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Cheers to summer – an expert guide to “joyful wines”

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Summary

What you might like to sip this summer.

2 min read

Raise a glass to warmer weather as independent wine merchant The Vintner explores the latest trends in summer wines.

The London-based wine merchant specialises in gathering top wines from small producers across the globe to compile the best 100 for each season. It is one of the suppliers to our Thank You from Coutts loyalty programme.

Company founder Tom Gilbey looks at what you should be sipping this summer.

“The finest wines of the summer perfectly epitomise the mood of the season – light, bright and unfussy. These joyful wines are easy to drink and distinctly pleasurable.

As the days grow longer and the temperature rises, palates start to change. Wine lovers replace heady reds with lighter, juicier whites, characterful rosés and zippy sparkling wines.

“Crisp whites, pale pinks and fruity reds should be on your wine list this summer. And sparkling wines from Kent and Sussex are giving Champagne a run for its money too.”

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Here’s to hue

Colour is a keen contributor to the taste of a good wine.

When it comes to the shade of a fine rosé, for example, lighter is better this season. Gone are the cloying, dark pinks of yesteryear. The next generation of pale pinks prove just how tasty good rosés can be – so much so that the new wave is hardly pink at all.

Light, Provençal rosés deliver a dose of bright acidity and a deliciously dry flavour. Look for a 2017 Vin de Gris, which sits alongside these coastal French wines. It has a pale pink colour, made in the fashion of a white wine but from dark red grapes such as Grenache or Syrah.

We also predict that the characterful palate of a coral Provençal rosé – such as Mado 2017, AC Côtes de Provence, will be popular this season.

A major factor in creating the colour of wine is ‘maceration’ – the process by which a winemaker infuses colour from the skin of a grape. The longer the grape juice and skins are left in contact, the darker and richer the wine.

To make a big, bold, plum-tinged red, the winemaker ferments the whole grape – skin, flesh and sometimes even stalk. But white wines are rarely macerated at all, made using only the grape’s juice, while rosés involve very limited maceration, if any at all.

The juice is left either to free run – where the juice flows freely from the freshly picked grapes – or the red grape skins are removed after just a couple of hours.


Fresh is best

The current trend for rosé – bone dry and crisp – is true for white wine too. But this year the mass appeal of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio will be challenged by an exciting and versatile range of other grapes.

Seek out your next summer sip from European wine-producing countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain, France and even Greece – think refreshingly zingy Alvariñho from Portugal’s Vinho Verde region, or a crisp Cortese from Italy’s Gavi di Gavi.

Juicy and fruity summer reds are also found in areas such as Spain and Portugal as we embrace bright berry flavours, balanced acidity and a lighter body.

From the valleys of France, there’s a Beaujolais revival afoot. Gamay wines from the best of the Crus Beaujolais are an ideal foil to a balmy afternoon. These are low-tannin wines – young and fruity. Try a Morgon ‘Hommage’ 2016 by Château de Durette for a plummy-coloured Gamay with Pinot-like bursts of berries that is delicious when served slightly chilled.
 

Celebrate with fizz

Delightfully decadent Champagne and easy-to-drink Prosecco have enjoyed a stronghold on the sparkling wine market. But award-winning wineries from regions such as Italy’s Franciacorta and, closer to home, the Sussex and Kent countryside are being recognised for their top-quality, bottle-fermented sparkling wines. These wines can rival the very best from Champagne.

For a real treat, sample Gusbourne Twenty Thirteen Brut from Ashbourne in Kent – a creamy yet crisp, golden fizz with a fresh fruit flavour, up there with the very best from our own shores.”

Discover a curated list of 100 wines to buy right now at www.thevintner.com. Speak to your private banker to find out more about Thank You from Coutts or visit the web page.

Key Takeaways

Crisp whites, pale pinks and fruity reds should be on your wine list this summer. And sparkling wines from Kent and Sussex are giving Champagne a run for its money too.

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