White - Under £10
1) The Best Vinho Verde 2020, Portugal,
Made from the Loureiro grape. Subtle melony nose, vibrant zesty limey palate, refreshing spritz (just a touch), sweet sour notes with a dry finish. This enchanting Vinho Verde is made by Joao Maria Ramos – all very attractively packaged with a colourful label in flute bottle - from 20 year old vines close to Ponte de Lima in northern Portugal where Loureiro grows well. Great value.
Rose Murray Brown MW
2) Assyrtiko IGP Florina, Filos Estate 2020 Greece,
From the Amyndeon zone in northwest Greece. Crisp, dry, lemony, and saline. Surprisingly rich in body and texture that makes it ideal with food such as summer salads and grilled fish. Assyrtiko at this price is amazing and is a great introduction to the grape and Greece for newbie wine drinkers.
3) Tesco Finest Torrontes 2019 Bodegas y Viñedos Catena, Salta, Argentina,
Apricot, lychee, almond, orange peel, citrus great with Asian food.
4) Bergerie de la Bastide Blanc 2019, Languedoc, France,
Les Caves de Pyrene £8.35
Delightfully fresh, herb-scented southern French white, with lovely acidity and some reasonable weight; citrus and stone fruit and a lovely finish, ideal on its own or with seafood/summer salads.
5) Moschofilero/Roditis 2020, Mantineia Greece
M&S Found Series £8.50
Made for M&S by the excellent Semeli Winery who are masters of the Moschofilero grape - this blend with Roditis packs a lot flavour into a modest 12% alcohol wine. Moschofilero’s signature hint of rose petal, ripe citrus and white peach is backed up by Roditis’s more pristine mineral character. It’s balanced, concentrated and hugely enjoyable on its own or with summery Mediterranean food and is remarkably good value.
6) Mâcon-Lugny Les Côteaux des Anges 2019, Burgundy, France,
The Cave de Lugny, in Mâcon was founded in 1927 by winegrowers in the region who were struggling due to poor sales. These early visionaries began campaigning for higher quality production with the Chardonnay variety. This wine is certainly a good example, bringing out all of its varied qualities - golden hued, with expressive aromas of floral, citrus and tropical fruits. It is quite weighty, rich and buttery, with lingering layers of tropical and stone fruits – the flavours of summer. It would be great with baked pork, creamy fish pie and my favourite special summer dish - guinea- fowl in cream sauce.
7) Waitrose Loved & Found Petit Manseng 2019, Jurançon, France,
Clear winner in our recent summer whites tasting for quality – it was one of the higher priced wines – but definitely worth the money. Loved its attractive peachy fruits, juicy lime and honey notes, hints of spice and fleshy succulent well-rounded palate. Very good.
Rose Murray Brown MW
8) Vouvray Domaine Vieux Vauvert 2020, Loire, France,
Slightly off dry with refreshing citrus and apple with a honeyed finish. Perfect on a summer day with goat’s cheese salad or summer fruits.
Rose - Under £10
9) Côteaux Varois en Provence Rosé 2020, France,
Although typically pale in colour as you’d expect from Provence, this wine has great flavour and forward fruit. The blend of 6 grapes including Grenache Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan provides delicious strawberry fruit and a good depth of flavour. Pair with charcuterie and chicken.
10) Château Carbonneau Cuvée Lulu Rosé 2020, Ste Foy Côtes de Bordeaux, France,
The General Wine Company £9.99
Dry, fresh, fruity and elegant with a pretty red berry and cherry nose and palate. Lovely on its own but with enough structure to match with food. Try with a briefly seared tuna steak marinated in lemon, capers and parsley. Perfect!
Reds - Under £10
11) Ribeiro Santo Tinto 2020, Dão, Portugal,
The Wine Society £7.95
Deep in colour, with fresh blackberry fruit flavours, it is soft and mellow, with good balancing acidity
and a warm, luscious fruit finish with a touch of herbs. Made from Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and
Alfrocheiro it is a stunningly good wine for the price. Works perfectly with a duck paté and spicy
tomato salad, followed by a hunk of creamy Long Clawson Stilton and Neal’s Yard crackers.
