FOOD & DRINK: A tipple for the summer months...

THE weather should be warm and sunny and we should be eating and drinking in the garden and on the patio.

It’s a time for salads and the like - and good white and rosé wine.

Here are some to get you going. Starting with sparklers. Probably the best sparkler before a hot weather meal with its light, easy peachy flavour and a lot of fizz has to be Prosecco. Prosecco Romeo and Juliet, Treviso 11pc (Majestic £11.99, £9.99 mixed 6) is the ideal aperitif, light, easy notes of apple and citrus.

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Valdobbiadene is the best area for Prosecco. The following two are good examples:

Cantine Maschio Valdobbiadene Prosecco 11.5pc (Sainsbury £12) is full and soft with fruity notes of apple and apricot and a citrus finish.

La Gioisa Collezione Oro Prosecco, Valdobbiadene (Aldi £8) is lightly floral, just off-dry with notes of cantaloupe melon, honeysuckle and orange.

I believe Pignoletto is the next Italian fizz to take centre stage.

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Food friendly Chiarli Vecchia Modena Pignoletto NV Spumante 12pc (Waitrose £9.99) is particularly soft, light and fruity. Made from the Grechetto grape, it has gone down well with friends.

Another good one, somewhat drier, is Taste the Difference Pignoletto Spumante Brut (Sainsbury £9). Delicate, with green apple and pear, a great fizz before a meal.

Other fizzes which go down well are Aldi’s Cremant du Jura and Sainsbury's Cremant de Loire:

Cremant du Jura (Aldi £8.99) My favourite supermarket fizz under £10. Made from 100pc Chardonnay, this wine is crisp and elegant with green apples, perfect acidity, persistent bubbles and lovely length.

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A bit more serious is the lemony Taste the Difference Mlle Ladubay Cremant de Loire 12pc (Sainsbury £11.50) which is made by the same method as Champagne.

On to eating out and salads. With salads that contain smoked salmon and chicken try light Italian whites such as Fiano:

Wm Morrison Fiano from Sicily 13pc (£6.25) is all citrus and white peach.

For a New World match go for a Chenin Blanc from South Africa. The bite of New World Sauvignon Blanc goes well with tomatoes and pizza with tomato sauce. Good, dry Riesling is good with salads, spicy foods and Oriental cuisine, Pinot Gris (Grigio) with fish dishes.

Below are some good summer whites worth drinking:

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The Ned Pinot Grigio 2017 Brent Marris Marlbrough New Zealand 14pc (Sainsbury £8.50, Majestic £9.99 mixed 6, Waitrose £9.49) The colour is pale salmon. Pear and Nectarine with a delicate floral lift. Great with Thai dishes and on its own. A great wine for garden parties.

Winemakers Reserve New Zealand Pinot Gris 2017 13pc (£5.79 Aldi) Great for the price. Off dry with flavours of melon, yellow pear and a bit of spice.

Those New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are so good but try these for a change:

Krasno Sauvignon Blanc Ribolla 2017, Gorisco Brda, 13pc (Majestic £9.99, £8.49 mixed 6) Made by a big cooperative in Slovenia, this blend is nicely fruity with flavours of green apples. Good with fish or chicken.

There are some excellent Chilean Sauvignons:

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Try Cono Sur, Reserva Especial 2018, Casablanca Valley 12pc (Sainsbury £8). This coastal white wine has citric aromas with notes of grapefruit and green grass. On the palate, it is fresh and persistent. Morning fog and cool sea breezes gives this wine its minerality.

On to Chenin Blanc, one of my favourites for drinking on its own is irresistible Chenin Blanc 2017 Darling, South Africa 13pc (Coop £6.99) which is all lovely juicy pear and orange-tinged citrus. Made from the fruit of old bush vines in Darling, a cool coastal area north of Cape town. Zalze Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2018 Coastal Region, South Africa 12.5pc (Asda £7.50, Waitrose £8.99) is tropical, ripe pineapple and peach.

Stellenrust Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa 13.5pc (Sainsbury £8.50) This Chenin was harvested from traditional bush vines and delivers ripe zesty pineapple, pear and white peach with a refreshing lime acidity.

If you want to try Riesling which can go well with salads or on its own, try Aldi Exquisite Collection Clare Valley Riesling 2017, South Australia (Aldi £6.99) with its lovely peach and tangerine flavours.

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Winemaker Howard Park from Western Australia produces some lovely wines:

Tesco Finest Tingleup Riesling 2017 12pc (£8.50) is refreshing lime and citrus with a dash of white pepper. Great with Thai and Asian food.

Bischöfliche Weingüter Riesling 2016, Trier 12pc (Wickersley Fine Wines £11.99) This German Riesling from the Mosel is fruity, spicy, herbal with a crisp finish.

A wine that is lovely for a summer’s day is Torres Viña Esmeralda 2017 Catalunya, Spain 11.5pc (Waitrose £8.99). An old family favourite, full of character. A blend of 85pc Moscatel and 15pc Gewürztraminer, it has honey and grapefruit and spice. A great aperitif and with Thai food.

What about English white wines, which get better each year?

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Camel Valley Bacchus 2018 Cornwall 12.5pc (The Wine Society £13.95, 2016 Waitrose £14.99) The South of England is ideal for the Bacchus grape. This has lime, peach, pear and elderflower.

Lyme Block 2018, Lyme Bay Winery, Devon (Aldi Exquiste Collection £9.99) Bacchus again but with some Pinot Blanc. Green apple, lemon and lime. Lovely. Three Choirs Silver Jubilee Gloucestershire 2018 11.5pc (£8.50) Unique to the Wine Society this is fresh, tropical, citrus. Great value.

Finally, a trio of rosés ideal for a summer’s day. The best rosés for a picnic are dry and light, not the sweetish, strong confections of, usually, the New World big brands.

Provence is famous as the area for pale rosés usually on the expensive side. Three decent ones, not too expensive, are:

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Cotes de Provence Rosé 13pc (Asda £8.50) Dry, delicate, red berry and melon flavours.

M de Minuty Rose 2017, 13pc (Majestic £13.99, £11.99 mixed 6) Made near St Tropez.

Mirabeau Pure Provence Rose 2017, 13pc (Waitrose £13.99, Sainsbury £15) is an elegant pale salmon rose made from syrah and grenache. A nose of white peach and floral aromas. Stone fruit and citrus flavours.

Have a lovely summer.

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