I’m on my holidays and the rain is clattering on the roof of my boltaway caravan like a pea-shooter firing at a tin can.
It’s a challenge as my theme this week is light red wines to enjoy in the mellowing sunshine.
I’ve persevered valiantly and here’s a handful I’ve tasted with the rain as background percussion. I suggest you serve slightly chilled. The wines I mean. Not you.
Frappato 2013, (£8, M&S) is good with seafood. Not a red pairing you’d think of, but this is how the locals in Sicily drink it. There are aromas of cranberries, cherry Tunes and a nudge of herbs. More of the same when you sip.
Tesco finest* Frappato (£7.99) is similarly juicy with a strawberry and raspberry nosegay and the same fruity flavours.
Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Marzemino Delle Venezie, (reduced to £5.50 until September 19) hails from north east Italy. The grape has just enough body to add warmth if you’re chilly. Creamy pasta would be a fine partner with this wine which is translucent ruby in colour, has violet whispers on the nose and spicy flecked red berries to taste.
Cavalchina Bardolino 2014 (£10.95, winetrust100.co.uk) is made in Verona not far from Lake Garda and uses the same grapes as its Italian cousin valpolicella; corvina, rondinella and molinara. Shy cherries tiptoe from the glass together with hints of pepper and spring shower woodland. It is juicy, sparky and fruity to taste and eminently moreish. (Postscript: It’s a little later in the evening and this has transformed a rainy day slow cooker supper of mince and vegetables into something extra special. Thanks Italy.)
Beaujolais’ reputation isn’t helped by nouveau which invades the UK in November. Beyond that there are some delicious, light, fruit-driven wines. Seek out the ten beaujolais crus; one of them, Fleurie, produces wines which are fresh, floral and fragrant.
Fleurie Georges Duboeuf 2013 (£10, Sainsbury, or £8.99 each at Majestic if you buy two from September 1 to October 26) is a crimson red, with a floral nose with berries edged with spice. It is soft, fruity and light as a hedgerow in a breeze.
Finally, to my favourite light red, pinot noir.
Asda Extra Special Chilean Pinot Noir 2013 hails from the Aconcagua Valley, oozes freshly picked raspberries on the nose; and has another fruity burst in the mouth, hemmed with pepper. For a fiver it’s a good buy. It might not be the best pinot noir you’ll ever have but when its really wet outside, having this peck of pinot in a glass next to you will make you a happy bunny.
New Zealand’s Belmont Pinot Noir 2014 (£11.99, or £8.99 each at Majestic when you buy two until October 26) has a gentle nose of plums, cherries, and a hint of vanilla too which surprised me. A quick Google reveals that this wine has had “subtle oak”. In the mouth red and black fruits create a luscious lozenge with a needle of tannin.
Koenig Pinot Noir Reserve, 2014, (£8.99, from Alsace) is one of Lidl’s new premium wines available from September 3. (I’ll be looking at more in the range next week).
Fruity aromas are reticent as spices, dusty attics and tree bark take centre stage. The same when you sip; there’s acidity and spice but the fruit moves into the shadows.
Finally, a slight cheat here. Vignobles Roussellet Pinot Noir (£4.39, Aldi) is a blend of pinot noir with merlot (15%). It’s less than a fiver, and is warm with jammy fruits from the merlot and savoury red fruits from the pinot noir. I could spread it on toast.
I hope the sun’s shining as you read this.
Published in the saturday extra magazine August 29, 2015