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Drinks cabinet: A toast to the best of Mediterranean coast

By Sam Wylie-Harris

Published 02/04/2016

A cut above: Eddie Patrick at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill in the Park Avenue Hotel

Cruising along the Mediterranean and visiting some favourite ports of call is a time-honoured tradition that even armchair travellers can enjoy without having to board a ship.

From the sunny Cote d’Azur, to the beaches of Barcelona, from the Italian coastline, to the slopes of Mount Etna, warm weather wines can bring you closer to a place in the sun and the only thing you’ll have to disembark is the cork.

Cotes de Thau 2013, France (£4.97, Asda)

You might want to grab a deckchair before pouring a glass of this pretty white wine with its retro Fifties label. The Cotes de Thau on France’s Mediterranean coast is home to this reliably fresh and breezy style with white fruits and good acidity to wash down any type of seafood.

Mas de Cadenet Sainte Victoire 2015, Cotes de Provence, France (£10.95,

If you long for a place in Provence nestled among the vineyards and foothills of Mont Saint Victoire (one of Cezanne’s favourite landscapes), this rosy blush palette with its floral aromas and wonderfully fresh finish will fast track you to olive groves and blue skies.

Finest Vintage Cava Brut Nature 2011, Spain, (£7, Tesco)

Catalonia is cava country and whether you like to keep a bottle in the fridge to open on impulse or enjoy with nibbles, this fine fizz has extra ageing and there’s power to the rich palate with deep lemon and golden highlights, it’s a dry, refreshing style that could encourage a tapas tour.

Triade Fiano/Falanghina/Greco 2014, Campania, Italy (£8.79,

If you can identify with sun-baked Campania, home to some of southern Italy’s best whites, this fresh fiano should have a place in your ice bucket. With creamy aromas of vanilla and exotic fruits adding a touch of ripeness and zesty citrus on the finish, it’s food friendly and would pair beautifully with calamari.

Tenuta Giustini Vecchio Negroamaro 2012, Puglia, Italy (£9.95, from vineyards

One for the captain’s table, this native grape loves the hot, dry summers of Italy’s southern coastline and this fruity, jammy red opens with plush aromas of cherry and blackberry preserves and a juicy, fresh finish that cries out for  spaghetti Bolognese.

Nicosia Classic 2013, Etna Rosso DOC, Sicily (£12.49,

For a sense of place and island life, if you like a wine that really reflects the region, this elegant and structured red displays a minerally element from the volcanic soil and manages to be both silky and textured.

Thymiopoulos Xinomavro 2013, Greece (£10.50, Marks & Spencer)

Delicious to drink, but a mystery to pronounce, Greek wines may not be on your radar, but this ruby red could be the one that floats your boat. Perfumed with blackberry, damson and plummy fruit, it’s soft and smooth with a depth of flavour and ripeness that lures you back for more.

Belfast Telegraph

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