GIBSON ON GRAPES: Tipples for summer's dying rays
It's the August bank holiday weekend, the last holiday before the onset of autumn and, dare I say it quietly, Christmas.
So, time to take full advantage. The weather looks set – famous last words – and so whether it’s a barbecue or a family gathering here are some wines for the last rays of summer.
Perhaps my biggest surprise of the week was Laurent Miquel Albariño 2015, Vin de France (Majestic £12.99 or £8.66 as part of a mixed six until August 29).
Albariño is a very fashionable grape right now but there are very few good examples from outside its homeland of north-west Spain.
A French albariño is something altogether new but this is really, really good.
It’s really fresh, maybe a little fresher than many Spanish examples, with classic aromas of apricots, as well as floral notes and a touch of apple, the palate has a lovely texture with zippy acidity.
Pair this gorgeous summer white wine with a dish of the freshest seafood you can find.
Staying in the same region, Paul Mas Estate Carignan’s Savignac Vineyard’s 2015, Pays d’Herault (Majestic £9.99 or £7.49 as part of a mix six until August 29) is a robust, southern French red from a single vineyard of old carignan vines.
I’m often asked what exactly I mean when I use the word ‘meaty’ to describe a wine.
Well, this is a great example, with bramble fruits, spices, a touch of dried herb and some savoury, meaty flavours. The palate is ripe and warm and there is a nice long, flavoursome finish.
It’s perfect with barbecued lamb or steak, and one to reflect with as the dusk settles.
Similar in style from Chile is MontGras Reserva Carmenère 2015, Colchagua (Waitrose £6.74 on offer from £8.99 until September 20).
Carmenère, originally from Bordeaux, seems to thrive in Chile and this is great value.
It has dark berry fruits, liquorice and some mocha before a really smooth palate with plenty of depth for a wine at this price.
It’s another barbecue wine, and something to keep you warm if you’re still sitting outside when the fire’s gone out.
Heading back to France and a producer who seems to be returning to previous heights, Jaboulet Parallel 2013 Côtes du Rhône (Majestic £11.99 or £7.99 as part of a mixed six until August 29).
It takes its name from the line of latitude which is the half-way point between the Equator and the North Pole.It actually passes through some of Jaboulet’s vineyards.
This is a blend of grenache and syrah and you can almost feel the sun on the vines. Warm, ripe dark berry fruits, with some black pepper and roasted coffee, it is fairly straightforward, but that’s fine.
It’s good value and an easy crowd-pleaser with a plate of delicious sausages.
Enjoy the weekend.