Perfect tipples for a Suffolk summer
PUBLISHED: 11:02 03 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:18 20 February 2013
At last the warm weather is here. Time to crack open a bottle of something delicious in the garden. Jonathan Hare of Wines of Interest in Ipswich offers his recommendations
Jonathan Hare of Wines of Interest in Ipswich offers his recommendations for perfect summer drinking
Alasia Sec, Vino da Tavola Bianco,
This is a singularly unprepossessing name for a delicious wine of super value. Local laws state that to earn its DOC the Italian equivalent of Appellation Controle in France wines made from this grape variety must be sweet and sparkling. This producer wants to make it dry and still, so is not permitted to call it anything other than table wine. In fact, the grape is Moscato (Muscat), the region it comes from is Piemonte in northern Italy and the vintage is 2008. It is dry, fresh as a daisy and full of newly-picked, crunchy grape flavours. Its a super summer aperitif, appetising and clean, and will cheerfully take on light fish dishes, salads and cold white meats. Above all, it works beautifully with that hard-to-match, early summer delight, asparagus.
2008 Godello, Crego e Monaguillo, Monterrei, Spain 9.95
Compared to the global grape varieties and dominating brands of the supermarkets, this is pretty obscure. It comes from Galicia in north eastern Spain, where the most famous wine is the ber-trendy Albario. Unfortunately, the growing popularity of the latter has resulted in higher prices; in some cases higher than the quality deserves. Godello is a first class alternative and produces some very sophisticated wines. At its best it is unoaked like this one lightly aromatic and crisp. There is a note of subtle fragrance, combined with a bracing minerality. It is the perfect companion for fried fish, particularly seafood tempura, but is equally at home with the soft richness of a fresh crab salad. Try some now before the rest of the world discovers it and the price goes up!
2009 Herringbone Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough,
New Zealand 8.95
Marlborough has seen an explosion of vineyard development in recent years with a growing number of grape varieties in cultivation. The Kiwi wine revolution started here and its first grape success Sauvignon Blanc remains its most popular. This version is energetically mouthwatering, tingly fresh and dry with plenty of gooseberry crunch. There is no oak and none of the softening tropicality which some Kiwi Sauvignons display. It is wonderful with fish and seafood in nearly all of their guises and goes down a storm with stuffed, lightly garlicky, green-lipped mussels.
2009 Viognier, Tabali Estates, Limari Valley, Chile 8.30
Take away the price restrictions imposed on Chilean winemakers by heavy-handed buyers of the UK multiples and you can find some very grown-up wine indeed. Tabali is the northernmost producer in Chile, perched on the edge of the Atacama Desert in climatic conditions as pure as you can find anywhere in the wine world. There is little or no rainfall and irrigation is with Andean meltwater; pollution is minimal and the suns impact is direct, while the diurnal temperature difference ensures long, thorough ripening. This fresh white is oak-free, leaving Viogniers apricoty aromatics and ethereal note of honeysuckle to speak for themselves. Drink with a not-too-hot chicken or prawn stir-fry or a herby chicken Caesar
Manzanilla, Las Medallas, Bodegas Herederos Argueso, Spain 9.75
If your impression of sherry is that sticky brown goo that your maiden Aunt Florrie sips from a thimble at Christmas, you have missed a treat. This is as pale as Chablis, so dry its almost salty and crisply fresh. Nothing, but nothing, beats it as an aperitif with roasted almonds and a dish of olives; where sweeter styles depress the appetite with sugar, this Manzanilla makes the mouth water and steps hunger up a gear. Follow the Spanish example after all they invented it and drink it into the meal. Its terrific with seafood, smoked fish and rustic pt and, at 15% abv, lighter than some table wines from the southern hemisphere. This family run bodega in Sanlucar de Barrameda on the Atlantic coast confirms what everyone in the trade will tell you: sherry is the most underrated fine wine on the marketbut you have to buy the right one!
2008 Mediodia Rosado, Bodegas Inurieta, Navarra, Spain 7.65
Nobody makes ros as consistently well as the Spanish. All regions produce decent pink wines and from a fascinating range of grapes; one of the best grapes is Garnacha and perhaps the most successful area is Navarra. This is proper, grown-ups pink: dry, savoury and full with a deep, vivid colour and exuberant fruit. It is miles away from the insipid, sweetish confections usually sold as blush and shows the character and style you might not expect from your usual ros. We are on the cusp of changing to the gorgeously fresh and vibrant 2009, so you might find a different vintage to the one advertised here. Its bold, juicy fruit makes it a brilliant solo glassful, but the depth of flavour puts it well with a wide variety of food and it shines around the barbecue.
Prosecco Marzemino Rosato, Cantina Beato Bartolomeo, Breganze, Italy 10.75
A really pretty sparkler from this fine Prosecco producer, it is pale, dry but not tart, with an aroma of summer fruit and a refreshing flavour that reminds us of raspberries. It is disastrously easy to drink, but at a modest 11.5% abv you can absorb a couple of glasses before lunch without spoiling the main event. It works well for parties, receptions and toasts and is as good on its own as it is with canaps or light starters. At half the price of Champagne its pretty good value, too.
2008 Borsao Seleccion Tinto Joven, Bodegas Borsao, Campo de Borja, Spain 7.25
Campo de Borja hangs off the southernmost tip of Navarra like a stubby tail. Although most of Navarra and its famous neighbour, Rioja, feel the softening influence of the Atlantic in their climate, Campo de Borja is far enough south to receive a little whisper of the Mediterranean, which works its way up the River Ebro. Hotter, drier and more rugged than the illustrious districts north of its border, Borjas wines reflect that warmth and isolated character. This example is a blend with old vine Garnacha as the main contributor; adding to its complexity and depth is a good dollop of Tempranillo and a splash of Syrah. It covers most bases: juicy enough to go with roasted white meats, full enough to enjoy with red meats and cheese and soft enough to serve as a glass by itself. Its another brilliant choice for the barbecue.
2008 Cte Roannaise, Vieilles Vignes, Robert Srol, France 8.50
Monsieur Srol's estate crams a lot of geology into its modest area. His son now the winemaker follows a non-interventionist regime which allows the fruit to show its different touches, depending on the nature of the soil in which it has been grown. This cuve comes from old Gamay vines on a patch with a high granite content. The colour is full and the flavour shows true old vine concentration while remaining fresh. There is a note of minerality from the granite and the result is an original red which behaves like a single Cru Beaujolais. Pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes just to take it down to cellar temperature and serve it with chicken, milder cheese or try it with salmon en croute.
2009 Herringbone Hills Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand 10.95
Pinot Noir is an awkward grape, thin-skinned and more prone to pests and damage than most. Outside its Burgundian heartland, winemakers the world over have found it challenging to achieve anything like the balance and standard it can reach in the Cte dOr. The global leaders in the race for fine Pinot Noir outside France are the Kiwis who are advancing fast. This version captures something of the grapes scent and poise and does it at a price which, relative to true Burgundy, almost earns the tag of good value. It is a cool climate red and takes on cooked or clumsy flavours when cultivated in inappropriately warm places. Herringbone Hills has avoided this and maintained its freshness. Drink with pork, poultry or a succulent, glazed ham. Like the Cte Roannaise, serve a little cooler than room temperature.
Prices show our single bottle rate; orders of twelve or more mixed bottles qualify for a 5% discount. Prices include VAT @ 17.5%.
We will endeavour to maintain these prices for the rest of the year but reserve the right to alter without prior notice, subject to currency fluctuations, changes in taxation levels or supplier increases.