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Dry Loire Chenin Blanc
Many people today get their
rst taste of
Chenin Blanc through South African wines.
But the home of this versatile grape is
France's Loire Valley, where it iss used for
dry, medium and sweet wines (and some
zz). The dry wines used to be a little
forbidding and needed time to relax, but in
recent times, there seems to have been a
collective pulling up of chaussettes, resulting
in plenty of wines like these two gems.
Vincent Carême Vouvray Sec 'Spring' 2012
(£11.48-£12.76, Asda Wine Club, Vinoteca)
A sprightly youngster, with crisp green apple
and citrus peel avours rounded out by
honeyed cooked apple richness. Try it
with a goat's cheese or chicken salad.
Domaine du Petit Métris Savennières
'Clos de la Marche' 2010
(£13.95, allabout wine.co.uk)
A richer, fuller style, with plush baked apple,
honey and marzipan avours underpinned by
zingy citrus fruit and tense mineral freshness,
with a subtle smoky note from oak ageing.
Try this with simply prepared crab or lobster.
The area to the east of Lake Garda in
northern Italy is home to (red) Valpolicella
and (white) Soave. With both, it's best to
Spice up your summer with a peppery Italian red or
keep things fresh with Austrian whites and zingy Chenin
B lan c f ro m Fr an ce. B e s t to have s o m e � z z o n han d to o…
WORDS SIMON WOODS
avoid the bargain-basement and pay a
little more for something special. Good
Valpolicella is an excellent summer red,
with plenty of avour but also with the
juicy freshness you crave on a warm day.
Allegrini Valpolicella 2013
(£9.95, The Wine Society)
A vibrant wine packed with perky young
fruit: fresh dark cherries pepped up with
a twist of pepper and the aroma of owers
and herbs. Won't object to 20 minutes in
the fridge, but also won't mind being given
a swirl in a large glass to release its charms.
Perfect with a few slices of salami.
Bussola Valpolicella Ripasso
(£22/£17 when you buy two, Majestic)
Wines labelled Ripasso are given extra
oomph by being 're-passed' over the
grapeskins that have been used for other
wines - a bit like pouring an already made
cup of tea over a used tea-bag. The result is
a bolder and eshier wine, but this excellent
example still has a fresh edge alongside the
abundant cherry and plum fruit, plus a bitter
almond tang to the
nish. Drink with cold
roast meats and hard cheeses.
English Sparkling Wine
In case you hadn't noticed, our native
sparkling wine is on something of a roll.
With similar soils, similar grapes and similar
methods as those found in Champagne,
it's unsurprising that many of the wines
bear more than a passing resemblance to
zz. However, there's often a
hedgerow wildness in the wines that speaks
of their origins on this side of the Channel…
Chapel Down Rosé Brut NV, Kent
A gentle, friendly style, crisp but rounded,
with easy strawberry and raspberry avours,
a hint of vanilla and a touch of musky
elderower on the
nish. Perfect picnic pink.
Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée 2011,
(£26.95-£29.99 Avery's, slurp.co.uk, Wine Utopia)
rst release from a vineyard that was
only planted in 2008, this Chardonnay-based
wine is re
ned and elegant, with cooked
green apple and pear avours, a warm
doughy character that reminds me of slightly
uncooked cake-mix and a crisp, nutty
Good now, but if you can keep your hands
o, it'll be even better next summer.
It's been a favourite of the wine trade for
several years now, but Grüner Veltliner hasn't
made much of an impact on the general
public. That's a shame, as this is a grape for
our times, capable of everything from crisp,
tense, seafood-friendly whites to bolder,
peachier wines, all the while with a whi of
white pepper never too far from the surface.
Kudos to MS and Sainsbury's for listing
this tasty twosome - go and buy them,
otherwise they'll be elbowed o the
shelves by yet more Pinot Grigio.
Rabl Grüner Veltliner 2012, Kamptal
(£8.99, Marks Spencer)
Sets the crispness and tang of tangerine
against richer peach and pear avours, and
adds in an exotic note of candied spice for
good measure. Lovely by itself, but would
go well with simple grilled
sh or a light
Sainsbury's Taste the Dierence Grüner
Veltliner 2013, Niederösterreich
Appealingly zippy wine, with peachy richness
and citrus bite in delicious partnership, and
notes of white pepper, too. A fuller style than
the MS version, this was delicious with a
salmon and asparagus tart.
n winter, you want wines that give you bear hugs. In summer, however, it's
lightness and life you look for, in both reds and whites. Chenin Blanc from its
home in France and Grüner Veltliner from Austria both deserve more attention
than they receive. The examples I've chosen are fresh and lively, with enough
personality to take on the bright avours of summer. For reds, Valpolicella tastes
good all year round, but comes into its own in summer. And to mourn our failure
at the World Cup in Brazil, I've gone patriotic and chosen a couple of wines from
the growing number of excellent English sparklers.
ILLUSTRATION: ANDREA D'AQUINO