So the last holiday weekend of the summer is here and as I write, the weather looks set fair.
So here are a few wines to go with your barbecue or early evening in the garden.
... concentrated with a deep bouquet of... spices, violets and pencil shavings
Elsewhere in today’s Weekend there’s a feature on sparkling wines, so here are two great-value bottles of pink fizz to see the summer out.
Mirabeau La Folie Rosé NV Waitrose £12.99) is a new fizz from Mirabeau, who are one of Provence’s most well-known producers of rosé.
It’s a blend of grenache and syrah from the Luberon and gets its sparkle using the same method as prosecco.
Perfect summer fizz, not too serious but full of red fruits, with a mouth-filling mousse and lively finish. Lots of fun. I’m not sure it needs any food but you could serve it with tomato or seafood-based tapas or even at the end of a garden meal with summer berry fruits.
Chapel Down English Sparkling Rosé NV (Majestic £23.99 or £20.99 in a mixed six) is a perfect introduction to English pink fizz.
Made from the classic three Champagne grapes, a little pinot blanc and made in the traditional Champagne method, this has a good mousse with wild strawberries and apples on the nose, before a ripe mouth feel with well-balanced acidity.
It’s difficult not to like this pretty fizz and another one to serve with canapés or tapas in the garden.
Chenin blanc seems to be almost exclusively associated with South Africa now so it’s easy to forget it’s as at home on the Loire as it is in the Cape. Saumur Blanc ‘Les Plantagenêts 2016 (The Wine Society £7.75) is made from 100 per cent chenin blanc, unoaked and a lovely example of simple refreshing French white wine that so often gets overlooked in preference to more exotic-sounding new world wines. Fresh with citrus, pear and pineapple, followed by a bright, zesty palate and a pleasing finish. Try with goat’s cheese or chicken salad.
Finally, a red wine that took me by surprise.
Petit verdot is a Bordeaux grape rarely seen as a single varietal wine and even more rarely originating from South Africa, but KWV ‘The Mentors’ Petit Verdot 2014, Western Cape (Ocado and slurp.co.uk £14.95) is worth seeking out.
Aged for 18 months in oak barrels, 60 per cent of which were new oak, this is concentrated with a deep bouquet of black cherry, mocha, spices, violets and pencil shavings followed by a dense, rich palate with black fruit sweetness and smooth tannins before a long, long finish. Perfect with a leg lamb on the barbecue or Sunday roast beef with all the trimmings. Serious red wine.
Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail