Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine Club

Magazine article The Spectator

Spectator Wine Club

Article excerpt

What to drink in summer? Let us hope that the foul spring we had was the price we had to pay for a glorious June, July and August. Let us plan for picnics, barbecues, meals by gurgling brooks, open-air opera and Shakespeare, glasses of something chilled in the garden after a sweaty day's work. Or it might drizzle all year, as the water companies hope.

All these wines are chosen to help make summer special, even if you largely have to spend it indoors. They are from the wonderful Tanners of Shrewsbury (and I'm planning to show some of them, alongside Tanners' Robert Boutflower, at the Hay literary festival next weekend). All wines have been discounted from list price, some quite substantially.

Our first white is the famous Vinho Verde (1) the green wine of Portugal. Actually it isn't green at all, but it is very young and very spritzy. You'll see a small rim of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Not quite still, but not as fizzy as Prosecco either. I worked for some weeks in Zimbabwe, during happier times there, and the crisp, lemony zest of this wine cut straight through the heat. At £6.50 (£6 a case reduction) it's a snip.

I loved this 2011 Fina Grillo (2) from Sicily. It is made from the Grillo grape by Bruno Fina, who is a wine scientist, so he knows all about the best fruit to buy and the best places to grow it. Most come from the mountains, essential somewhere as hot as Sicily, and the wine has a lovely, round, lemon- and orange-peel-scented flavour. Plumptious, and reduced by around 10 per cent to £8.65.

Now a favourite of mine. The Pfaffenheim co-op is near Colmar, one of the handsomest towns in the glorious region of Alsace.

Some co-ops are a means of getting rid of inferior grapes, but I have never had a second-rate bottle from Pfaffenheim, and I've had quite a few. This 2010 Pinot Gris (3) has a real depth, and an almost spicy warmth if you can imagine that in a drink that is always chilled. …

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