I love wine all-year round. If it was socially acceptable I’d have it for breakfast. But the summer, in particular, is my favourite time to enjoy wine.
It’s all too easy (and totally fine) to dip into the staples of summer drinking such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. You can also easily end up spending the whole season drinking big bold Shiraz or Malbec every time you fire up the BBQ. In fact, that sums up my June to August drinking. But as nice as it was to revisit those old summertime friends, it’s time for a change.
Summer Wine Suggestions
So I want to go a little bit off-piste and suggest some alternatives from the Virgin Wines range. Wines that are a little bit different, but still make great summer wines.
I want that refreshing hit, but I don’t want too much acidity. I don’t want to chill the hell out of a bottle just to make it easy to drink. But I’m a bit of a wine snob, so I still want refined, noticeable flavours and a wine good enough to make my friends say “wow”. So, my outsider tip for a summer white is The Outside Riever Colombard. It’s aromatic, but in the nice hand-crafted way that good wines are. It’s got the bite of lovely citrus-fruit flavours in that fresh way that gives your palate a little slap and leaves your mouth watering. Give it a go, its only £8.99 a bottle – there’s less than 2k bottles left though, so don’t delay.
As mentioned – I’m a bit of a wine snob so forgive me if my red choice is a bit indulgent. The Madame L Levin Gamay is worth every penny of the £23.99 you’ll have to part with for a bottle of it. If you haven’t tried Gamay yet then this is an expensive but perfect place to start. Most people’s first sip of beer isn’t the supermarkets own brand, so your first of Gamay shouldn’t be a cheap one from the shops in town.
As described on our website – this is artisan winemaking, from truly world-class winemakers (the Levins), from the exceptional 2010 vintage. I serve it chilled (around 13°C) as a stop-gap between the white wine I serve to guests when they arrive, and the bigger reds I serve once I get the BBQ going. Yes, I serve £20 wine as a stop-gap! It’s not that indulgent is it?
I’m not the biggest fan of rose. So when my wife says “stick a bottle of rose in the fridge” I always go to The Black Pig Rose. If you’re a Virgin Wines customer you’ve no doubt tried wines from the Black Pig range. What I like about this one is the clean and refreshing red berry flavours that don’t seem to suffer from being really chilled. Giving you the refreshment factor of ice-cold wine, but still delivering satisfying amounts of flavour. You might be able to get rose for cheaper than £9.99 locally – but I doubt you can get better. Plus it’s the greatest thing ever with Chinese-style five spice pork belly slices!
Prosecco is great. I love Prosecco. A lot of the time I’ll choose it over Champagne. I nearly chose the Ombra Prosecco Frizzante as my sparkling tip. But there’s a very special Champagne in the Virgin Wines range that has got me so excited I actually don’t mind spending money on it as a casual weekend drink. The Champagne Laurenti Brut Grande Cuvee is yum. The customer rating of 4.9 / 5 says a lot – but the beautiful juice in the bottle tells you the full story of its hand-crafted upbringing. Only the finest grapes from Laurenti’s own vineyards have been used to craft a smooth and elegant Champagne.
So that’s it – a selection that’s a bit tough on the wallet, but worth every penny. I’m a firm believer in interpreting “value for money” in other ways than just finding the cheapest bulk deal. On that basis I call these wines good value for money. I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you’ve tried them before.