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Spectator Wine

May Wine Club I

3 May 2014

9:00 AM

3 May 2014

9:00 AM

We’re thinking ahead with this offer, with summer firmly in our sights. Think of barbecues, picnics by the river, summer fêtes and lazy days on the beach. And think of red wine. Chilled.

I’ve never understood our obsession for serving red wines at room temperature or even warmer. The habit started long before the days of central heating — what was room temperature then would be considered jolly parky now.

Of course, big, butch, bold reds need a bit of coaxing to open out and shake off their tannin. But this can be taken to extremes. Only recently I was served an uncomfortably warm Aussie Shiraz that had been well and truly mulled. I swear there was a puff of steam as the sommelier opened it.

Many reds, though, are utterly delicious when lightly chilled and I always keep a Beaujolais, say, or Kiwi Pinot in the fridge. They can be so refreshing and I love the way they warm and develop in the glass.

OK, OK, I know that we’re stretching a point by including the 2013 Ch. de Sours Rosé (1), but in a way it proves my point. It is, after all, made from red grapes (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and one wouldn’t think twice about chilling it.


My illustrious predecessor loved Ch. de Sours and it is pretty much top of my pink pops, too. This latest vintage is as good as ever. A gorgeous salmon pink, with plenty of red summer fruits on nose and palate, it is refreshing and creamy with a long dry finish. £10.95 a bottle. Or buy six of the show-stopping magnums for just £133.98.

The 2013 Ique Malbec, Enrique Foster (2), isn’t an obvious candidate for chilling, being a full-throttle Malbec from Argentina. The vineyards of Mendoza, though, are high in the Andean foothills, which gives plenty of sunshine but low temperatures. As a result the wines have great colour and intensity of fruit but with a wonderful underlying freshness. I tried this with butterflied leg of lamb and — don’t tell a soul — lobbed an ice cube in. It was perfect and just £9.15 a bottle.

The 2011 Renaissance Rouge (3) from the Côtes d’Auvergne co-operative of Cave St Vernay is a scrumptious half-and-half blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir. The Pinot dominates on the nose and there’s a touch of Pinot earthiness on the palate too, then the jamminess of the Gamay comes through, followed by a long, soft, complex finish. Delicious with a plate of parma ham and figs. £9.95.

The 2012 Chinon, Serge & Bruno Sourdais (4), from sixth-generation winemakers in the heart of the Loire Valley, is a lovely deep garnet red with mint leaves on nose and palate and a gratifyingly long bitter-cherry yet savoury finish. 100 per cent Cabernet Franc, it’s ideal for knocking back alongside an evening barbecue of ribs and chicken. It really is delightfully drinkable and only £11.95.

Of all red wines, Beaujolais seems most amenable to a brief stint in the ice bucket and the 2012 Morgon, Christophe Savoye (5) is no exception. Made from low-yielding, old-vine Gamay, Christophe Savoye’s wines are marked by their deep concentration of colour and flavour and intensity of fruit. I thoroughly enjoyed this with a big fat tuna steak and salad. £14.95.

I’ve been lucky enough to ride along New Zealand’s Waipara Valley, an hour or so north of Christchurch, and it is stunning country. The wines, too, are real head-turners and the 2011 Bishop’s Head Pinot Noir (6) is an absolute peach and very well-priced at £16.80 (you could add a tenner for an equivalent burgundy). There is black cherry, pepper, spice and game all wrapped up in a concentrated, velvety finish. Room temperature or chilled, you’ll love it. Just don’t muck it up and mull it.

A mixed case of two bottles of each of the above is £147.50 and delivery, as ever, is free.

Click here to take advantage of this offer (subject to closing date).

All prices are correct at time of publication, but we may alter prices at any time for any reason.


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