So we have a bank holiday weekend upon us and the good news is that it’s set to be a nice one –possibly up to around 20C on Sunday and Monday. With that in mind, it’s time to think about what wines would go down well for a sunny weekend – one where hopefully we’ll all be able to get outside rather than cosy-ing up indoors, which has been more typical of late!
Here are my top tips for making the most of the bank holiday weekend.
As soon as there’s the first sign of sun, us British folk tend to reach for the BBQ. And if barbequed sausages, steak or burgers are going to make an appearance this weekend, it’s well worth bringing out the big hitting reds. A red meat like beef or steak naturally needs a powerful wine full of robust tannins to complement the texture of the meat. A New World Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon will work wonders, as will a Californian Zinfandel or Argentinean Malbec such as Fincas del Sur Malbec 2011
On the other hand, if you are sticking to white fish or chicken, or have a vegetarian in your party, a medium to full bodied white such as a Chardonnay is the obvious choice, while a wine like Atalaya do Mar Godello 2010 would provide a more unusual alterative. To really shake things up, why not try a sparkling red wine, such as the Woolundry Road Sparkling Shiraz NV – it will stand up to many a red meat but is offset with the coolness and bubbles of a summary fizz – bliss!
If you’re going to be packing up the picnic hamper in search of a sunny spot, a “lunchtime” or “soft and juicy” style red is what you’ll be after. These are typically light red wines, with few tannins, and which shouldn’t leave you falling asleep come the afternoon. They’ll also make a nice match for the quiche Lorraine, cold meats, bread and paté which will inevitably feature on the menu. Look out for a Pinot Noir, Gamay or red from the Languedoc region in France such as Les Trois Cles Grenache Syrah 2009. Again, if you are a white fan, a light to medium style such as a Gavi or Chenin Blanc should do the trick.
Traditionalists who, despite the weather, can’t tear themselves away from a Sunday/ Bank Holiday roast should look to the classic styles of wine in their wine rack as a good match. Rioja is always a great pairing for lamb and pork, and you can’t get much better than a decent Bordeaux such Chateau du Seuil Graves Rouge 2006 if you are having roast beef. Similarly a classic style Chardonnay such as Chablis or Meursault will sip down nicely with chicken.
But if all of the above sounds too much like hard work and instead you simply fancy getting your friends around for a few drinks, I would opt for something pink or sparkling. One of my favourite wines at the moment is Araldica Moscato d’Asti 2011. I am not generally a fan of slightly sweeter style of wine but this is fun, interesting and low in alcohol – making it perfect for daytime drinking. Otherwise, in my view, you can never go wrong with a Cava or Prosecco (or Champers if the budget allows!).
A light style rosé from the Loire or Languedoc should go down a treat if you are rosé fan. But if none of that really appeals, you could opt for a glass of sherry. A chilled Fino such as Fernando de Castilla Classic Fino NV , good company and a bowl of salted nuts or crisps….hmm, what more could you need? Let’s just hope the sun decides to make an appearance!