September often marks the start of autumn, but the current spells of fine weather and dappled sunlight are an open invitation to keep holiday moments fresh in our minds. The first sip of a terrific wine can certainly rekindle happy memories, so with thoughts of sunny delights in far away places, here are some great ways to toast the setting of summer.
Prosecco may be on the upswing in fashionable circles, but you can’t beat the body and aromas of a crisp, dry cava to pair with salty nibbles. From ‘cava country’ in the Penedes region, try The Wine Selection Cava, Spain (£5, Asda), lively bubbles with good structure and a lemony richness - and at this price, what’s not to love?
A wine that doesn’t give much away on the bouquet, but is utterly delicious on the palate, is Sannio Greco Janare 2012, Southern Italy (£7.25, www.thewinesociety.com). It is a Campanian white with a light honeyed richness, salty iodine note and citrus fruit flavours that will appeal to chardonnay and chenin blanc drinkers alike.
White Bordeaux is characteristically a blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon, and if you like these creamy, dry, pricey white wines it’s worth reacquainting yourself with its next door neighbour. A favourite holiday destination, the Bergerac region offers good quality and terrific value with little gems such as Chateau Thenac Blanc, Bergerac Sec 2010, France (£14.37, www.cellarviewines.com). A delight from beginning to end, it’s rich and aromatic with acacia flowers on the nose, fine lime and citrus flavours with a creamy richness balanced by refreshing acidity.
For adventurous wine lovers, Chateau Marsyas Blanc 2010, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon (£22.10, www.philglas-swiggot.com, 0207 9244494) is a fantasy journey to the Middle East. From Lebanon’s primary wine-growing region, this Bekaa Valley beauty is a blend of 60% chardonnay and 40% sauvignon blanc and shows delicious purity of fruit. A lush mix of peach, pear and apple flavours with honey-creamy notes and an expansive, rich finish, this is a wine to sip, savour and relish.
Just like BBQ’d chicken, a ‘berry’ juicy red such as Spar Californian Red, USA (£5 from £5.99 until September 11, Spar) just begs to be tasted on a summer’s day. A crowd-pleasing easy glugger made from the ruby cabernet grape, it’s a drop of Californian sunshine in a glass with lots of soft cherry fruit, little tannin and a hint of spice on the finish.
As malbec’s popularity grows, there’s no doubting Argentina’s flagship grape offers unbeatable price-to-quality for its ripe, ruby reds such as M&S Vinalta 2012 Malbec, Argentina (£7.99, Marks & Spencer). An International Wine Challenge silver medal winner and a perfect choice with sizzling steak, it’s soft and gorgeous with violet-scented fruit, plum and spice that coats the mouth with dense, velvety black fruit flavours leading to a powerful finish.
Another big wine, Wakefield Promised Land Shiraz Cabernet 2009, Clare Valley, Australia (£9.77, www.spiritedwines.co.uk) has been crafted for late summer drinking. And while it has lots of juicy red berry fruits, plum and cassis, it maintains a youthful quality with a well balanced, refreshing finish and supple tannins - ideal with spicy spare ribs.