A cool taste of summer
‘Summertime… and the living is easy’
As Ella Fitzgerald put it so eloquently ‘Summertime… and the living is easy’, we all love to feel carefree and enjoy life especially during the summer months. August is high summer, whether we are off on holiday, just back or simply enjoying the short lived English summer, there’s cricket, picnics and long summer evenings. When the sun is shining what could be simpler and more refreshing that a crisp chilled white wine. We want to enjoy lovely lip-smacking citrus and herbal notes, the sort of wines that makes us think of summer meadows and English gardens, or that we enjoy sitting on a beach or lounging by a slick hotel pool.
Where to start, we want zesty, racy wines, the sort that give us a refreshing lift at this time of year. So I follow a few easy ground rules and go by grape style, here are my top suggestions:
Picpoul de Pinet
This really is a crowd-pleasing wine, super fresh, no oak these are lively, zesty wines often with a herbal quality. Originating from the Languedoc where this grape has been grown for centuries these marry perfectly with Meditterrean foods including fish and shell, and in particular anchovies or salt cod where it counters the savouriness brilliantly.
Wine suggestion: Cuvée Caroline, Picpoul de Pinet, Moret Languedoc, France £11.40
These wines can be described as Picpoul’s Northern cousin hailing from the Loire Valley! Fresh and citrus with great acidity which gives these wines a racy character. There is often a ‘salty’ quality to these wines and a minerality that allows them to hold up well against vinaigrettes and other dressings, but can also can cut through richer creamy sauces. It’s true calling however is bivalves (mussels, oysters and other Atlantic seafood). Watch out those that state ‘Sur Lie’ as they can exhibit a richer texture and more pronounced honeyed or floral notes as they have been aged on the lees (yeast cells left after fermentation).
The white grape of Austria gives us delicious, pure, mineral wines. These refreshing citrusy wines often show characteristics of white pepper, dill, celery or even gherkin. Drink these with classic dishes such as Schnitzel or counter with Thai and other Asian spices.
These wines when sourced from top vineyards can age fantastically becoming fuller bodied with lemon, honey and a nuttiness that stands up admirably against great Chardonnays of the same age.
Wine suggestion: Grüner Veltliner Renner, Allram, Kamptal, Austria £23.50
From one of the top single vineyards of the Allram estate in the wine growing region of Kamptal, Austria. This weighty and expressive Grüner Veltliner has a finesse and elegance which gets better with age.
Originating in Galicia in North West Spain close to the Atlantic these wines show their sea breezy origins with a slight salinity, minerality and zingy acidity however these wines can also exhibit peachy notes and hints of blossom in slightly fuller styles. This makes them both fresh and charming, experiment by combining with all kinds of seafood from shellfish risottos, sashimi, fresh white crab, seafood stew but also delicious with the light creaminess of burrata or goat’s cheese with beetroot.
Wine suggestion: Puerta Santa Albarino, Bodega Morgadio, Rias Baixas, Spain £12.70
Like oral lightning bolts, these styles with their common thread of freshness, acidity and citrus are wines for those with a zest for life. To top it all they offer great value, as well as vibrancy and easy appeal. These wines are fun… Enjoy!
All wines available from Thirsty.