It is the second bank holiday weekend in May and the weather looks set fair. Whether you are lighting up the barbecue, having an early summer party, or simply taking it easy in the garden, here are some wines to drink while the sun’s out.
Let’s kick off with some fizz.
Co-op Irresistible Sparkling Rose NV, Italy (Co-op £8) has just been named one of the best sparkling roses on the high street by Which?
I’m not entirely sure I’d agree with that but this is certainly great value and if you are having a large gathering or party and the sun is still shinning then this is not going to disappoint.
Pale pink in colour, it has a fresh bouquet of redcurrants, summer fruits and red apples, the palate is crisp with crunchy red apples and citrus, and just a hint of sweetness on the palate.
Sticking with the rose theme, Cote Des Roses Rosé 2018, Languedoc (Majestic £12.99 or £9.74 as part of a mixed six) comes in the sort of bottle that would usually make me avoid it. It’s shaped to look like a single rose stem.
But actually the wine is rather good, made from a blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault, pale in colour with raspberry, lime peel and cherry on the nose, with just a hint of some spice.
This follows on to the very fresh palate with a little more weight than I’d expected.
It would make a nice aperitif but would also happily work with a chicken salad or even a very mild curry.
Which goes to show that sometimes gimmicky looks can be deceiving.
Stonehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2018, Western Cape (Co-op £6 on offer from £8 until June 4) is made by Cape Point Vineyards, one of South Africa’s most highly regarded producers of sauvignon blanc, and it shows in this good value wine.
This is really fresh with limes and grapefruit on nose, followed by a zesty, citrus palate with a bright, lively finish.
I know someone who rates wines in this price range asks whether you need to add ice or not to make it drinkable. Well, this is great value and certainly doesn’t need ice added to it. Serve with fresh seafood, simply grilled fish or the last of the English asparagus.
As you can imagine, I get to see a lot of wine labels and some really do capture my imagination. One such wine is Roan Ranger 2015, Darling (Hermitage Cellars £8.90).
It is a great play on words, taking its inspiration from both the Rhone Valley and a roan horse – which features on the label.
Produced in the cool climate and relatively new region of Darling on South Africa’s west coast, this is a blend of cinsault, grenache and mourvèdre. It is simple, soft red wine with juicy red berries and some spice on the bouquet, followed by an easy fruit-driven palate with some bright acidity on the finish.
A real crowd-pleaser, which you could happily chill slightly and sip as you wait for the coals on your barbecue to be ready and then it would work well with some spicy chicken thighs or some pork and chorizo kebabs.