Monthly Archives: August 2016

  • Time to Sizzle

    Bank Holiday BBQ Wines

    There’s nothing like the unmistakable smell of a smoky, sweet, aromatic BBQ!  We’re in the peak of the holiday period, and in true British spirit, barbecues are being lit all over the country, in the sun, on beaches, and under umbrellas.

    Burgers, steak and sausages are barbecue naturals, but these days it’s all about the marinades, the seasonings, and a touch of the exotic. Here are some of my favourite quick and easy marinades with wine ideas to match:

    (Vary the quantities of each ingredient depending on taste)

    Elki Pedro Ximenez Elqui ValleyJapanese style chicken – mix teriyaki sauce with some soy sauce, clear honey, crushed garlic and lime juice.  Pour over boneless chicken thighs, marinade for an hour, then BBQ or grill.  The marinade is sweet, but the spicing is delicate, so I opt for aromatic whites; Elki Pedro Ximenez is a great value, a firm favourite, and perfect for a weekday treat; from the northernmost outposts of Chile’s wine regions, it’s full of peach, apricot and lemon zest, with a honeysuckle scent, but a deliciously dry finish, which copes perfectly with the sweetness of the teriyaki and the soy sauces.

    Ribafreixo, Pato Frio Cashmere Rosé

    Seared tuna or swordfish – marinate in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and a selection of fresh Mediterranean herbs, flat-leaf parsley, salt, and black pepper.  Give this a good 3 hours, for the flavours to penetrate. Sear for 3 minutes each side. Bone dry whites, or crisp rose wines are best with this, and really bring out the fresh, vibrant flavours – try this with the delicately pale, and appropriately-named Cashmere Pato Frio Rose 2015 , a bone dry, subtle, strawberry and redcurrant-infused pink from Southern Portugal, with a citrus tang.

    Mas Delmera, Monastrell Reserva Spiced leg of lamb – mix ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika, dried thyme, crushed garlic and a pinch of both cayenne pepper and cinnamon into softened butter – cut deep slashes into a leg of lamb (this also works, with boned shoulder, or with lamb steaks), and rub the spice mix in, pushing it into the incisions. This sweet, Middle Eastern spice rub calls for a bold, yet sweetly spiced red, with softness and richness – it works a treat with the brooding richness of Mas Delmera Monastrell 2009, a glorious, and ridiculously great value, velvety, seductive red from the South East of Spain – dark fruit, rich spice, hints of mocha, - it’s got the lot.

    Yealands Estate PGR Pinot Gewurztraminer RieslingIndonesian satay -  whizz up garlic cloves, shallots, red chilli, paprika, cumin, coriander, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime zest, palm sugar, fresh ginger and crunchy peanut butter in a food processor.  Chop your meat of choice (I normally use chicken or pork) into bite size chunks, and toss in the marinade.  Leave for a couple of hours, put onto water-soaked wooden skewers and toss onto the BBQ coals until cooked through.  This is a punchy, strongly spiced dish, which needs a wine with enough ‘oomph’ to balance out the flavours.  My pick would be Yealands PGR 2015, a heady, exotic, yet refreshingly zesty blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer from one of New Zealand’s leading wine producers, and one of my go-to choices for most Asian-inspired marinades.

    Heartland Shiraz Langhorne Creek Limestone CoastSteak – there are a million and one ways to marinade and tenderise steak – from simple oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and lemon, through many variations of Asian rubs, to spicy chipotle/chilli infused Mexican inspired styles. If you stick to the classic Italian marinade, then delicious Tuscan reds will match well; however, throw in challenging spice and sauces from Asia to Mexico, and you need big, bold, spicy reds – my top picks would be Heartland Shiraz 2013, with its rich, heady cocoa and blackberry character, and rich, sumptuous depth, or push the boat out and try the multi-award winning Unanime 2011 La Mascota, winner of trophies and awards across the world, and the very best of what Argentina has to offer – a blend of Cabernet and Malbec, it’s about as intense, voluptuous, and gorgeously rich as you can get – sink into its mesmeric charms and enjoy the heady richness of this dark fruit, licorice, cinnamon spice and dark chocolate- stashed delight.

