I am always very reluctant to let the last days of summer slip away. I am also aware that I had planned to write articles on several of my favourite summer wines and somehow the season has almost passed by. So, this week, in “late summer” a few of my favourite warm weather wines.
First a summer white and what could be more seasonal than a Greek wine? For a real treat, O’Briens has one of my all-time favourites the Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko (€32), but the Greek wine from Aldi below is well worth trying. Sadly the Aldi Picpoul de Pinet 2021 (€8.99) and the Muscadet (€7.99), both of which offered great value for money have sold out.
Pet Nat has been having a moment for the last decade or so. Basically, it is wine bottled before the primary fermentation has finished. As fermentation gives off carbon dioxide, the wine will be lightly sparkling. It can be red, white or rosé. It is often bottled unfiltered so it can be cloudy. It tends to be low in alcohol, low in sugar and high in acidity. Pet Nats (short for Pétillant Naturel) are great thirst-quenching summer wines (great for festivals and parties too) served well chilled. Think of them as edgy Champagne or cool Prosecco (although Col Fondo is basically Pet Nat Prosecco with some funky notes thrown in). I love Pet Nat but can never really take them too seriously – I don’t think they are meant to be taken seriously – and therefore don’t really want to pay €30 or more. Most decent wine shops will have a few on sale.
What could be more seasonal than a Greek wine? For a real treat, O’Briens has one of my all-time favourites the Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko (€32), but the Greek wine from Aldi below is well worth trying. Sadly the Aldi Picpoul de Pinet 2021 (€8.99) and the Muscadet (€7.99), both of which offered great value for money have sold out.
On to Beaujolais, a region this column has been championing for years, and which now appears to be enjoying a genuine revival. As Burgundy increases in price, Beaujolais (and here I really mean Beaujolais Villages and the ten crus such as Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly, Moulin-à-Vent) offers excellent wine at affordable prices. The grape variety is completely different, but for Francophiles such as me they do offer a great alternative. There is an expanding group of really good young producers in the region making some very exciting wines.
For many, Malbec and Argentina are one and the same thing. However, Argentina produces plenty of other very good wine. For a long time it was thought that the Bonarda grape was brought over by immigrants from Italy (where it is widely grown in the north). DNA profiling has shown it to be a completely different variety. Most Bonarda is unoaked and offers a burst of refreshing plum fruits, good acidity, low alcohol and light tannins. Not unlike a Beaujolais in fact. The Altos Las Hormigas included here is a perfect example.
Assyrtiko 2020, Filos Estate, Florina, Greece
This offers great value for money. Rich fruits, orange peel, peaches and pears balanced nicely by some citrus acidity. Go local with a Greek salad, calamari or a chicken in a lemony avgolemono sauce.
Altos Las Hormigas ‘Colonia Las Liebres’ Mendoza Bonarda Clasica 2020 (Organic)
Lovely, clean, fresh crunchy plum and dark cherry fruits; perfect with slightly fatty pork dishes, or as a lighter partner with barbecued food.
From Barnhill Stores, Dalkey; Power & Co, Lucan; wineonline.ie; Thomas Woodberry, Galway
Domaine Jousset ‘Exile’ Rosé Pétillant NV, Vin de France
Made from the Gamay grape, this is a mouth-watering, lightly sparkling rosé. Crisp, bone dry with a cascade of refreshing acidity and light alpine strawberry and redcurrant fruits.
From winesdirect.ie, Mullingar
Domaine Grégoire Hoppenot Fleurie ‘Indigène’ 2020
Fragrant and seductive with a lovely freshness throughout and a real concentration of red cherry fruits and nice grip on the finish. Serve lightly chilled with a thick slab of terrine, pâté and other charcuterie.
From Alain and Christine’s Wine Shop, Kenmare; 1601, Kinsale; Redmond’s, D6; Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; wineonline.ie