Guest post by Andrew Chapman
When Becca asked me to write a wine-themed article for Bitten on wines for BBQs I was immediately thrilled… I love wine! It’s a passion – and it’s how I’ve earned my living for most of my adult life.
I’ve been involved in the wine trade most of my career. First in the hospitality industry as a Sommelier and then one of Trustehouse Forte’s youngest restaurant managers at Oxford’s renowned Randolph Hotel. A not-to-be-missed opportunity as Senior Common Room Butler at Oxford’s The Queen’s College followed, plus 20 years running my own wine merchant’s business. A stint running a friends wine shops and online business in Hampshire and Berkshire pretty much brings me to now… Wine specialist at Waitrose until recently and currently management trainee for same lovely company, now based in Witney. I promise no Waitrose favouritism here!!
So, without further ado, onto this month’s theme: wines for BBQs. Having just spent a blissful day gardening in the sun, I feel like I deserve a glass of vino. And as there are rib-eye steaks (Oxfordshire beef, naturally) about to go on the BBQ it’s going to be a glass of rose left from last night followed by pulling the cork on an old favourite for the red wine with the steak. I’ve also included a great value and tasty fizz – because summer should be celebrated – sunshine or not!
Mourat Collection Rose 2013
£10.95 Caviste Wine Merchants: Berkshire, Hampshire and nationwide online
A fresh, vibrant rose from the Fief de Vende – that’s south of the Loire to you and me! The blend is two Loire classics – Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc, plus a little Negrette, a grape most often found in the warmer, sunny South of France. The key here is the clean fresh fermentation that yields such vibrant red fruit and sappy, mouthwatering flavor – crushed redcurrants and raspberries are the flavor of the day. Zippy, fresh and perfect summer-sipping whilst waiting for the BBQ to get to temperature. Or to just sip while dozing in the sun. Disclaimer: I used to work for Caviste that sell this online (mixed cases available) and drank waaaaay too much in my time there. Don’t tell the boss!!)
Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Epices” Syrah 2011, PGI Pays d’Oc
£9.99 a bottle (or £8.49 each if you buy two!) Majestic wine – branches all over Oxfordshire and online
Not far from the Mediterranean, Domaine Les Yeuses is near Mèze in the Languedoc region. Jean-Paul and Michel Dardé are two brothers letting their vineyard’s old vines work with local climate to produce wonderfully spicy, perfumed Syrah fruit with an elegant softness and roundness – great with my juicy streak. Disclaimer: First wine I ever imported directly. Proud that I still drink this wine today, albeit now via one of the UK’s biggest wine importers. Lunch with these boys in their local restaurant was one of the highlights of an Easter Languedoc wine trip many years ago.
San Leo Prosecco Brut
25% off until 15th July, so move fast! Thereafter £10.49 a bottle in Waitrose, available in store and online
Fresh and fruity Italian fizz with a lovely aromatic bouquet. Don’t take my word for how tasty this is – and it is – voted best Supermarket Prosecco by Which magazine. Prosecco is both the name of the region in northeastern Italy and the grape variety. Soft and easy drinking this is great fizz for celebrating summer or just to pop the cork on at the end of a busy week.
Add peach juice for a perfect Bellini – a great summer cocktail!