Barbecue wines: Four choices to enjoy come rain or shine

barbecue wines

SECOND guessing the British summer weather is a bit like a game of spin the bottle but without the kissing. But come rain or shine I bet many of you will be pouring some barbecue wines as you singe the sausages and panic about the burgers.

Here’s a pink, white, red and a sparkles – perfect barbecue wines, whether you’re hiding under an umbrella or dabbing on the suncream.

Barbecue wines:  Enjoy this pink with prawn kebabs. Treat them gently.

Aldi Cotes De Provence Rose
Aldi Cotes De Provence Rose

Aldi Exquisite Collection Cotes de Provence Rosé 2015 (12.5% abv, £5.99 or £35.94 for six from

It is the Law of Wine that you should enjoy Provence pinks in glinting sunshine. A few days ago this wine won the International Wine Challenge Great Value Rosé under £7 trophy.

It is a blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah and mourvédre and aromas flirt with strawberries and quince;  when you sip, you’ll quickly want another sip of this refreshing mouthful of summer fruits with a touch of minerality and a slight creamy texture. The flavours last too. They don’t disappear in a watery wish-wash of so-whatishness.

Barbecue wines:  This white would be fab with  Thai-spice marinaded chicken

The Society’s Grüner Veltliner 2015, (12% abv, £7.50,

The Societys Grüner Veltliner
The Societys Grüner Veltliner

My Better Half arrived home after a 70-mile bike ride (I’d walked the dog to the park – that’s the fitness differential in our household) and I thrust a glass of this  in his hand.

He’s hard to please but he gave me these adjectives “tasty, moreish, drinkable, smooth”.  I couldn’t disagree.  You might not be able to pronounce it, but I bet you’ll love this grüner veltliner.

 A nose-dip reveals aromas of peach and pear, and a fleck of white pepper; then a sip bursts with more peach and pear flavours with a nudge of spice which fizzles with the acidity to make your palate stand to attention. A wine with lovely depth to savour.


Barbecue wines:  Red is perfect for sausages, especially with charcoal scrunch.

Asda Extra Special Barbera d’Asti 2013 barbecue wines
Asda Extra Special Barbera d’Asti 2013

Asda’s Extra Special Barbera d’Asti 2013 was named Best Value Red under £7 by the IWC.  I nipped into my local Asda and there it was, an astonishing £5, quite incognito, nestling amongst the other reds. Go fill your boots.

If you do, you’ll find an Italian red which does everything an Italian red does. It is chokka with cherries and  spangled with spice.

The acidity glints like a mirror in the sunshine and it is best paired with food. So I did – a steak with a crunchy coat  of black pepper and mustard seeds; then the next day the sun was shining, we brought out the barbie and burnt some sausages. Yum.

Barbecue wines: Just let this English sparkler fizz away, sit back and enjoy

Henners Brut 2010 (£27.99, 12% abv is a multi-award-winning English sparkling wine crafted in east Sussex ( and is a blend of two traditional Champagne grapes, pinot noir and pinot meunier.

Henners Brut 2010 English sparkling wine barbecue winesBubbles giggle into the glass and the mousse isn’t for leaving this world in a hurry; aromas of ripe pears, citrus and brioche tempt from afar, drawing you into the glass for another deep nose-dip.  It’s the kind of wine I forget to taste as I’m so entranced with the aromas. Ah but not quite  – taste I did – and mouth-cleansing juicy citrus is offset by almond richness. Delicious.

First published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals May 22, 2016

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

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Bretta & Co wine tasting: My picks of the reds and whites

bretta & co wine website

You’ve got to admire someone who follows their dream.  A few years ago Gary Adlen was on a business trip and found himself in a  New York bar which not only served food, but also had its own deli.

He dreamed of doing the same in his home town of Liverpool – and now he has,  together with his sister, Bretta. Now we can all enjoy the results of their shared enthusiasm at Bretta & Co (we can see what they did there).

Their latest step is selling wine online, and I was pleased to  be invited for a tipple taste test. It was a challenge, I know.

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Some whites from the Bretta tasting
  • We kicked off with a zippy white, a  verdejo from Bodegas Viore, with grapes from the  Toro region (which was definitely new to me).  A perfect zingy start to an evening, tropical, fresh, and mouth-watering.  (Find it in the Six Spanish Wines choice, £95)
  • The quality continued with the mineral, crisp, Klein Pinot Gris (£14.95) Now I’m always a pushover for a German grauburgunder (yes, it’s the same  – a pinot gris) and this had beautiful aromas of lychee and lemons with flavours that lasted and lasted.
  • Rene Mire Gewurtztraminer (£13.45) Wow, I’m pushed over again. Two of my favourite wines in one tasting.  There were clouds of rose petals rising from the glass, but with a little spicy spike of ginger in the background in this wine from Alsace. It wasn’t too sweet and had nice clean acidity.

bretta & co red wines liverpool

A couple of reds from the Bretta tasting
  • Old School Chateau-Maris Minervois (£13.95) is a blend of syrah (90 per cent) and grenache – both grown biodynamically. Neither grapes are known for being shy; they’re full on flavoursome and proud. Here they combine to create a peppery, fresh juicy nose with a “what IS that in the background” question from me. I decided it was sage. This wine is fruit, fruit, fruit all the way.

  •  Camino Terra Remota (£14.99) is Spanish and flamencos with flavours. It’s no surprise, as its a blend of four bold grapes; garnacha, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo, each bringing their own character and personality.  There’s vanilla-edged cherry aromas – there’s white pepper too – and wet leaves. It tasted (I thought) of an earthy hot pot of  red fruits, with the mix of flavours reminding me of a red from the Rhone Valley.
Bretta & Co is on Heathfield Street, just off Bold Street, in Liverpool. It has an extensive deli and range of wines in store, as well as on line, and regularly holds tastings.  Click here to check out their events