This Month's Picks
While the go-to wines for warm summer days are often whites or rosés, it is well worth considering a chilled red. We have put together a selection of wines from grapes including Gamay, Pinot Noir, Corvina, Cabernet Franc, Cinsault and Grolleau. The attributes of these varieties perfectly suit being served at a slightly lower temperature (around 13 °C). They are lighter bodied, with a softer tannin structure, higher acidity and a generally fruitier style.
Situated on the banks of the river Vienne, this impressive Château has a rich history and once hosted Joan of Arc. Today, the Château has 30 hectares of vines planted on varied soils within the Chinon appellation. A pre-fermentation maceration has resulted in a deeply coloured wine with intense aromas of black fruit and vanilla (from partial ageing in barrel). On the palate, soft tannins are complemented by bright acidity and a spicy finish.
Advocates of low-intervention winemaking, Moron-Garcia use only minimal oak, preferring their wines to be truly expressive of their origin. Sourced from organic growers working on the pink granite soils synonymous with Beaujolais, this Gamay is deeply coloured with concentrated red fruit aromas and a touch of spice. Precise and pure, the lifted fruit profile is perfectly balanced by a bright acidity on the lingering finish.
This concentrated Beaujolais, from a selection of densely planted, old low-yielding Gamay vines, was harvested by hand to preserve the delicate skins of this grape. Following fermentation in stainless-steel tank, 40% of the wine was aged in oak to add complexity and supple tannins to the final blend. This medium-bodied wine is rounded and balanced with an intensely aromatic fresh red and black fruit profile.
From one of the finest domaines in Beaujolais, this 100-hectare estate consists of densely planted old bush vine Gamay. Fermented in concrete vats using traditional Burgundian techniques of destemming and cold soaking, rather than carbonic maceration, the cap was trodden gently by foot every day to extract the right levels of tannin before ageing in large oak barrels for seven months. Intense purple in colour with blackcurrant and blueberry fruit and floral notes, the palate is medium bodied with concentrated dark fruits and round, soft tannins with a lovely natural acidity.
Allegrini Valpolicella 2018
The Allegrini family estate covers over 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of Valpolicella Classico. This blend of 70% Corvina and 30% Rondinella has great personality, with the winemaking designed to retain its bright notes of cherry and hints of green pepper and aromatic herbs. Light, fresh and hugely expressive on the palate, this is a perfect summer sipper, bottled under stelvin to retain that freshness.
The 'Papa Figos’ recently won the Portuguese Red Trophy at IWC 2019. This historic winery was the first to produce quality light wines in the Douro. Named after the region’s rare Golden Oriole that adorns the label and whose nickname is ‘fig eater’, the Papa Figos Tinto is a blend of four varieties including Tinta Roriz, from both estate and grower fruit sourced from the Douro Superior. Intensely aromatic with red berry fruits and flowers complemented by herbal basil notes, the palate is round with well-integrated acidity and smooth tannins.
This Cinsault comes from the Guarilihue sub-region of the Itata Valley – the region where, nearly 500 years ago, Chile’s first grapevines were planted. Dry-farmed and low-yielding, these vines produce concentrated fruit with naturally high acidity. A short maturation of three months in third-use oak barrels smooths the tannins while retaining the bright fragrant fruit: blueberry, blackberry and raspberry notes combine with wildflowers and a hint of spice on the elegant finish.
Established by the late Anne-Claude Leflaive of Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy, this property is now run by winemaker Sylvain Potin, who is also an advocate of biodynamics, believing that precision in the vineyard and being closely attuned to the natural environment produces wines that are a true expression of their site. From a small two-hectare plot of the indigenous Loire variety Grolleau, Potin has produced a crisp, fragrant wine, redolent of blackberry and blueberry fruit, combined with bright acidity and a lingering spicy finish.
From fruit sourced from two vineyard sites using a range of different clones, the warm 2017 vintage has resulted in a characterful, early-drinking Pinot Noir. Fermented with 30% whole bunches to add freshness and complexity, the wine was matured in a mixture of small oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks for seven months prior to bottling. Fresh and fruity with raspberry and plum perfumes which continue through to the soft, velvety palate framed by fresh acidity.
‘Fous’ translates as crazy, an apt description for a group of people who set out to explore some of Chile’s most inaccessible and under-appreciated vineyard areas. The quartet, including viticulturalist Pedro Parra, are responsible for revitalising areas like Itata, and have sparked something of a revolution in Chilean wine production. ‘Pour Ma Gueule’ is a French term ‘for my gob’, an irreverent spin on the fact the winemakers make this wine to drink with friends. The trio of varieties used in this blend (dominated by Cinsault) were vinified and aged separately before being blended. No new oak was used to retain the fresh primary fruit: red berries, black cherry and a hint of spice follow on to the lush round palate where mouth-watering acidity is coupled with very fine tannins.