12) The Society's Beaujolais Villages 2020, France,
The Wine Society £8.25
Delightful fruity Beaujolais Villages, enjoyed on a family picnic, slightly chilled. Very round with lovely underpinning acidity, what's not to like?
13) Palataia Pinot Noir 2020, Pfalz, Germany, M&S £8.95
Tasted this blind alongside two other Pinot Noirs. The velveteen red/black cherry fruit and low tannins immediately took me to New World pinot territory. A great surprise to find out its origin. Smoothly accessible, good weight, fresh and delightful Pinot Noir. A steal for under £10.
14) Bourgueil 'Passion', Joël Taluau 2020, Loire Valley, France,
The Wine Society £9.50
You want to drink red but don’t want something too heavy on a summer’s day. Dark berry fruit but with real freshness and liveliness, serve slightly chilled with your summer meat or cheese dishes or whole mackerel on the BBQ.
White - £10-£30
15) New Hall vineyard, Essex, England Bacchus Reserve 2019, Grape Britannia £11.99,
Strictly Wine £10.99
Lovely light style of Bacchus with notes of pears, apples, elderflower with melon on the palate. Perfect as an aperitif or with seafood and salads.
16) Vaugelas les Falaises 2020, Languedoc Blanc, France:
Dunnes Stores (ROI) €11
Rich, plump, ripe fruits (Grenache, Vermentino, Roussanne) set into a lightly spiced and crisply structured body. Perfect with creamed and rich offerings from the kitchen.
17) Marquis de Pennautier Viognier Pays d’Oc 2019, France,
Majestic £11.99 (£6.99 mix six)
Notes of apple, citrus and apricot. Great on a sunny day with gazpacho, tomato and mozzarella salad.
18) De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2020/1, Durbanville, South Africa,
Waitrose £11.99 (£8.99 on special offer)
Bright and lively tropical fruit salad in a glass! Fruity with intense fruit flavours on the palate, mouthfilling with a long zesty finish - perfect for Summer and friends. Ideal with goatsmilk and basil crostini. One of South Africa’s best.
19) Muros Antigos Alvarinho, Vinho Verde 2020, Portugal
The Wine Society £12.95
Anselmo Mendes is the Portuguese master of Alvarinho. He worked as a consultant for other companies for years, then started up on his own in 1998. Muros Antigos is classic Alvarinho, combining the lemony freshness of the grape and the proximity to the coast, with its richer, aromatic complexity. This is brilliant with garlic-fried prawns, also delicious with fresh crab with mayonnaise.
20) Biface Despagne 2018, Bordeaux, France
This may not immediately shout ‘Bordeaux Blanc’ to you because of its bottle shape being atypical. But it is indeed a Sauvignon Blanc blended in equal measure with old-vine Sémillon and comes from the classic white wine area of the region, Entre-Deux-Mers. It is both ripe and textured yet crisp and fresh with a lively acidity and long-rounded finish making it perfect to drink on its own, with picnics or with a more substantial roast chicken or pork dinner.
21) Folle Blanche 2020, Pierre Luneau Papin, Loire, France,
The Good Wine Shop £13.50
This dry white wine is 100% Folle Blanche, or Gros Plant, a variety used in the Nantais to produce a very dry white with good acidity similar to Picpoul from the Languedoc. Creamy aromas but super dry, light, zesty, citrus fruit, it’s excellent as an aperitif or with seafood pasta. It’s an absolute bargain for the quality and style.
22) Honey Drop Chardonnay 2020, Western Cape South Africa,
Majestic £13.99 or £11.99 mix six
Fresh and juicy Chardonnay, with body, depth and character. Definite kick of vanilla oak, but well
integrated with peachy, creamy fruit and a hint of honey. Perfect with barbecued sardines with
tomato salad or a top-notch Caesar salad with char-grilled chicken.
23) Vouvray Spring Sec, 2019 Domaine Carême, Loire, France,
A pale gold, bright crisp fresh lemon and melon flavoured wine with an elegant creamy finish. This wine is perfect with freshly poached salmon and salad. I had forgotten how good Chenin Blanc could be!
24) Albamar Albariño 2020 Rias Baixas, Spain,
Lovely flavours of pear, white peach and citrus make it perfect with white fish or seafood.
