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Top Summer Tipples on a Budget
This is not really a proper piece of clickbait about summer tipples. However much you wished for it.
Heading Into Summer?
Summer is just around the corner and there’s nothing better than kicking back, popping an ice cube in your Whispering Angel and pouring over some DEFRA Legislation* on the new Sussex PDO.
Those lazy Sunday afternoons just aren’t the same when you can’t sift through the ‘categories of grapevine products’ allowed within the specific parameters of the new Sussex PDO.
To get us through those long, hazy days you’ll of course need some delightfully zippy whites, scintillatingly fruity rosés. Plus, an impromptu BBQ just wouldn’t be the same without total acidity set at a minimum of 6 grams per litre expressed as tartaric acid.
So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Wines where their particular terroir produces a wide selection of mainly light still wines from crisp dry whites to fruity red wines and elegant rosé wines.
Chablis Villages, Domaine Ventoura
Chablis has a long history of growing grapes and the still wine producers within Chablis** have won many awards for their still wines both in the UK and in international competitions
You can read about this cool little Chablis domain here. They’ve stopped selling grapes to other local producers, and have been making the wines themselves for a number of years now.
The last time I tasted it, it was a creamier, lees aged style of Chablis, with soft texture and a classic ‘minerality’ and vibrant lemon acidity. A real grown up style of Chablis.
The UK importer is Howard Ripley if you’re interested in getting hold of some, and it was about £20 last time I checked.
Howl & Grappa, SUPERNOVA
Mike, who runs BinTwo, a good buddy of mine, recently released his English ‘Supernova’ Solaris, made in the UK’s smallest commercial winery in Cornwall.
This wine is everything we should be embracing about the UK wine scene. There are no rules here, and Mike doesn’t really care if he conforms, just as long as the wine tastes great.
“Supernova is like Cornish sunshine captured in a glass - dry, bright, fresh and energetic with an explosion of zippy grapefruit and tropical fruit flavours backed up with a lovely textured mouthfeel and well balanced freshness on the finish.
A youthful, simple, fun and immensely enjoyable wine best shared with friends and laughter. Absurdly small scale production with just ninety 500ml bottles available.”
You can buy this from BinTwo for £17.50
Yves Duport, L'Intact Pet Nat
‘Vin de France’, a catch all region coving grapes grown anywhere in France, and wines made in pretty much any style. Another wine that you can’t conform or try and pigeon hole.
This sparkling gamay is most certainly not free from suspended sediment and clear to the observer. It’s a cloudy, unfiltered wine, that’s bottled half-way through the initial fermentation, so that it finishes in the bottle.
Pet-Nat has a slight spritz, yet leaves some sediment in the bottle, adding flavour over time, but also a hazy appearance. It all adds to the flavour if you ask me.
This is juicy and fruity and lively and brilliant, albeit a bit spendy, at about £25. It will be on show at the tasting I’m hosting in collaboration with Fredricks Fine Foods in Diss, next week. Grab your tickets while you can.
Something from my buddy, Brad
The Cramele Recas, Curious Parallel label does enough for me. It’s from Cramele Recas, and available through Virgin Wines for about £10.
It’s plump, juicy and comes highly recommended to me by my buddy Brad Horn, aka WineTimeLondon on Instagram.
Recas are one of the most innovative wineries in Romania, they’re huge, but they make space amongst rattling off millions bottles of Supermarket Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, to make some cool wines from local, indigenous grapes such as this red made from Feteasca Neagra.
Their direction of travel is clearly towards focussing on these kinds of historic, local grapes that are an intrinsic part of the history and tradition of the region.
Why spend all your efforts and energy in focussing on the grapes everyone else is using?
One More Wine, Because I Said ‘Top 5’
I tasted this last week and it’s simply, bloody delicious. I just call it Pique & Mixe, but it’s official title is this: Vignerons de Florensac, Pique & Mixe Piquepoul-Terret, IGP Côtes De Thau Blanc.
I love a fantastic co-op. Co-operation and collaboration is much nicer than division for the sake of a lousy marketing strategy.
The forward-thinking Vignerons de Florensac have blended Picpoul*** with Terret. Genuis. It’s vibrant, fresh, grapefruit and apricot and all kinds of tasty.
Imported and distributed by Alliance Wines in the UK and available to buy in loads of great indies.
There you have it.
* ‘Sussex’ - Protected wine name with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), to be precise.
** Insert any really old wine producing region in here, perhaps one that’s been growing grapes longer than 40 years?
*** Picpoul Blanc, as in Picpoul de Pinet
For another take, read this Fake Booze article.
“The British wine industry has ignored terroir and microclimate in favour of arbitrary thousand-year-old boundaries to create its first wine appellation. Experts have described the Saxon Kingdom-based model as ‘incredibly forward looking’…”
And for a rather more considered take on the recent announcement of a Sussex PDO, there’s a blog here that I really like, written by Steve Charters MW
The mistake is a nuanced one – but it’s very significant, and shows a failure of cultural understanding”