As summer draws to an end, savour the flavours intended to see you through the longest, brightest days of the year. Warmer weather, more daylight and summer’s larder demand lighter, brighter wines and it has never been easier to find such wines in the UK.

The trend for the brasher, clunkier styles so popular in the Nineties is thankfully on the way out. Wine writers, sommeliers and everyday drinkers alike are drinking less of these big, blockbuster wines and returning to fresher, more digestible styles with drinkability at the fore.

It sounds simple but like any drink, a wine should quench one’s thirst. This fairly straightforward idea was seemingly forgotten over the past few decades and with many winemakers and drinkers shooting for the biggest, boldest wines, the more subtle ones got left behind.

However, of late there has been a return to grace with many winemakers returning to growing grapes organically and moving away from manipulating those grapes too much in the cellar, resulting in purer, more subtle wines. Ten years ago very few people in this country were concerned with the provenance of their food and by that I mean what the ingredients were, how it was made and where it came from. Now this couldn’t be further from the truth.

It has taken people a little longer to come around to caring about what is in their wine. Real wines, like proper food, certainly cost a little more, but little by little more of us giving the booze we drink as much thought as the food on the table. As such people are drinking more wines made from organic grapes that are made without the addition of yeasts, sugar, acid and excessive preservatives.

The wines below are the sort of things I like to drink in summer, often light and nimble, bright and energetic, they are low in alcohol and high on fun. They lend themselves to daytime drinking and pairing with all manner of foods. They are available from the following retailers and restaurants, who have a real passion for these wines.

Quarticello, Despina 2013 (Emilia Romagna, Italy)
This is fizz made the old fashioned way, unfiltered and with no sugar added, it is a little cloudy, bone dry and made in a really appetising style, with lifted aromatics and a faint saltiness in the mouth. Perfect as an aperitif or with a plate of prosciutto or hunks of aged Parmesan.
£15; Noble Fine Liquor

Domaine de la Pepiere, Muscadet Sur Lie 2013 (Loire Valley, France)
Muscadet as it should be, taut and dry, full of minerals and extremely refreshing. Marc Olivier is an old-school vigneron who does things the hard way and it shows. There is no wine more suited to a plate of oysters with some proper bread and butter.
£12, Ottolenghi; Noble Fine Liquor

Jerome Saurigny, Sauvignon ‘S’ 2012 (Loire Valley, France)
A delightful Sauvignon that is a far cry from the candied, overtly perfumed riffs we so often associate with the grape. This smells like the Britain in the summer, heady with elderflower with plenty of flesh and texture once in your mouth. Incredibly easy to drink and such a friend of food.
£15.30; 40 Maltby Street

Nino Barraco, Rosammare 2013 (Sicily, Italy)
This is everything one looks for in a summer red. From a vineyard very close to the ocean on Sicily’s west coast, Nino Barraco picks his Nero d’Avola grapes early, meaning the acid is high and the potential alcohol low. A gentle press of the grapes yields a pale wine brimming with energy and tart, salty fruit. Extremely versatile but really comes to life with salted anchovies or a plate of fried fish.
£24; Burro e Salvia

Olek Bondonio, Dolcetto d’Alba 2012 (Piedmont, Italy)
This might be the ultimate barbecue wine. Made by a young winemaker from a tiny plot of very old vines above the town of Alba, this is plush, juicy and floral, the perfect foil to whatever is coming off the grill.
£19; Ottolenghi or Noble Fine Liquor

Noble Fine Liquor


40 Maltby Street

Burro e Salvia

Alex Whyte is the co-owner of Tutto Wines, a specialist importer of artisan wines from Italy (


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