Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Wine matters: Raise a glass to summer drinks

Sainsbury's has 25% off a range of drinks in its current Summer Drinks Festival, which runs until September 11. There are a few beers, eg Carlsberg export, Newcastle Brown and Budweiser; a few 'ready to drinks' - Pimms and Lemon, Bacardi cocktail, Smirnoff Ice etc; and top gin Bombay Sapphire is down from £21 to £15.74.

There is up to a third off selected wines including Warre's Warrior Port (in a gift box), Tio Pepe Sherry, sparklers Cava, Asti and Champagne, and Jacob's Creek, white and rose. Still table wines include the popular New World brands such as Hardy's, Lindemans, Banrock, Wolf Blass, Rosemount, Jacobs Creek and Brown Brothers; Montana and Oyster Bay from New Zealand; South African Boschendal; Fetzer, Mondavi and Napa Valley from California; Errazuruz from Chile, and Argento from Argentina.

French offers include Jadot's Cote de Beaune, Clarets from Medoc and also Mouton Cadet. There is a Cotes du Rhone Vinsobres Cru, while the Riojas include a Muriel Gran Reserva, a Reserva and Gran Reserva by Campo Viejo.

Some may be available only while stocks last. Check the vintages, it tends to be the lesser vintages which come up for offer, and while they may be fine for early drinking don't hoard them - wine has a finite life. Not sure about vintages? If you didn't get a Pocket Guide in your stocking last Christmas the vintage charts at RobertParket.com and bbr.com (Berry Bros and Rudd) are excellent comprehensive sites. Print off a copy for reference.

What will I be stocking up with? In case we manage to get a BBQ before the summer goes completely, my choice would be the Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel, now £6.36, which is a juicy dark blackberry flavoured Californian. Also the Fetzer Syrah Rosé at £4.86, a serious dry rose with good red berry peppery flavours which makes an attractive aperitif or a versatile food wine.

Even at its full price of £5.99, the Decanter gold medalist Casillero del Diablo Carmenère is a most pleasing mouthful. At the offer price of £4.49, this soft velvety Chilean red is too good to miss. It is on to the style of a warm mellow merlot with an added savoury twist which would go well with barbecued quality sausages or marinated chicken, or even Middle Eastern food like Moroccan lamb, grilled spicy aubergines or a mild tomato-based curry.

Taste the difference Pinot Grigio is down from £7.49 to £5.60. No wishy washy pinot grigio this! It is by premium producer Coltrenzio from vineyards in the Alto Adige region of northern Italy and is citrussy with notes of plums and the finish is nutty almondy. Enjoy as an aperitif or with light dishes such as a crisp Caesar salad or with fish.

Recommended

Sainsbury's taste the difference gewürztraminer, usually £6.99, now £5.24

Produced around the village of Turckheim in Alsace, north eastern France, home of gewürztraminer. A pale golden white shot through with green lights, it has an upfront aromatic bouquet with exotic flavours of lychees, apricots and spice. The palate is full and spicy, the finish is dry - an ideal match for fusion or oriental food.

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