In the teeth of a British Winter nobody enjoys a chest-thumping red wine more than I do. Rich, spicy Rhônes and Mediterranean blends make a marvellous accompaniment (and addition) to slow-cooked stews and daubes and they reflect the warmth of their origins. In the Summertime, by contrast, one yearns for fresher, lighter wines from cooler climes that can be drunk chilled, out of doors with salads and seafood. A critical factor is the alcoholic strength of the wine in question and my palate definitely leans towards lower strength wines in the warmer months. With that in mind I thought it timely to recommend ten wines that all come in below 12% of alcohol so lend themselves well to al fresco imbibing.
1. Wraxhall Vineyards: Sparkling Rosé @ £25. [11%]
Coral pink, bottle-fermented Pinot Noir perfection. Summer in a glass.
2. Gros Plant: Domaine de la Mortaine 2015 @ £10.25 [11%]
Bone-dry and bracing – bring on the bivalves!
3. Vin de Pays Charentais 'Sauvignon': Domaine Gardrat 2015 @ £10.75 [11.5%]
Elderflower scents precede a citrus-edged palate – delicious.
4. Savoie 'L'Orangerie': Domaine de l'Idylle 2016 @ £11.75 [11.5%]
Ozone fresh Jacquère from the foothills of the Alps – as light as a snowflake.
5. Saar 'Scheifer' Riesling: Willems-Willems 2015 @ £14.75 [11.5%]
Pure and persistent lip-smacking dry Riesling. A versatile crowd-pleaser.
6. Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese:Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt 2003 @ £24.95 [8%]
Magnificent, mature, sweet Mosel Riesling – an ideal 'sun-downer'.
7. Côtes de Gascogne: Domaine Millet 2016 @ £10.25 [11.5%]
A beguiling blend of Egiodola and Cabernet Franc packed with zesty redcurrant and raspberry flavours.
8. Vin de Corse Porto Vecchio: Domaine de Torraccia 2016 @ £14.95 [11.5%]
A sublime, organic, herb-scented Nielluccio-based blend from the Granite Isle.
9. Côtes de Gascogne 'Cabernet Franc-Merlot': Domaine Millet 2015 @ £10.25 [11.5%]
Soft red fruit scents and flavours supported by supple tannins make for a terrific 'all-rounder'.
10. Savoie 'Mondeuse': Domaine de l'Idylle 2016 @ £13.50 [11.5%]
Bright berry and cherry fruit is offset by cooler granitic notes and a fresh acidity. This drinks well lightly-chilled.