Words: Alex Whyte
Image: Harry Darby & Anna Hodgson

Spring never really got started this year in the UK. It’s been a sort of on-off affair, where it is encouragingly bright one day, dreary and raining the next. Here’s hoping we get a proper summer in the months ahead and if we do, you’ll want to be prepared.

As things warm up and the days get longer, the way we spend them changes too and I love embracing the seasons as much with wine as I do with what I eat. There are certain wines that just seem to make a lot of sense in the park on a sunny day, or at a barbecue on a balmy evening when it is still light past 10 o’clock.

Refreshment is paramount at this time of year, so I tend to opt for more simple, thirst-quenching wines that seek to please rather than which require a great deal of thought. There is no set rule but they tend to be moderate in alcohol and high on fun, charming wines that just feel right in the sunshine. The following are what I will be drinking this summer…

The wild organic vineyards at Le Coste sit around a lake in the north of Italy's Lazio

Domaine de L’Ecu, Cuvee Classique 2013; £15
Muscadet might just be the perfect white at this time of year and few do it better than organic grower Guy Bossard. Lean and mineral, with a salty, stoney character, it’s the classic pairing with oysters or a whole crab with mayonnaise and even alone, might just be the perfect aperitif.

Davide Spillare, Bianco Rugoli 2013; £15.30
A great little blend of Garganega and Trebbiano from Italy’s Veneto, the wine spends a brief period of time in contact with the skins lending a little flesh and grip. Clean and mineral, fantastic with a whole fish off the barbecue.

Partida Creus, SP Bianco 2014; £21
This wine from Catalunya is certainly one for the geeks. A blend of half a dozen or so weird and wonderful grapes like Xarello and Vinyater, it is a cloudy, wonderfully refreshing white wine heady with citrus and herbs. Thrillingly unique and would hardly make sense at any other time of year.

Nino Barraco, Rosammare 2014; £23
Over the past few years this rose, from a vineyard right by the seaside in Sicily, has become my go to wine for summer. Made without the addition of any preservatives and just 11 per cent alcohol, it is crisp, bright, utterly delicious and impossible to put down. With a simple dish of spaghetti and clams, it is pretty hard to beat.

Le Coste, Litrozzo Rosso 2014 (1 litre); £22.50
I don’t drink a whole lot of red wine in summer and when I do it is often in this style, where the wine almost behaves like a white. This a blend of Sangiovese and friends from a beautiful organic vineyard planted over volcanic soils in Lazio, Italy. Light and bright, it clocks in at just 10.5 per cent alcohol and is wonderful a little chilled. The fact it is bottled by-the-litre means you and yours won’t be going thirsty, which can only be a good thing.

Andrea Calek, A Toi Nous 2013; £14.00
Just because there are some big hunks of meat on the grill, it does not mean you need to be dusting off old bottles of Claret when its 30 degrees outside. A wine like this, a blend of Syrah and Grenache which nomadic winemaker Andrea Calek makes in France’s rugged Ardeche, provides enough flesh and spice to stand up to whatever cuts you choose, without sacrificing the freshness the season demands of it’s wines.

STOCKISTS (in London – other cities also available!)

Noble Fine Liquor, 27 Broadway Market E8 7PH; noblefineliquor.co.uk
Ottolenghi; ottolenghi.co.uk
40 Maltby Street, 40 Maltby Street, SE1 3PA
Toast, 36-36 Lordship Lane, SE22 8HJ

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

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