What’s the perfect white or rosé to go with grilled fish? Where can you get a bargain red or fizz for the barbecue? Observer Food Monthly guides you through the season
The best white wines for summer Photograph: Antonio Olmos for the ObserverDavid Williams
Sunday 19 June 2016 12.00 BST
Share on LinkedInShare on Google+Comments
4 Save for laterWhites
Aldi The Exquisite Collection Marsanne IGP Pays d’Oc France 2015 (£5.99)
An all-rounder from Jean-Claude Mas, who is responsible for many of the better budget southern French bottles in UK supermarkets. It tastes a little like biting into a properly ripe soft and juicy white peach, but it finishes dry and crisp enough for fish and barbecued chicken.
Truly Irresistible Fiano di Benevento, Italy 2014 (£6.99, The Co-op)
Fiano from Campania in southern Italy is one of my favourite Italian white grapes, capable of making wines that combinecombining a mouthful of fleshy ripe fruit with a squeeze of citrus freshness and leafy herb. The depth of flavour here is impressive at the price – close your eyes and imagine yourself on the Amalfi coast.
Taste the Difference Godello, Bierzo, Spain 2015 (£8, Sainsbury’s)
The Sainsbury’s wine department has a nice line in aromatic, seafood-friendly whites from north-west Spain. The TTD Albariño 2015 (£8) is pleasantly breezy and gently peachy, but it’s pipped for me by the Godello, with its extra charge of lemony tang behind the stone fruit and fresh acidity.
Santa Ema Sauvignon Gris, Leyda Valley, Chile 2015 (£8.99, Majestic)
Sauvignon gris is a close relative of sauvignon blanc, and, in this super-punchy example from the Pacific-cooled Leyda Valley, home to many of Chile’s best aromatic whites, it offers a similarly unbridled verdant character, with tangy gooseberry and lime matched with mown-meadow aromas of grass and elderflower.
Domaine Millet Petit Chablis, Burgundy, France 2014 (from £9.99, Wine Rack;Borough Wines; Corney & Barrow)
From the same area as chablis, but grown on less-regarded soils, the best chardonnays of the petit chablis appellation can be excellent value in the same incisive, steely style. This is better than many a bottle with a grander label: with its swish of minerals and squeeze of lemon it’s the perfect seafood dry white.
Colinas del Itata Old Vine Field Blend Muscat Corinto, Itata, Chile 2014 (£10,M&S)
The Itata Valley in southern Chile has developed an unlikely affinity with the perfumed charms of muscat from very old vines. De Martino has, on behalf of M&S, combined muscat and the obscure corinto to come up with a dry but exotically aromatic white, mixing musky spice with fresh, floral perfume.
Celler Credo Miranius, Alt Penedès, Spain 2013 (from £12.42, bottleapostle.com;vinovero.co.uk; Harvey Nichols)
Xarel-lo is one of the grapes in cava, of which Recaredo is one of the best producers. Here, grape and maker combine for an evocatively Meditarranean dry white where a touch of chalky minerals join the wild fennel and green apple.
Tselepos Mantinia Moschofilero, Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece 2015 (£13.50,amathusdrinks.com)
Greek vineyards are well stocked with distinctive native grapes that deserve to be better known, and moschofilero is one to look out for. This fine example mixes zesty lemon with mint and subtle rose-like floral notes. Perfect for grilled fish and herby salads.
Reds and rosés
FacebookTwitterPinterest The best red wines for summer
Percheron Old Vine Cinsaut, Western Cape, South Africa (from £5.75,thewinesociety.com; slurp.co.uk; woodwinters.com)
Cinsaut has become a surprise favourite of the new wave of South African producers. This is a brilliant place to start an exploration of its many charms: an exuberantly juicy cherry-berry red and one of the UK’s best-value wines.
Marks & Spencer Teroldego Rotaliano, Trentino, Italy 2015 (£8)
From the far Alpine north of Italy, a red from the local variety teroldego rotaliano with a hit of succulent black cherriesand a mouthwatering crunchy feel. Goes well with tomatoes (thanks to the tangy acidity) but perhaps at its best after a short spell in the fridge and served with a spread of antipasti.
Blind Spot Yarra Valley Pinot Noir, Australia 2015 (£9.95,thewinesociety.com)
Mac Forbes is one of Australia’s best winemakers and his light-touch charm is evident, in this wine bottled for the Wine Society – a refreshing red with a raspberry raciness and hint of bergamot that is surely the best sub-£10 pinot around at the moment.
Valdesil Valderroa Mencía, Villamartín de Vadeorras, Spain 2013 (£11.99,Waitrose)
Galicia is Spain’s answer to the Loire Valley: known for its whites, it’s home to increasingly excellentreds that, with their refreshing spine of acidity, are particularly good in summer. For the Loire’s cabernet franc, read Spain’s mencía, and this tangy mouthful of aniseed-inflected cherry.
Jean-Louis Chave Sélection Mon Coeur Côtes du Rhône, France 2014 (from £13.50, yapp.co.uk; bbr.com)
A big, warm blend of syrah and grenache which, with itsfinger-staining fresh blackberry juiciness and hint of peppery freshness, makes for a satisfying accompaniment to barbecued shoulder of lamb or rib of beef.
Domaine Grand Pré Fleurie, Beaujolais, France 2014 (£16.50, thesampler.co.uk)
Fleurie is a part of the Beaujolais region known for the floral prettiness of its gamay reds. This one is full of red berries and violets, making for a racy, silky, graceful light red for salmon, tuna or a spread of cold meats and pâtés.
Taste the Difference Fronton Negrette Rosé, France 2015 (£8, Sainsbury’s)
The fresh strawberry of this southwestern French dry rosé comes with just a touch of the spicy character of the reds made from négrette in the Fronton appellation near Toulouse – a character that would match very well with barbecued fish and seafood.
Marks & Spencer Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé, France 2015 (£8.50)
Read more:evening gowns
For a back-garden recreation of a lunch of salade Niçoise on the Côte d’Azur, try a cold bottle of this pale Provençal pink. The soft strawberry, raspberry and watermelon are joined by cranberry and citrus in refreshing style.