Cantina di Soliera Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC

Three red wines for summer from Laithwaites, Ocado and Aldi

The Raise a Glass feature is published in several UK regional newspapers …  when I settled down to enjoy one of three red wines for summer the weather wasn’t playing ball.

As I write, this has just happened.

I’ve been very happily sitting in the garden soaking up the sun when just five minutes ago, the heavens opened.

My plans for the afternoon have been hit and miss, but my wine choices most definitely haven’t.

I’m really loving a fruit bomb of a sparkling red wine.

You might think of Australian sparkling shiraz, but you’d be wrong.

It’s an Italian offering via Laithwaites in L’Occhiolino Sparkling Red (£12, or £9 in a case of 12). 

L’Occhiolino is pronounced ‘Locky-Oh-Leeno’ and is deliciously moreish. And what’s more, it is only 7.5% abv. 

It hails from Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, a heartland of culinary delights, not least amazing pasta dishes and Parma ham.

It is a timely sip, as only a few days ago, I had a palate-friendly flashback to a sparkling red I’ve not had for a while: Lambrusco.

I’d  been sharing the love of Cantina di Soliera Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC (£12) at a wine night on behalf of  Ten Streets Wine. What a treat it was, ripe strawberries and pretty floral notes.

But back to my rainy day and L’Occhiolino: This ruby-wed wine, with its aromas of super-ripe red and black fruits (think summer pudding) was going to sit with me in the garden as I barbecued. 

Alas it has rained, but I’m hanging onto the wine and no-one can take that part of today’s plan away from me!

In this mix and match of weather in the past couple of days, I’ve also enjoyed a red from Chile.

And especially one of my favourites, a glass of pinot noir. 

Viña Leyda Reserva Pinot Noir 2020 (RRP £12, Ocado) is a great choice for warmer days.

It is light enough to take a 30-minute chill in the fridge, and complex enough to encourage you to savour each sip.  

Viña Leyda is the most awarded coastal winery of Chile and some of the grapes from this wine grew just 4km from the ocean.

The wine has good acidity, a depth of red fruits with an edge of savoury and herbal notes.

In this household we’ve also raised a glass to a gold medal winner from Aldi.

The chunky, lush, deep, aromatic, ripe, and savoury wine which is Aldi’s Vieille Étoile Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2017 (£19.99)  won gold at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC). 

Judges said the wine was “styled in a traditional manner and styled well”.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the quality cru appellations of the southern Rhône where grenache plays the lead in blends alongside other local grape varieties.

This isn’t a wine that is backward in coming forward.

You might think of it as more of a winter wine.

But sip it as you’re in front of the warming flames of the chiminea.

You can watch the evening light drift in the sky, and enjoy.

First published in UK regional newspapers:  See “About ” me

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