled prawns or fish kebabs.
Stonier Pinot Noir 2012, Mornington Peninsula (Waitrose £11.99) is a mid-weight pinot noir from Australia with red fruits and a hint of spice. Lightly chill and serve with seared tuna.
Tipple of the week is Passimento Bianco 2014, Veneto, Pasqua (Majestic £11.99, £8.99 for two). An interesting white wine, made from the garganega grape and partially dried before fermentation, resulting in a fuller style. There are tropical fruits, a touch of oak and a nicely-textured palate with juicy acidity. Great with smoky marinated pork chops.
Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth, on 01243 431002.