We are in the middle of a heatwave as I write. Roads are melting, rails are buckling and tempers are fraying. My train to London today took twice as long as normal thanks to ‘adverse weather conditions’. A blizzard? Fog? A flash flood? Nope, sunshine in July. What an unexpected shock for poor Network Rail.
Happily, Private Cellar is on the case and after an exhaustive tasting we have come up with four beauties with which to sustain ourselves during such strange times.
The Réserve de Sours Sparkling Rosé NV is charm incarnate from a producer dear to Spectator readers’ hearts. A glorious salmon pink Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend, made in the traditional Champagne method, it spends 16 months on the lees before disgorgement and has style in abundance. It’s full of ripe summery fruits with a fine, frothy mousse and a long dry finish. About as perfect a summer wine as you will find and only £13.45, down from £14.95.
The term Crémant refers to French sparklers made outside Champagne but in the traditional Champagne method (with the secondary fermentation in bottle). The Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut P100, NV, from leading Chablis producer Simonnet-Febvre, is as tasty an example as I’ve found and one I’ve happily recommended elsewhere in the past. Made from 100 per cent Pinot Noir, it’s dry but rich, toasty and bis-cuity too, touched with a hint of citrus. £16.05 down from £16.90.
The 2014 Williams Chase Rosé de Provence might look as if it comes in an oversized scent bottle but don’t let that put you off. Once you realise it’s the latest enterprise from William Chase, the engaging clever-clogs behind Tyrrells Crisps and the exemplary Chase Vodka, it makes sense. A typical Provençal blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, it’s aged in both oak barrels and Roman-style amphorae and is fresh, ripe and fruity with that decent touch of weight which so many rosés lack. £13.50 down from £14.95.
Finally a full-on red, the 2011 Masseria Altemura Negroamaro from the heel of Italy. Negroamaro is barely seen outside Puglia’s Salento peninsula: this is the first time I’ve come across it. But what a delight it is, brimming with rich, ripe, sun-baked, dark bramble fruit. Remarkably refreshing, too, and blessed with the longest of finishes. Ideal barbecue fare. £13.25 down from £13.75.
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