25) Palacio de Fefiñas Albariño 2020, Galicia, Spain,
Textbook Albariño from the producer of the first wines from this variety back in the 1920s. Electric acidity with fragrant floral aromas and stone fruits and a persistent finish. Ideal on its own or with some salted cashews or steamed mussels.
26) Frei Gigante Branco, Vinho Regional Açores, Portugal 2018, £24,
Drinkmonger, Noble Green, Noel Young, Vinoteca
This is an Atlantic white. Not just in the sense of being made from grapes grown near the ocean, but from grapes grown on the island of Pico in the mid-Atlantic. It's fresh and lean, with a tingle of maritime spray and a suggestion of greengage, made from three Portuguese varieties taken to the Azores centuries ago: Arinto dos Açores, Verdelho and Terrantez do Pico. Drink this, and you are drinking geography and history, made in a thoroughly modern way.
27) Schönleben Blümlein Rheingau Koshu Grape Wine, Germany –
VSF Wine Shop £30.50
Germany meets Japan... an interesting bottle to surprise your guests. The first and only winery to produce Koshu grape wine made outside Japan. This is fruity and elegant with mild acidity and fresh minerals. A touch of musk melon. "Indigenous" Japanese grape with the distinct profile of a Rheingau wine.
Rose - £10-30
28) Domaine l’Abbaye St Hilaire Côteaux Varois en Provence 2020, France,
Delicate aromas and flavours of raspberry, rosehip and peach, perfect with grilled fish and salad or summer fruit.
29) Château Bauduc Rosé 2020, Bordeaux, France
Château Bauduc £12.50
Every time I drink this wine, I comment on how delicious it is. I am at risk of boring my nearest and dearest because we drink this wine a lot, especially in the summer. There is so much strawberry fruitiness with perfectly balanced acidity that every glass brings a little bit of sunshine and joy.
30) Les Quatre Tours Signature Rosé 2020, Côteaux d’Aix en Provence, France,
Stone VI Sun £12.95
I have drunk a number of terrific rosés this summer and would love to have featured Domaine du Météore but couldn’t find a UK stockist. However, this wine from Côteaux d’Aix is just as good, nicely balancing stone fruit, hints of wild herbs and that effortless drinkability that is a hallmark of good rosés from this part of France.
31) Château de Berne Cuvée Or Rosé 2020, Provence,
Waitrose £13.49 (£9.99 on offer)
First class Provence Rosé from a single estate - you can pay less but this is worth the spend, though look out for regular offers at £9.99 (and it’s a snip compared to 'celeb' rosé from the region). Generous, delicate red and nectarine fruits beguile with an elegant substance that can also man up to burgers and lamb as well as summery dishes. The classy square bottle will also impress.
32) Creation Rosé 2020, Hemel en Aarde, South Africa,
Creation Wine online shop £14.50
Ballerina pink from Grenache noir and Viognier seduces with oodles of ripe strawberry and red cherry fruit aromas jumping out of the glass. Fresh and fruity with a delicate peach blossom perfume. Well balanced with a delicious pomegranate twist on the finish - a Summer sizzler!
33) Doña Paula Rosé of Malbec 2020, Argentina,
Tesco IE, Dunnes €15.00 (ROI)
Early picking of Malbec from a 1000m high vineyard ensures a crackling structure. Light to mid pink colour and lusciously ripe fruit. Serve very cold with finger bites of cooled, roasted sea food.
34) Simpsons Railway Hill, Kent, England Rosé 2020,
Hawkins Bros £20, Roberson £19.95
Grapefruit, lychee and stone fruit with a crisp finish. Lovely aperitif or with white fish.
Reds - £10-30
35) Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 'Combe aux Jacques' 2020, France,
Quintessential summery red ripe for chilling? Oh yes - a cool Bojo this good deserves that status. Much of the fruit comes from the superior 'cru' village of Régnié, this Jadot bottling consistently over-delivers with plenty of uplifting. juicy, peppery red fruit. Hugely versatile, enlivens anything from charcuterie to robust salads.
