Wine is so much more than an alcoholic beverage to get your buzz on. Wine is art, crafted by passionate people who turn simple grape juice into one of the most complex and versatile drinks in the world. Wine also transforms any occasion, whether it be a romantic dinner, a picnic or a wedding into something special and memorable. It brings people together, evokes memories and is an essential part to celebrate something.
With the summer now on its way, what better way to celebrate it than by raising a glass of wine? Even though wine is something very personal and taste varies tremendously, there are still some wines that are real blockbusters – we ask Max Margaritoff , wine enthusiast and freelance writer for Falstaff magazine to introduce some exciting summer wines to you that will really turn your summer into an unforgettable holiday!
WHAT TO DRINK THIS SUMMER
Sparkling Wine & Champagne
Can you imagine a summer without any bubbly? I can’t and I know that you can’t either. A chilled sparkling wine of great quality doesn’t always have to be expensive (or Champagne). If you are out in Italy enjoying Sardinia or perhaps Porto Fino, then have a Prosecco. My pick would be Jeio from Bisol. Bisol is a family run winery from the heart of Prosecco area and has been producing sparkling wines since more than 500 years (so the story goes). Jeio is one of the upper range wines they produce and has fantastic aromas of pear, citrus, toast and a fine peralge. It has so much structure that you can have it from start to finish during your meal and it will keep up without a problem.
While I know that Mimosas and Bellinis are the obvious and classic choices, you should also try Prosecco with a scoop of Lemon sorbet. Simply fill a glass with a scoop of lemon sorbet (or strawberry sorbet) and fill it up with Prosecco until half is covered and indulge. www.bisol.it
Alternatively enjoy a bottle of Ferrari (like the car) sparkling wine. An Italian classic and one of the best non-Champagne sparkling wines in the world.
Now if you want it to be more exclusive and want some champagne, then you have two options. Moet & Chandon Imperial Ice is a summer party classic. The residual sugar makes this one sweeter than normal champagne. The best way to enjoy it (don’t just spray it around), is to pour it in a large wine glass, throw in some ice cubes and mint leaves (to make it pretty and add some flavour) and voila! If on the other hand you just fancy some ‘normal’ Champagne then go for Pol Roger. Sir Winston Churchill was so crazy about it, they named their top cuvee after him, and the British royal family is still a top customer. This champagne is simply perfect when it comes to price, quality and flavour and will transform any party, dinner or celebratory toast to the next level…guaranteed!
Available at 31dover.com
On my trip to Santorini, Greece, I found my favourite white wine. To this day, I run around trying to buy bottles whenever I find them and tell people to try it out: Thalassitis by Gaia! Made from the Assyrtiko grape, which is indigenous to Santorini, the wine is both fresh and structured and absolutely outstanding complimentary to grilled fish, salads or just by the glass. If you are looking for something less fresh and fruitier then I can recommend the Altos R Blanco. Coming from a boutique winery in the heart of Rioja (Spain). Tropical fruits, peach flavours, some oak and nice acidity make it ideal for meals with chicken, Milanese, but also grilled fish.
Nothing, absolutely nothing screams summer like a glass of rosé wine and I have selected two different ones for you that you MUST try if you have the chance to. Both of these come from Provence in Southern France – in my opinion home to the best rosé’s in the world!
The first is a true celebrity wine in the rosé scene: Miraval. Miraval is the rosé produced by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and apart from coming in a sexy bottle, the wine itself is of fantastic quality. First vintage was just two years ago and is today much more than a simple ‘celebrity’ wine, but a seriously enchanting wine with roses, red berries and some floral notes. By the way, their winemaker himself is a celebrity in the wine scene himself: Marc Perrin.
My personal favourite wine for the summer however is Whispering Angel by Château d’Esclans. I cannot think of any more elegant and sophisticated, yet easy and fun rosé wine (Château d’Esclans also has a high-end luxury version, but it is aged in oak and more of a pure dinner wine). The wine is simply a stunner and whether by the glass at the beach, at lunch or throughout dinner, it will be extremely enjoyable with notes of raspberry, strawberries and fresh red berry flavours.
Finally I would like to recommend a red wine too. While summer usually isn’t necessarily associated with red wine, I have recently come across one that really blew me away. Some dinners require a red wine too, especially with a BBQ. Frappato from Planeta is a red wine made from the Frappato grape variety. The estate is located in Sicilly, more precisely in Vittoria (South coast). Planeta owns several boutique wineries in Sicilly, all of them are specialized in different grape varieties best suited to the terroir these wineries are located in. Frappato grows extremely well in Vittoria and is an indigenous grape variet in Sicilly, making it unique. Its flavour profile too is wonderful: notes of little wild strawberries, light red fruit, blood orange and flowers! Tannins are soft and there is nice acidity making you want to take sip after sip. This wine is best consumed slightly chilled, making it this much more of an exciting red summer wine that really gets the party going!
I hope you get to enjoy some of these wines over the summer with your friends and loved ones !