Whether accompanying a meal, or just a catch up with friends over a few nibbles, wine is a key taste of summer. We’re in a ‘vintage’ era for wine, with so many new grape varieties being discovered worldwide, and making their way onto store shelves here in the UK. When it comes to wine pairing, and knowing your full bodied from your fruity, you could probably use some advice – and as always, we’re there for you.

Join us as we impart our wine wisdom – including both white and red wine recommendations and advice on what to serve them with. And after reading our wine recommendations, why not check out our best wine deals at your local convenience store.

 

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Red wine recommendations

Marvellous Malbec

Malbec is a very popular, smooth and fruity red wine. Malbec grapes originated in the Cahors region of Southern France, but after a severe frost in the 1950’s devastated crops, it found a new home in the Andes – and like footballer Lionel Messi, has become one of Argentina’s most famous and celebrated exports.

The taste: Malbec has a distinctive deep red, almost purple colour, which reflects its dark fruit flavours, plums, black cherries and earthy berries. Argentinian Malbec is so smooth that it is comparable to a black forest gateau in flavour, with a sweet and rich finish comparable to chocolate.

Goes well with: When it comes to wine pairing, we’d recommend Malbec alongside lean red meat or the dark meat from poultry. Top meats include duck, turkey or chicken legs, lamb, beef and pork. If bringing it along to a barbecue this season, we’d recommend serving alongside a blue cheese burger, as the tart fruit flavour works well with blue cheese – a great tip also if serving with a cheeseboard. The earthy fruit notes are a good complement to earthy vegetables too – think mushrooms, kale and potatoes.

Majestic Merlot

If you have often shied away from reds for fear of them being too dry, this is one of the best fruity wines to sample. Merlot grapes are a deep blue coloured grape from Bordeaux, but there is so much variety available with Merlot grapes grown in France, Italy, Chile, California, Australia and Argentina. This makes Merlot both a versatile wine and a versatile accompaniment to food, making it a safe option if wine pairing was the last consideration for your dinner party.

The taste: If you have always associated red wine with warming acidity and tart fruit, Merlot sits right in the centre of the red wine taste spectrum and can be described as juicy and sweet. Like Malbec, there are the base fruit flavours of raspberries and plums, but with a softer level of tannins (these are additional texture elements added to wine which give a drier flavour, such as oak, grape seeds or grape skins). So, a lighter and sweeter taste is presented.

Goes well with: The lighter taste makes it a great complement to lighter dishes, which contain light spicing. Though very versatile when it comes to wine pairing, the softer taste can easily be overwhelmed alongside rich and spicy flavours. Meals featuring chicken, shellfish or Salmon are an ideal accompaniment – perhaps a lightly spiced stir fry or a Mediterranean salad. 

White wine recommendations

Charming Chardonnay

Made from the most diverse and most planted white grape in the world, Chardonnay is always a welcome choice for wine lovers at any gathering because of its familiarity, and a good suggestion if looking to experience your first taste of wine. The green skinned grape variety derives from the Burgundy region of France, but you can find versions of Chardonnay from any country where wine is produced.

The taste: Chardonnay is an intensely citrus wine, containing flavours of lemon, apple, pear, pineapple, peach and figs. The flavour differs by the ripeness of the grapes used – less ripe grapes give sharper flavours more akin to lemon. Whilst more ripe grapes present flavours on the more tropical side of the flavour spectrum – pretty impressive flavour range from a single grape! The aroma of Chardonnay has hints of vanilla, butter and coconut which all derive from the oak-aging process.

Goes well with: White meat from poultry is a classic accompaniment to Chardonnay – Chicken and Turkey breast. Alternatively, white flaky fish such as Cod and Trout – these lighter meats naturalise the acidity of the wine. For a summer accompaniment, why not serve with baked cod with a lemon, thyme and parsley sauce and some new potatoes?

Perfect Pinot Grigio

Whilst Chardonnay sits on the sweeter side of the flavour spectrum, if you are looking for something a little drier, Pinot Grigio is one of our top white wine recommendations. Highly acidic and best served ice cold, Pinot Grigio is an Italian native, whilst there are also French (Pinot Gris) and American counterparts, though the Italian original’s level of dryness is diluted in these alternatives.

The taste: Like Chardonnay grapes, the ripeness of the Pinot grapes has a huge say on the flavour – less ripe grapes gives an apple and lime flavour whilst the ripened grapes give a sharper lemon and nectarine taste. The aroma is that of almonds and honey, but don’t go thinking that makes this wine a sweet choice.

Goes well with: The zesty and refreshing acidity works well with fresh vegetables, raw fish and lighter meals. Sushi is an ideal pairing, along with pasta dishes, risotto and grilled chicken. 

Superb Sauvignon Blanc

Our final wine is something a little different. You probably noticed some subtle similarity between the previous white wine recommendations, but Sauvignon Blanc is a more savoury option than the fruitier examples above. Sauvignon Blanc is made in New Zealand, Chile, France, South Africa and California.

The taste: Flavours include bell peppers, grass and gooseberries, particularly in the Chilean variety. This wine has a distinct herbal quality and if you love the smell of a freshly mowed lawn, this could be the ideal wine for you!

Goes well with: Though the flavours are a little more savoury, you can pair Sauvignon with many of the same dishes suggested for other whites, such as chicken and pasta dishes. However, in contrast you can be a little sweeter in your flavours, and take some Asian and Mediterranean inspiration with your paired dishes – a tangy paella, sweet and sour chicken or a crab and mango salad are a tasty contrast to the savoury nature of Sauvignon Blanc.

 

These versatile wines are a great addition to any gathering this summer. To celebrate their inclusion in our wine recommendations, they all feature in our best wine deals in store. Check out our wine offers and pick up a bottle today at your local convenience store.