Our country is known for having four seasons in one day, so when the sun decides to grace us with its presence we are a much happier nation. We could be in any Mediterranean country, everyone is in better form, relaxed, happy, looking and feeling good.
We don’t even mind the idea of going to work, knowing that during our lunch break we can soak up some rays and top up our Vitamin D. Any day of the week is a green light for socialising. Entertaining during the summer months is casual and laid back, if you decide to have an impromptu BBQ or some friends over for drinks and nibbles you can rustle up some delicious grub at a moment’s notice.
We embrace lighter foods, fresh, healthier ingredients like couscous, guacamole, hummus, quinoa and all types of salad leaves with fruity or vinaigrette dressings. Our cheese board is also filled with lighter style cheese, young goat, feta, haloumi, decorated with grapes and strawberries.
Can you even imagine having a stew or roast beef dinner in the warm weather? The thoughts of it! Two of my favourite simple and quick ‘go to’ dishes for entertaining during the summer months are; linguine prawns with garlic, lemon and parsley and pasta pesto with fresh cherry tomatoes, pine nuts with rocket and parmesan shavings.
A BBQ is simple too once you have the fuel! Not just for meat lovers like myself, fish tastes amazing cooked on a BBQ as do vegetarian kebabs. For a classic BBQ you just can’t beat a simple homemade burger, sirloin steak, Superquinn sausages (it’s still Superquinn to me) and of course chicken (am I the only one who cooks chicken in the oven before throwing it on the BBQ? I am terrified of poisoning someone!).
The wines we choose echo the food we are eating, whites are usually delicate in style, fresh, crisp, lively and refreshing with lighter body, often lower in alcohol.
For summer reds, we tend to prefer wines with lower tannins (the stuff that dries your mouth) these style reds are perfectly acceptable to enjoy chilled; examples are a Beaujolais or Fleurie. If you still prefer a richer heavier style to go with BBQ meats, check out your local merchants for a good Zinfandel from California or Primitivo from Italy or even a Malbec.
Below, are some of the lighter style wines that I am enjoying this summer; I generally do not spend as much money on wines in the summer time as I am looking for less complex wines that are crowd pleasing quaffable styles.
Bodega Gotica, ‘Badajo’, Verdejo, DO Rueda, Spain, 2017
Verdejo is a grape variety from Spain, if you like Sauvignon Blanc this is an alternative to try. It has a similar fruit profile and is fresh and crisp. Badajo is a cracking wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavours, high refreshing acidity, medium body with grapefruit notes on the finish. It is lovely to enjoy on its’ own sitting on the patio or pairs great with rocket salads and smoked salmon and asparagus.
Available from 64 Wines; Baggot Street Wines; Clontarf Wines; Drinkstore; Lilac Wines; Listons; Martins Off Licence; Mortons, Ranelagh; Sweeney’s, Glasnevin; Wicklow Wines; World Wide Wines. – Price Approx. €13.00
Serra de Estrela, Albariño, DO Rias Biaxas, Spain, 2017
Albariño is an ‘on trend’ grape from Galicia region in Northwest Spain. This is one of my favourite aperitif wines right now. It is pale in colour with aromas of zesty fruit like lemon and lime with some tropical notes of pear, honeydew melon and subtle white flowers. It has a slight spritz, crisp acidity and light to medium body. The delicious flavours linger on for ages; pair it with delicate seafood or just the sunshine!
Available from Jus de Vine, Portmarnock; Lotts & Co, Dublin 4; McHughes, Malahide Road; Mortons, Ranelagh; Sweeney’s, Glasnevin. – Price approx. €16.00
Domaine Font Mars, Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc, France, 2017
Picpoul is the name of the indigenous grape from the Languedoc region in France, it is usually light and delicate like Muscadet in Loire. This example is much more expressive yet classy and elegant, packed with lots of ripe tropical fruits, lemon sherbet and hints of minerality. The aromas and flavours are wonderful, and the zesty acidity means it is difficult to put the glass down. It can be enjoyed with almost any delicate summer cuisine, fish, chicken, couscous and salads.
Available from Bradleys, North Main St, Cork; Mortons, Ranelagh; Salthill Liquor Store, Galway; Sweeney’s, Glasnevin; The Hole in the Wall, Dublin 7. – Price approx. €16.00
Innocent Bystander, Pink Moscato, Victoria, Australia, 2017
This is a youthful and playful wine, Moscato is the grape and this example is intensely sweet with aromas of ripe red berries and strawberries and cream. It is lightly sparkling with sweet juicy strawberry and red fruit flavours; the balanced acidity allows it to be thirst- quenching and a super fun drink. I adore it with Eton Mess or a simple tropical fruit salad dessert and it’s only 5.5% alcohol perfect for a sunny afternoon.
Available from 64 Wines, Blackrock Cellars, Clontarf Wines, Jus de Vine, Mitchells. World Wide Wines, Wines Online. – Price approx. €13.00
Casa Santos Lima, Azulejo Tinto, VR Lisboa, Portugal, 2015
It is unusual to suggest a light red wine from Portugal as most people expect rich heavy port style reds, yet this wine is perfect for the warmer days. A unique blend with Pinot Noir grape and native Portuguese grapes. Aromas of red cherries and berries with a touch of spice lead to light bodied flavours wild berries and hints of smokiness, ideal with BBQ tuna, chicken or pork. A soft mellow wine that is full of character with gentle tannins which can be served slightly chilled.
Available from Donnybrook Fair, Lilac Wines, Fairview, Martin’s Fairview, Sweeney’s Glasnevin, Price Approx. €12.00
Vina Leyda ‘Las Brisas’ Single Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Leyda Valley, Chile, 2015
Pinot Noir from cooler climate regions such as Leyda Valley can be superb. They produce Pinot Noir in a very Burgundian style with a bit more concentrated fruit flavours. Las Brisas a single vineyard wine which bursts with flavours of raspberry, strawberry, violets and hints of savour spices. This wine is well-made, the tannins are soft and integrated, and the acidity is refreshing with an endless length. Enjoy with vegetarian dishes, Pinot Noir matches perfectly with mushrooms, tuna, pork or BBQ chicken.
Available from O’Brien’s, nationwide & online price €16.95
Hi, I am Lynda Coogan owner of Wine Tasting Ireland, I am delighted to be part of The Taste team where I can passionately share my love and knowledge of wine with you. I hold a WSET Diploma in wine, I have ten years’ experience in the wine trade and I am a member of the Guild of Sommeliers. Wine Tasting Ireland, specialises in hosting fun, interactive wine tastings for groups. I believe that by going back to basics, wine can be appreciated by everyone, a little knowledge goes a long way! We come to you, bring all that’s needed to set up a unique, bespoke wine tasting event in your offices, your home or any venue. They are ideal for team building at work, a social gathering or a special occasion. I would love to hear from you, so please get in touch.