Smoke and terroirs… summer wine list
Thank goodness that bitterly cold winter has been consigned to history and we can look forward to warmer days spent sitting in the sun with a glass in hand. As we welcome the new season of outdoor dining, Cox & Kings has partnered with Naked Wines to select fabulous wines from independent winemakers around the globe that complement the smoky flavours of barbecued meat and fish, or work well with the fresh salads and cold picnic dishes of summer.
Mauricio Lorca Finca Los Altepes Malbec 2006
Wonderful with barbecued meats • £15.99
In Argentina, Malbec is synonymous with an asado – an Argentinian barbecue – and it will work just as well here, even if you’re cooking on a disposable one in the park. The aroma of spice and oak in this Finca Los Altepes Malbec will whet your appetite while the meat sizzles on the grill. With its notes of spicy plums, it is a rich, full-bodied red, yet remains fruity enough to be enjoyed as a summer tipple. This unoaked, premium wine is typical of the Uco Valley near Mendoza, which has the perfect climate for Malbec – high altitude, sunny days and cold nights, which preserves the grapes’ acidity. The experienced winemaker Mauricio’s philosophy says that good wines depend on replicating what nature provides to ensure that the fruit and terroir shines through in the taste. Originally on track for a medical career, the young Mauricio was inspired to change tack by some viticulture students who gave a talk at his school. We should all be grateful!
Stefano di Blasi Delle Venezie 2016
Perfect with fish and salads • £10.99
If you were asked what you associate with food and wine in Venice, you’d be forgiven for saying ‘rip-off’ given recent press reports about the merciless over-charging by certain Venetian eateries (notably, the €1,143 charged to four Japanese students for four steaks Florentine, a plate of mixed grilled fish, two glasses of wine and some mineral water!).
A less cynical response, however, might be ‘seafood and crisp white wine’. Venetian classics, like shellfish linguine or grilled white fish served with a zingy salad are perfect for summer lunches outdoors, and Stefano di Blasi’s Delle Venezie 2016 would be the ideal accompaniment. Stefano was plying his wine-making trade in Tuscany until an investment by Naked Wines’ Angels enabled him to relocate to the Veneto region, where he is now creating a Pinot Grigio and also this ‘Venezie’, which is a blend of Chardonnay and Garganega (familiar from Soave wines). This is a very clean, fresh-tasting white, with a touch of vanilla and a light acidity, a little like a Gavi. It’s a lovely easy-drinking wine, perfect for the warmer days ahead and, at around a tenner, immeasurably better value than the Osteria de Luca which hosted those hapless tourists and, gratifyingly, ended up with a €20,000 fine for its troubles.
Sacchetto Pinot Grigio Ramato Veneto Blush 2016
Great with appetisers and barbecued fish • £10.99
This brilliantly simple rosé is full of summer hedonism, especially apt for drinking outdoors on late sunny evenings. It works wonderfully with fish, so invite your pescatarian friends over for a fishy barbecue and bring this out to impress them with. Dry, crisp apple and raspberry flavours make this an easy wine to drink, and its attractive pale blush colour is courtesy of the pink skins of the Pinot Grigio grape. Soft enough to go with grilled white fish or vegetarian appetisers, it also has enough flavour to partner with roasted salmon. Cantine Sacchetto is a family business founded in 1920 and run by Filiberto Sacchetto, his son Paolo and daughter Beatrice in Veneto, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia area of north-east Italy. The hillsides around Trieste are renowned for their Pinot Grigios. This one doesn’t let them down.
Domaine Jones Muscat 2016
Lovely with dessert • £15.99
I’m not usually a fan of dessert wines, and certainly would never usually think to buy one to take to a barbecue, but when you see a bottle that quite literally has your name on it, it’s hard to refuse. Katie Jones, a British expat and the winemaker for this fragrant and floral Muscat, bought her first vineyard in France’s Languedoc region in 2008 and now owns 12 hectares, spread across several locations. She chooses small and remote sites and focuses on the quality rather than quantity of the wine. Her approach is evident in this Muscat, which I found much lighter than I had expected – and also way more drinkable. Often I find sweet wines hard to finish but this one was refreshing and light, and would be a very enjoyable way to finish off a summer barbecue. With hints of elderflower, it would go really well with a fruity tart or some cheese. In fact, it has made me look forward to the first barbecue of the summer already.
Naked Wines is Cox & Kings’ wine club partner. An online retailer, Naked Wines invests in independent winemakers to source delicious wine at the best possible prices. The result of connecting winemakers and wine drinkers through direct funding and honest feedback is a website full of delicious and affordable wines.
COMPASS READER OFFER – SAVE £60
Compass is offering a £60 credit for you to try the summer wine selection from Naked Wines, valid against your first order of £99.99 or more. To claim your credit, simply visit nakedwines.com/coxandkingsmag18 Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Next day delivery as standard is £4.99. Full terms and conditions available at nakedwines.com/terms