JUST imagine that we’re having a great British summer... the thrill of the grill comes into its own when the smoky, barbecue flavours from a gastro feast are paired with a lip-smacking red that winks from the glass.
For casual cookouts or gourmet get-togethers, here are some pukka wines to bring new life and colour to the party – all of them right on cue for when the barbecue king fires up the grills, and scullery chefs start marinating the chicken thighs.
For a ruby red that’s light, fresh and fruity, try Vidal Fleury GSM 2008 (£8.34, www.yourfavouritewines.com). The bold, graphic label spells out the grape blend of grenache, shiraz and mouvedre, but I prefer to think of GSM standing for ’great with seafood or meat.’
From one of the Rhone’s oldest wineries, it’s a soft, easy-drinker with bright cherry fruit that would work just as well with grilled shrimps or salmon.
For another crowd pleaser that’s ideal with hamburgers, chorizo sausages and lamb kebabs, try Lindeman’s Bin 45 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (£8.49, major supermarkets).
A crimson cab sav, it’s masculine and well structured with dark berry and wood flavours, a smack of cassis, a firm backbone of tannins and a blackcurrant finish.
Sticky sauces and a spicy marinade cry out for something more bullish such as an Australian shiraz. Try Waitrose Reserve Shiraz, St Hallett 2009, Barossa Valley (£9.99, Waitrose).
Bold and rich, this black-red beauty made from 100% shiraz is ripe with blackberry flavours, a dusting of dark chocolate, hint of spice and an oaky element on the finish.
Chile produces some star buys and The Patriots Gran Reserva 2008, Maipu Valley 2008 (£9.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk) is a wine your friends will love. Rich, full and enticing, this cabernet sauvignon is packed with a forest floor of black fruit, peppery undertones and good structure – a real foodie’s vino that’s tuned to a slow grill, and great company.
Another South American treasure, this handsome bottle is labelled with a gold star. Try Clos de Los Siete 2008, Mendoza (£12.99, Majestic). Dense and full flavoured, this inky black Argentinian is a predominant blend of malbec and merlot, topped up with cab sav. With rich, brambly fruit, lively tannins and a champion’s finish, it’s the perfect partner with a flame-grilled steak.
For epicureans who are lured to the charcuterie and cheeseboard – before, during or after the main event – try Pascual Toso Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Mendoza (£9.50, www.corksout.com). Intense, brambly fruits remind one of summer orchards, with mocha and cigar notes adding elegance and a savoury element to this plummy and nicely structured wine.