WINE O’CLOCK: Keep the price down and the heat up
I have been complaining about the number of wine-makers who have hijacked a particular day to promote their product.
An email that goes one better has just dropped into my basket. Apparently the week beginning May 25 is National Barbecue Week. I hope it keeps fine for them.
Recent good weather and lockdown has meant that, for many families, every week is barbecue week. My wine advice for such events always veers towards cheap and cheerful – either that, or stick to beer.
But if you are planning something special you could go for a number of wines and make a good night of it.
I still wouldn’t spend too much on any of them. It’s just not worth it to go with the sort of food most of us cook on barbecues.
Start with Prosecco (doesn’t everyone?). I’m wary of the cheap stuff but will definitely make an exception for Costellore Prosecco Spumante DOC, (€10.99, Aldi) which won a gold medal at the recent Global Prosecco Masters awards. Spumante is the fizzy one with a cork that pops like Champagne and the Costellore makes an excellent aperitif.
In the same style, but just a little more dry, comes Gran Troya Cava Brut (€12.99, a half-price offer from SuperValu).
Cava is made in the same way as Champagne and this one could hold its head high in company with any of the mid-range Champagnes.
Since we’re planning quite a fancy sort of barbecue, you might like to try some white fish or shellfish as a starter, maybe with a nice green salad.
You’ll want a good Sauvignon Blanc to go with it. Try Parcelles Rethore Davy (€13.95 wicklowwineco.ie). This is a lovely lightly-oaked wine from the Loire Valley. Citrus flavours and floral aroma. If you don’t fancy bubbles,this would also make a good aperitif.
If your main is something meaty, or maybe haloumi, or a heafty vegetable such as courgette, a perfect red to go with it is Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano (€10 O’Briens, on offer) from the Abruzzo region of Italy. A soft wine with dark fruit flavours, it will complement steak or burgers but won’t over-power chicken or veg.
Dessert wine seems a bit of a luxury at a barbecue. But if you are sitting out late, a glass of Sauternes is a good way to round off the evening. You can pay a fortune for some Sauternes but Tesco Finest Sauternes (€16 half bottle ) won’t break the bank and gives a very nice contrast of sweet and spicy.