36) Saumur Champigny Les Villaises 2019, Loire, France,
Courney & Barrow £13.25
Superbly priced example from a tiny lieu-dit (named vineyard) showing how good Loire Cabernet Franc can be in a warm vintage. Earthy, tomato leaf and blackcurrant notes, balsamic spice, soft plush tannins and good vibrant acidity. Clear winner in our recent summer reds tasting.
Rose Murray Brown MW
37) Sea of Dreams Garnacha 2019, Bodegas Zorzal, Navarra, Spain,
The Good Wine Shop £16.50
Seriously smashable, high altitude Garnacha from old vines in Navarra, made by Garnacha gurus Bodegas Zorzal. Ripe, fresh crushed red berries, and a whiff of floral rather than spices make this light coloured yet intensely juicy red perfect lightly chilled. I know of no better antidote to a long day or a better partner to a picnic or barbecue.
38) Artuke Pies Negros 2018, Rioja, Spain –
Lea & Sandeman £16.95
This is a joyous and lively expression of Tempranillo, with a little Graciano, from the banks of the Ebro River in the small but high quality sub-region of Rioja Alavesa. Brother and sister Arturo and Kike (hence the name Artuke) are in the business of letting each of their vineyards speak of their origins and their La Condenada bottling is one of the most highly sought-after wines in the region. Pies Negros, however, is a gentle and wallet-friendly introduction to their wines with juicy and full-flavoured fruit and is perfect slightly chilled in the summer with Ottolenghi style Mediterranean dishes.
39) Pinot Noir 2018, Albourne Estate, Sussex, England,
Albourne Estate online shop £17.95
This English wine is so good chilled. Aromas and flavours of ripe blueberries and raspberries with a hint of white pepper. A truly elegant light crisp style, brilliant with freshly grilled tuna and roasted vegetables. A perfect wine to enjoy this summer.
40) Marsannay 2018, Louis Latour, Burgundy, France,
For a very special occasion, this complex, intense red Burgundy has beautiful ripe raspberry and red cherry fruit flavours with spicy peppery and leather notes and a complex long finish. It is delicious with roasted duck and pairs really well with a vintage crumbly cheddar.
41) Taste the Difference Crémant de Loire, France NV,
This “méthode traditionelle” is a superb example of why Crémant is such exceptional value in the sparkling and Champagne category. Rich and mouthfilling with appealing zesty apple character on the palate. Great as an aperitif and shellfish dishes.
42) Villa Sandi Prosecco Rosé Millesimato 2020 “Fresca”, Italy
House of Townsend £12.99, Selfridges £19.50
2020 was the first time that the Prosecco DOC authorities allowed the release of Prosecco Rosé and many versions have made their way to our wine merchant and supermarket shelves since then. What better drink for the summer than something pink and sparkling? Like all Prosecco Rosé, this is made predominantly from the Glera grape, with the addition of Pinot Noir to give it that delicate pink colour. Importantly, here it also gives lovely crunchy summery berry fruit aromas, which, combined with Brut level dryness and just 11% alcohol make this an easy choice for warm weather drinking (even if we have to imagine the warm weather).
43) La Gioiosa Millesimato 2020 Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Veneto, Italy,
Vibrant fruit and refreshing. Great as an aperitif or with seafood or even lemon tart.
44) Graham Beck Blanc de Blancs 2016
South Africa House of Wine £19.99 (£16.99 on special offer)
Graham Beck may not have been the first to produce high quality fizz in South Africa, but they are now one of the best known. I am a fan of their entire Cap Classique range, but the Blanc de Blancs is my favourite. It is rich and creamy with apple and orange zest flavours, its elegance and complexity suggesting a wine of a much higher price.
45) Calancombe Estate Blanc de Noirs 2018, Devon, England –
from the winery or Dartmouth Wine £29.95
Elegant cherry scent followed by a fine spiced finish.
46) Tamagawa Ice Breaker, Japan,
VSF Wine Shop £31
British born Philip Harper is one of Japan’s most forward thinking Tojis (sake makers). Ice Breaker is a ‘cool’ sake to be drunk over ice. This “3U” (unpasteurised, unfiltered, undiluted) Nama, Muroka, Genshu Junmai Ginjo using Nihonbare rice (60% polish) and no9 yeast with good acidity is outstanding. Fresh, complex and so full of umami.