    By Angela Mount

  • Summertime, and the livin' is easy...

    Gerschwin’s iconic ballad epitomises the lazy, hazy days of the summer vibe, regardless of our British weather. Alice Cooper’s more rebellious ‘ School’s out for Summer’ and Madonna’s early disco classic ‘ Holiday’ offer different takes on the musical theme for Summer hols – laid back, upbeat, off-beat…. Diametrically opposed styles… and it’s no different with wine.

    Whatever the mood, there’s a wine to match; whether you’re going abroad or on staycation, there are wines to greet you at the end of the day, or for weekend picnics, and evening bbqs. Personally,for an early evening pick me up, I’m ever more tempted to sink into the increasingly impressive range of on-trend gins that Great Western Wine have just started to stock, but that’s for another blog

    First up, let’s look at wines that work for picnics and alfresco lunches, be it at the beach, by a river, or in the garden – keep it light, keep it fresh.  What you don’t want is rich, oaky Chardonnays, and full-on, meaty reds at this time of day.  Go for crisp, refreshing wines that will keep the mood high.

    Domaine de Brizé Saumur Brut RoséPink Fizz is never more popular than at this time of year, but go off-piste, try something new,yet still get great value for money with a lesser-known gem. Saumur Rosé NV, Domaine Brizé  (£12.95 down to £11.50 throughout August) – far better value than pink Champagne and more interesting than most other pink sparklers – from the Loire valley, deliciously fruity, bursting with ripe strawberry fruit, bone dry, with a citrus squeak, and utterly perfect for Summer – and made on a small family estate by people who nurture what they create.  Stick this bottle in a tub of ice and enjoy the glories of the beautiful Loire valley.

    Quinta da Lixa, Vinho VerdeKeeping it light at lunchtime is important; modern style Vinho Verde is making a big comeback – squeaky clean, bone dry, and mouth-puckeringly fresh, the prettily-labelled Quinta da Lixa Vinho Verde 2015 (£8.95), with its delightfully crisp, green apple and grapefruit zestiness, and teeny touch of spritz, is the epitome of summer. And at a lowly 10.5% alcohol, it’s pretty much perfect for picnics, especially with its screwcap top.  Pack it in the hamper or rucksack in a chilled wine sleeve; for emergency chilling if you’re close to a river, take a length of string, tie the bottle to an overhanging branch and chill it down in the water!  Forget picnic sandwiches, pack up salads of feta, tomato and mint, and chargrilled prawns.

    Château Gassier 'Le Pas du Moine' Côtes De Provence RoseThe delicately pale Cotes de Provence wines are riding the crest of a wave of popularity, and nothing is more spot on for Summer drinking. Award-winning Le Pas du Moine Chateau Gassier 2015 (£13.95) fits the bill, with its delicate, strawberry and citrus flavours, and scents of pomegranates, wild herbs and raspberries. Surprisingly creamy, with lovely depth, you can’t beat it for laid-back, alfresco entertaining, especially with seafood, Tuna Nicoise, olives and tapenade.

    Planeta, Cerasuolo di Vittoria

    For those who love a glass of red at lunchtime, here’s a holiday classic:

    Cerasuolo di Vittoria, Planeta 2014 (£14.05 down to £13.50 in August) –  Bright as a button, cheery, cheeky, and fun-loving, this is my go-to Alfresco lunchtime red – a Sicilian beauty, from the leading winery on the island, the revered Planeta, who have done so much to transform the reputation of Sicilian wines across the world.  Don’t expect dark and brooding, this is a wonderfully light, upbeat, zippy juicy red, bursting with ripe raspberry and red cherry scents, with a deliciously fresh, red berry fruit flavour. Chill it down and then enjoy with platters of charcuterie, Mediterranean salads, and even English style pork pies!

    Happy holidays

    By Angela Mount

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