ALISTAIR GIBSON: Make the most of the barbie with thirst-quenching wines

Porta 6 2015, Lisboa
Porta 6 2015, Lisboa
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Monday sees the start of National BBQ Week and it looks like the weather is going to play along this year.

So what to drink with a barbecue?

Anselmo Mendes 'Muros Antigos' Loureiro 2016 Vinho Verde

Anselmo Mendes 'Muros Antigos' Loureiro 2016 Vinho Verde

I think the first thing to think about is that there is often so much involved in a barbecue, from different meats and vegetables on the barbecue itself, to selections of salads.

The wine needs to be as user-friendly as possible, a sort of jack-of-all-trades wine.

Barbecued food tends to be strongly flavoured with spices and smoky notes from the coal.

And, of course, it’s not just the food that is getting smoky, invariably there’s a lot of standing around in that smoky atmosphere.

So that’s a good place to start – a bright and fresh wine that’s going to be thirst-quenching and easy to slip down.

Anselmo Mendes ‘Muros Antigos’ Loureiro 2016, Vinho Verde (The Wine Society £8.75) is just such a wine.

Made from the loureiro grape in northern Portugal where the wines of Vinho Verde are enjoying something of a resurgence, this is almost the perfect summer white wine and is made by one of the region’s most respected and talked-about wine producers.

This is a lovely, almost shimmering, pale green in colour with floral notes and a touch of citrus and apple on the nose, followed by a zesty, lime-led palate.

This is a little fuller in style than the spritzy wines of Vinho Verde you may remember, and all the better for it.

And it’s perfect if you are going to throw some sardines on the barbecue!

When it comes to red wines, you probably need to think bold, fairly full-bodied, with lots of flavour.

Majestic has just introduced a new range of own-label wines and, while they may not all hit the spot, there are a couple of great value wines to behad.

Majestic Loves Spanish Red 2016 (Majestic £6.99 or £5.99 as part of a mixed six) is a blend of mainly tempranillo with a dash of merlot and syrah and is an easy-to-drink, very friendly wine with some juicy red fruits and with some spice in the background.

It has a great label as well and would make a great match with some lamb cutlets with aioli to dip them in eaten with your fingers!

Staying in the Iberian peninsula, another wine with a very funky label is Porta 6 2015, Lisboa (Majestic £8.99 or £7.49 as part of a mixed six) would make a great barbecue partner.

It’s made in the hills just north of Lisbon with traditional Portuguese varieties, tinta roriz (which is better known as tempranillo), castelao and touriga nacional, and aged for three months in French oak.

This is packed with dark forest fruits and spices followed by a supple palate with more dark fruits, but all balanced with fresh acidity.

It’s great value and will definitely be making an appearance during National BBQ Week, chez Gibson.

n Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail alistair@hermitagecellars.co.uk.