Dear Christopher, James and Robert, I thought I’d drop you a little reminder – very public, I know – but it is Father’s Day on Sunday and just in case you were wondering what to buy me, here’s a hint.
My ideal day would be out in the garden, lighting a barbecue and opening a few bottles of wine to share, so here are some bottles I would enjoy this Sunday.
As it happens it’s Drink Chenin Day on June 15 and I think that chenin blanc is one of the most interesting and in many ways overlooked white grape varieties.
Its original home is in the Loire Valley but it is perhaps South Africa that has really established this noble grape more readily in our wine-drinking consciousness.
So if I had to choose one right now then it would be Reyneke Chenin Blanc 2018, Stellenbosch (Hermitage Cellars £16.75).
Reyneke is one of South Africa’s very few certified bio-dynamic estates and this wine comes from two adjacent vineyards that were established in the early 1970s.
Due to their age these vineyards are part of the Cape’s unique Old Vine Project, where vines over 35 years can add a certified Heritage Vineyard seal to their bottles. To the best of my knowledge this is the only wine region in the world that seeks to recognise old vineyards and has a regulatory organisation to do so.
This chenin blanc was made with minimum intervention with the fermentation occurring naturally before being allowed to mature in a mixture of older oak for 10 months.
The bouquet has notes of pear skin, citrus, apricot and just a touch of spice, followed by a beautifully detailed, textured palate with really well-judged acidity before a very long finish.
It is a gorgeous wine, so why not enjoy it with some scallops?
When it comes to red wines, choose something to go with charred, smoky meats on the barbecue.
Exquisite Malbec 2018, Uco Valley (Aldi £5.99) is one of the standouts in Aldi’s Exquisite range.
Wines at under £6 are generally speaking more miss than hit, but this is one of the hits.
It is not a huge oak-dominated blockbuster, which for me is a good thing, the nose is quite floral with some dark fruits, notable plums, followed by a fresh, juicy, relatively elegant palate. It's great value and works really well with char-grilled red meats.
In a similar vein is Irresistible Mount Benson Shiraz 2018 (Co-op £7.25) which is another terrific value red for a barbecue.
Mount Benson is in South Australia’s Limestone Coast region and benefits from the cooling influence of its maritime position.
There are some dark berry fruits, some spice and just a touch of oak on the nose, followed by some silky tannins, more dark fruit and a nice fresh, surprisingly long finish.
Perfect with barbecued lamb.