Wine recommendations for the summer: reds, whites, roses, sparkling wine, champagne and dessert wines
Whether it's a picnic in the park or a barbecue in the garden, summertime is all about enjoying good food with friends and family.
And what do you need to accompany the occasion? A lovely bottle of wine.
To help you along we have selected four top types that will suit the long, light evenings of British summer.
Each one is a match for quintessential British dishes, so pick wisely and be sure to impress.
Light, crisp, dry whites and rosés
Occasion: Any gathering where fish and salads are the serving of the day. These wines shouldn’t over power the food, but instead they accompany them with a refreshing, tangy zip. Avoid heavier wines or you won’t be able to taste the sea freshness of the fish or the crisp summer salad brimming with colour.
Look out for: Muscadet, Picoul de Pinet, Gavi di Gavi, Good Pinot Grigios, Albarino, Chenin Blanc and European Sauvignon Blancs
Our pick: Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Roquemolière, France 2011
Full, juicy reds
Occasion: It wouldn’t be summer without a barbecue, come rain or shine. A good barbecue will feature sizzling red meats such a lamb, beef steaks or rich pork. These strong dishes need an equally strong wine to stand up to them. Full bodied with oak ageing and tannin (the drying sensation in red wine) is what is needed. Tannin softens fat in red meats giving steak that melt in the mouth texture.
Look out for: Aussie Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Portuguese reds, Southern Italian reds and Southern French reds such as Gigondas.
Our pick: Syrah Reserva, Falernia, Elqui Valley, Chile 2008
Occasion: Any summer celebration. Champagne soils run through Southern England allowing Britain to make exceptional sparkling wine. It was served at the Diamond Jubilee, and of course the palace only serves the very best. Avoid a cheap, branded Champagne and instead help our growers and surprise your hosts with a bottle of British sparkling wine instead.
Look out for: Ridgeview, Nyetimber, Camel Valley, Denbies, Three Choirs and Chapel Down
Our pick: Ridgeview, Grosvenor Cuvée Merret, Blanc de Blancs 2009. Served at the Queen’s Jubilee.
A sweet and happy ending
Occasion: Any pudding at the end of a gathering on a balmy summer's evening, everyone is pleasantly full but they have all saved themselves for a dessert of summer fruits, meringue and cream. Don’t let your friends and family forget the delight of a sweet wine! It’s not all Port and Cheese. A demi-sec wine with lots of freshness, straight out of the cooler adds an extra special touch to fruity puddings and will end the meal even more memorably.
Look out for: For fruit based desserts - Muscat Beaumes des Venise, a good Asti Spumante, Riesling Auslese, Late Harvest Tokaji, Vouray Vendange Tardive, Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive, Late Harvest Semillion
Our pick: Patricius Late Harvest Tokaji, Katinka 2008
Finally, make the most of that bottle:
• Ensure you have chilled rosé or white wines before you arrive. Keep it chilled and out of direct sunlight – there’s nothing more unappetizing than warm wine.
• Reseal the bottle between pouring. Bottles with screw caps make this much easier.
With thanks to Great Western Wines