It might feel that there hasn’t been too much to celebrate over the past year. But, with the final stages of lockdown firmly in our sights, there could soon be some good news to toast, and entertaining to arrange.
What we want from our bottles changes according to the food we eat, where we’re eating it, and the ambient temperature. And you probably find your wine habits differ by season. In fact, most people tend to associate summer wine drinking with cool whites, refreshing rosés, and fun, fabulous fizz. But there’s plenty of scope for more robust reds too, especially if you’re a big fan of barbecues.
Whatever wines you enjoy drinking, it’s vital to store and serve them at the correct temperatures. So our product manager Luke shares his top seasonal picks with us here. He also recommends a selection of wine cabinets, to ensure the perfect pour every time:
Picpoul is one of my favourite wines. In fact, I’m always surprised that it’s not more well known. Hailing from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, this crisp, fragrant white wine has a high zingy acidity that cuts through rich foods like cheese and charcuturie. So, it’s perfect for picnics, and even pairs well with certain desserts.
More commonly, it’s a prime partner for seafood and shellfish – and could even complement good old British fish and chips. However, it’s best when you drink it ‘young’ and cool at around 8-10°.
I’m very impressed with the quality-to-price ratio of Honest Grapes’ Moulin de Gassac Picpoul de Pinet 2019 (£13.90 for 750ml). As an added bonus, the vineyard, which is set in an enchanting valley not far from the magnificent Romanesque Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert abbey, boasts 50 hectares of deep, well-drained soil, free from chemical fertilisers.
Picpoul de Pinet
Of course, the best wine in the world won’t taste good if it’s not stored properly, at the correct temperature and humidity. So if you’re a big fan of the grape, it really is worth investing in a dedicated wine cabinet. After all, a post-lockdown kitchen revamp would provide the ideal opportunity to explore our extensive range of integrated, in-column wine cabinets.
Popular options include our WC6100GM model, which fits in beautifully within a bank of matching appliances. It also features a drop-down door, soft-close functionality, and can comfortably accommodate 30 Bordeaux-style bottles. Our WC6100GM wine cabinet (left), finished in on-trend gunmetal, has a temperature range of 5-18°C, making it the ideal option for bottles of red, white, rosé or Champagne.
If you have the space for something larger – and are planning to catch-up on lost partying – do check out our WC1796 in-column triple zone wine cabinet. I love the fact this supremely roomy option can hold up to 89 Bordeaux-style wine bottles. This model also features UV-/heat-free white LED lighting and fan-circulated cool air for even temperature distribution. It’s vibration-free too, to prevent any disturbance to your wine.
Summer wines in a whisper
For many people, summer wine drinking is synonymous with rosé. After all, it’s delicious, undemanding, and very food-friendly. And, if you stay away from the sweet stuff, rosé pairs well with a range of flavours, from fish and veal to light summer salads. So, if you haven’t already, do try a bottle of Whispering Angel.
Possibly the world’s trendiest Provençal pink, renowned winemaker Sacha Lichine created it following his acquisition of Château d’Esclans in 2006. Pale in colour, Whispering Angel is made from a combination of Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle grapes. I think it’s a classy option that you can drink from midday to midnight. You can buy a 75ml bottle in Waitrose for around £18.99.
I think a wine this delectable really does deserve to be stored and poured properly, especially when the mercury rises. So, did you know that all of our wine cabinets feature no-frost compressor cooling technology?
This means that the environment and ambient temperature doesn’t affect them (unlike thermoelectric versions). So your wine cabinet maintains a consistent temperature much more effectively.
Twice as nice
You may also not know that different types of wine need to be served at different temperatures. So, if your household enjoys a variety, do consider a dual zone wine cabinet such as our Wi6234 model. Now this undercounter option incorporates side-by-side temperature zones that are independently controlled. What’s more, both zones are suitable for either serving or storage.
Flagstone Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon
Not all summer wines need to be light and white. So, if you’re planning on putting a few steaks on the barbie, you’ll need something more substantial to drink with them. One of my favourite reds – all year round – is Flagstone Music Room Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (£14.95 for 75cl).
Now this blockbuster Cabernet Sauvignon, courtesy of South Africa, is deliciously deep, dense and intense. It’s full bodied and features classic flavour characteristics of blackcurrant, black cherry, chocolate and cedar wood. I think it makes a great choice for rich beef dishes, especially steak.
Worried that your kitchen is too small for such a big wine cabinet? We offer models to suit every space, so bijou can still be beautiful. For example, our undercounter Classic Wi57 single zone wine cabinet can store eight Bordeaux-style bottles, either red or white. It also incorporates an LED display and electronic temperature control. Its sleek design means you can squeeze it into the smallest space, too. This model even has a reversible door for maximum versatility.
Sometimes, especially if you’re celebrating, only bubbles will do. Of course, genuine Champagne must come from its namesake region of France. But there are plenty of other sparkling wine options, such as Prosecco and Cava, to choose from too.
Fabulous fizzy summer wines
My favourite, however, is Crémant. This is basically sparkling wine that’s made anywhere outside France’s Champagne region. However, it uses the same “méthode traditionalle”. It actually has a similar taste profile and quality to Champagne. The only key difference tends to be the price point! Crémant is usually much more purse-friendly, yet equally delicious. A firm favourite of mine – and ideal alternative to entry-level Champagne – is Domaine de Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura Brut. It’s bone-dry, beautifully balanced, and really easy to drink. It costs a very reasonable £14.95 per bottle from The Wine Society.
If you’re keen to buy British, there are plenty of English sparkling wines to choose from, including Chapel Down and Camel Valley. Have you tried any of the Nyetimber collection? These wines originate from grape vines grown in the chalk soils of Sussex, Hampshire and Kent. Single bottle prices range from around £37 to £375. The Classic Cuvee Vintage 2009 (£43 for 750ml) is worth splashing out on for a special treat.
If you’re after a wine cabinet that can accommodate a mix of wines, including Champagne, I’d recommend our WF1552 freestanding model. Its spacious, easy-glide shelves can accommodate up to 111 Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne bottles. It’s also vibration-free and incorporates three separate zones, three humidity-control water tanks, and fan-circulated cool air for even temperature distribution. There are even wine labels and holders included for you to mark your wine by the shelf it’s stored on.
If you need something smaller, but equally reliable, take a look at our WF334 freestanding single zone wine cabinet. This is a super versatile model that can be sited almost anywhere (consider your utility room if your kitchen is compact). It offers no-frost compressor cooling, and features a toughened, UV-protected glass door.
For more information about specialist wine cabinets, click below for our expert Q&A.
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