FOOD & DRINK: A drop for the barbie

Chase wine expert DAVID CLAY explores tipples suitable for an outdoor summer feast.

We should be well into the barbecue season now the sun sets later and the evenings grow even warmer.

At a barbecue the wines should fit the mood as well as the food. However after the light wines and fizz most items at a barbecue need a good red.

Beaujolais seems out of fashion but on a hot day Beaujolais, lightly chilled, is good with sausages, bacon and many vegetarian dishes. Try one of these:

Beaujolais Paul Sapin, La Chapelle de Guinchay 2017 12.5pc (M&S £7) All cherry and redcurrant.

Sainsbry’s Taste the Difference Beaujolais Villages Coteaux Granitiques 2017 13.5pc (£9.50) Fruity blackcurrant and blueberry flavours. Fruity but big enough to tackle barbecues. Lovely.

The Society’s Exhibition Fleurie 2018 13pc (The Wine Society £10.50) Ripe, fresh with perfumed nose.

Maison Loron Beaujolais 2017 13pc (Majestic £11.99, £9.99 mixed 6) Full with elegant red fruit flavours of raspberry and strawberry with refreshing acidity.

A couple of classic barbecue grape varieties are Syrah (Shiraz) and Grenache.

There are some very good ones from down the Rhone Valley and Southern France. Try these two:

Minervois La Liviniere (Languedoc) 2016 14pc (Aldi £8.99) Sirah, Grenache and Carignan. Intense black cherry, blackberry and plum plus some spices, black pepper, and herby notes. The palate is refined and chewy with hints of liquorice. Great with hearty meat dishes.

Lirac Rouge, La Fermade, Domaine Maby 2016 14.5pc (The Wine Society £11.50) Fresh fruit, black cherry, plum and spicy notes.

From Australia: Exquisite Australian Shiraz 2016, South Australia 14pc ( Aldi £5.79) Great value. Powerful with succulent black cherries, ripe black plum fruits and blackberries, rich dark fruits with traces of liquorice, sweet spice and eucalyptus.

Irresistable Mount Benson Shiraz 2016, Limestone Coast, South Australia 13pc (Co-op £7) With a nose of ripe blueberries and blackcurrants and a palate of soft tannins, vanilla, cassis and spice.

As for Grenache, Asda Extra Special Old Vine Garnacha, Carinena, Aragon, Spain 14pc (£5.50) is ideal barbecue wine. The 45-year-old vines create a concentrated and intensely fruity flavour which makes it a great partner to roast meats, casseroles Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2018 Coastal Region, 12.5pc (Asda £7.50, Waitrose £8.99) Krasno Sauvignon Blanc Ribolla 2017, 13pc (Majestic £9.99, £8.49 mixed 6) Lyme Block 2018, Lyme Bay Winery, Devon (Aldi Exquiste Collection £9.99) or Mediterranean dishes.

Wickersley Fine Wines have Yangarra 2014 Old Vine Grenache, Kangarilla, McLaren Vale, South Australia 14.5pc (£13.99). I love this wine, huge, complex and elegant. Will compete well with any barbecued meat.

If there is a bit of spice Petite Sirah and Zinfandel from California fit the bill. Try these three Petite Sirahs:

McManis Family Lodi Petite Sirah 2015, California 13.5pc (The Wine Society £11.50) This rich chocolate and blackberry flavoured red is one I turn to time and time again.

In Australia Petite Sirah is known as Durif. Try De Bortoli 1628 Durif 2015, South Eastern Australia 14.5pc (Majestic £10.99, £8.99 mixed 6) Lashings of blackberry and plum with a backbone of chocolate, vanilla and a hint of spice. This is a fantastic barbecue wine, and can also be enjoyed with any casseroles or stews.

Chronic Cellars Suite Petite 2015 13.5pc Winemaker Josh Beckett (Sainsbury £15) 86pc Petite Sirah, 14pc Syrah. This has aromas of cigar and spice. On the palate sweet cherry, blackberries, and juicy blueberry with spicy notes, smooth finish.

Now for Zinfandel:

Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 Lodi, California 15.5pc (Waitrose £13.99) is rich, plump, juicy, concentrated and ripe, long mulberry and mocha finish. The Wine Society has the 2016 (£12.50). Just as good but a little less alcohol at 14pc. Great with grilled meats.

1000 Stories Vineyards Bourbon Aged Zinfandel 14.5pc Hopland, Mendocino County, Winemaker Bob Blue (Sainsbury £15) American and French oak wine barrels are commonplace, so the inspiration for 1000 Stories is a nod to the way things were. The winemaker selected new and used bourbon barrels for these small batches of Zinfandel, which “impart characteristics specific to these barrels: charred vanilla, dried herbs and a hint of caramel”.

Chronic Cellars Purple Paradise, Paso Robles, California 14.5pc (Majestic £17.99, £13.99 mixed 6 ) 68pc Zinfandel, 18pc Petite Sirah, 8pc Grenache and 6pc Syrah. Not for shrinking violets, this Purple Paradise has a rich dark colour intense smoky, vanilla, cherry, chocolate and spice flavours, soft tannins and balancing acidity. Goes well with richly flavoured meat dishes from burgers and steaks to beef and game stews.

Now two from Italy:

Try Primanero Organic Primitivo Appassimento 2016, Puglia 14.5pc (Aldi £7.49) The Italian version of Zinfandel. With aromas of cherries, raspberries and red currants. The oak ageing gives a roasted and spicy aroma, making this perfect with roasted red meats and mature cheeses.

The Wanted Zin 2018 Puglia 14.5pc (Morrisons £10, often on offer, around £7, at the time of writing 3 for £20) Aged in American oak. This big juicy red is one of my regulars.

Finally an Italian grape variety but grown in South Australia:

Nero 2016 Coriole McLaren Vale New Australian Collection 14.5pc (StarmoreBoss, Sheffield £15) Nero d’Avola thrives in the Mediterranean climate of McLaren Vale. Wine made by fermenting whole berries in small, beeswax-lined vats. Spends several months in seasoned oak prior to bottling. On the nose: Fresh red and dark cherry aromas with herb and violet perfume. On the palate: raspberry and redcurrant fruit freshness and lifted acidity. Very youthful, lively and Pinot-like with light tannins and savoury spice. Quite delicious!

So there we are. If you go in for the traditional type barbecue, casseroles or hearty meat dishes, these are well worth trying.

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