It is always nice to start a meal with an aperitif, and in the warmer days call for cooler wines. A young, fruity Rosé or a glass of sparkling wine perhaps? Ambroisie Rose D’Anjou 2017, with a pleasant alcoholic strength of just 10.5% will pair well with any number of amuse-bouche, from smoked salmon blinis to salami. Sartarelli Brut Spumante NV, described by Decanter magazine as “not unlike a good Prosecco”, comes from the Marches region of Italy and is produced from the Verdicchio grape. It is crisp, dry and always elegant, it will make for a thought-provoking alternative to its northern cousin from the Veneto.
As the day approaches its raison d’etre, when protein meets charcoal, it is important to have plentiful wines on hand to match. If salad and seafood is on the menu, a light, fresh, crisp white with palate cleansing acidity is called for. Pajzos Tokaji Furmint Dry 2017 from Hungary, is exceptional with something akin to Grilled Sardines with Lemon and Garlic. .While White fish such as cod or monkfish cries out for Mondo del Vino La Piuma Pecorino Terre di Chieti 2018 from Abruzzo; a delightful dry wine with notes of apple and pear, hints of jasmine, lemon and some shy floral suggestions.
With chicken or poultry, look to whites that are richer, more concentrated and tropical. Les Dissidents Préjugés 2018 is always a winner. Domaine de Ventenac is found about 10km north of Carcassonne in the appellation of Cabardes. Winemaker Olivier Ramé says “It is not in my nature to raise a white wine in wood. Barriques really aren’t my thing… But having a taste for contradiction and experimentation, I have found that this type of “élevage” lends itself well to a crisp Chardonnay with mineral notes. This experiment was quite a revelation to me!”
Classic burgers, prepared with their ever-changing variety of toppings, look to versatile reds with fresh, palate-cleansing acidity and bright fruity flavours; the adult equivalent of a fizzy, fruity juice. Domaine Rochette Beaujolais Villages 2017 is classic. Winemakers Joël and Matthieu come from a family of winegrowers stretching back several generations. ‘Gobelet’ training of the vines make them impossible to work by machine, so they hand-pick and make severe selections in the vineyard. Vinification is traditional, in cuvée, to make wines which accentuate fruit purity. The wines have a real identity of their own – as Matthieu says ‘it is the terroir that gives us the distinction to the wines – we do not interfere in the cellar.”
Red meat calls for a sanguine liquid. Grilled beef steaks and lamb cooked over charcoal require rich, deep flavours to stand up to the bold, earthy essence of the meat. In turn, big, broad tannins are needed to bind and break down the fat. Rustenberg Shiraz 2016, from Stellenbosch in South Africa, possesses all of these desirable qualities; comprised of a blend of fruit from four different vineyards, aiming for a pleasing ripeness but avoiding overripe “porty” characters. Red fruits are emphasised with a slightly sweeter profile than the more savoury Syrah. This Shiraz has plenty of natural brambly red and black fruit on the well-defined nose. The palate is medium bodied with a fine line of acidity, crisp tannins and expressive red berry fruit mixed with spice and cloves on the finish.
Wine and BBQ foods are a match made in heaven, and we have a selection to suit every dish, budget and taste at JN Wine. Please do not hesitate to ask when you’re in the shop or on the phone.