I’m sure you’ve already heard the screech of rockets firing into the night sky this week, but this weekend it’s the main event – fireworks night and all it brings.
So if you’re planning wrapping up in your Duffel coat and spending a few hours outside around a bonfire watching the sky light up, here are a few wines to help with the fun.
There are bound to be sparklers so you’ll need something fizzy to accompany them. This is a British tradition so it needs to be English fizz.
The recently-released new vintage, and only its second, of Raimes Blanc de Noirs 2014 (Hermitage Cellars £29.95, Fareham Wine Cellar £29.99) is another Hampshire vineyard shooting star. A blend of pinot meunier and pinot noir, this has a lovely pale gold colour with fine, constant bubbles, notes of red apples, red soft fruits and nuts on the nose, followed by a balanced palate with fresh acidity and a long, flavoursome finish.
Pinot grigio often gets a bad press, much of it justified, as it has become an excuse for too many, poorly-made Italian dry whites. But it can, when given some attention in the vineyard, produce something much more interesting.
Bottega Vinai Pinot Grigio 2016, Trentino (cheerswinemerchants.co.uk £10.50, ampswinemerchants.co.uk £10.99) is more grown up than your average bottle of pinot grigio, with citrus and almond notes on the nose. What really sets this apart is the weight and texture on the palate. If you’re serving mugs of tomato soup as you stand around the fire, this would work nicely.
If you’re looking for a lighter red I was pleasantly surprised with Peter’s Keep Cinsault 2017, Swartland (Majestic £8.99 but £7.99 as part of a mixed six).
Cinsault is a grape synonymous with bulk wine from the south of France but in South Africa it’s enjoying something of a revival. It’s easy to see why with this juicy, easy-drinking red. It’s light in colour and body with bright red fruits, a touch of spice, a silky palate and a juicy finish.
Want something with a bit more bang with possibly the best label for this time of year? Chronic Cellars Suite Petite 2014, California (Majestic £20 but £18 in a mixed six) is ideal. Made from petite syrah this is a crowdpleaser. It’s dark with ripe black fruits, dried herbs before more dark fruits and sweet spices on the palate with ripe tannins and a long, silky finish. Perfect with bangers as those that make you jump!
• Alistair Gibson is proprietor of Hermitage Cellars, Emsworth. Call (01243) 431002 or e-mail email@example.com.