Summer showstoppers: fresh Italian white

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An image of Giovanni Rosso's Roero Arneis on top of a bench outdoors

Italy Buyer Davy Żyw shines a light on one of his favourite white wines from Piedmont: Giovanni Rosso’s Roero Arneis. It’s delicious at the end of a long day, with a soft summer breeze blowing in through the window 

2020 Roero, Arneis, Giovanni Rosso  

What’s the story behind the wine?  

Having spent a long time in Burgundy, Davide Rosso is a huge lover of white wines. His winery and vineyards are in the heartland of Barolo’s most desirable village, Serralunga d’Alba. The terroir here is only suitable for Nebbiolo, from which Davide makes some of the region’s best wines. To satisfy his quest to make fine white wines, he had to look to the nearby Roero region. Only a short drive away, Davide found a small yet special, organic, old-vine vineyard with some excellent Arneis grapes.  

Can you tell us more about the winemaking? 

The Arneis grape is local to Piedmont and capable of producing some of the region’s best white wines. It thrives on the deep limestone and sandy soils of Roero, which are littered with fossilised shells. These calcareous elements give tension and minerality to the grape, which makes very characterful whites.  

After harvest, the grapes are pressed and kept on skins for some time to gain extra texture and character. Controlled fermentation takes place in steel, to retain as much in the way of purity of fruit and aromatics as possible. 

How will you be enjoying it this summer? 

On a midsummer’s evening. As the thick heady heat of the day starts to fade, open the patio doors or a window. Enjoy the breeze and savour a glass or two, as you catch up on the day’s headlines or start to prepare a simple summer dinner.  

Do you have any favourite dishes or flavours to pair this with? 

I love it alongside a seasoned tomato, radicchio, burrata and anchovy salad. 

Buy Giovanni Rosso’s Roero Arneis here

Category: Miscellaneous

Summer showstoppers: Champagne for summer nights

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A photo of a Champagne flute filled with golden wine, next to an open bottle of Leclerc Briant Réserve Brut. Both items are on top of a wooden table.

Davy Żyw, our Champagne Buyer, has selected a rich, complex cuvée from one of the region’s most exciting producers – one to savour alongside picnics, barbecues or simply under a starry night sky 

Leclerc Briant Réserve Brut  

What’s the story behind the wine?  

Leclerc Briant’s wines are energetic, pure and extremely stimulating. Although a historic Champagne House, Leclerc Briant are celebrating a new lease of life, producing some of the region’s most exciting styles today. They are trailblazers through and through: biodynamic and organic, they use low dosage, with little or no sulphur in the winery and radical vinification methods. Their flagship Brut Réserve is unlike any other non-vintage Champagne: it is actually from vintage 2018, it’s Extra Brut and totally delicious. 

Can you tell us more about the winemaking? 

This wine is 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay, mostly from Premier and Grand Cru villages. The fruit is sourced purely from organic and biodynamic vineyards, which account for a small fraction of the total in the region. These viticultural practices are riskier, and they yield smaller crops at harvest. But the small yields produced are concentrated and full of personality. 

Under the watchful eye of Chef du Cave Hervé Jestin, the grapes are pressed gently and naturally fermented. The wine is made in steel and oak barrels (second-fill Châteaux d’Yquem and Haut-Brion Blanc, no less) and terracotta egg. The still wines are always held on the fine less and then bottled, after the autumn solstice following the harvest.  

This extended time kept as a still wine in mixed vessels gives the wine incredible energy and texture. The 2018 vintage yielded wines with great purity, and the low dosage (4.5 grams of sugar per litre) keeps the wine crunchy, mineral and tangy, with a foaming pleasure-inducing mousse. It is impossible not to be charmed by it.  

How will you be enjoying it this summer?  

In my opinion, there is never a wrong moment to open a bottle of Champagne – particularly Leclerc Briant. The biodynamic character of this wine means it is intimately connected to the patterns of nature, so there is no better place to enjoy it than in the garden: one bottle to start the picnic or barbecue, and another to finish under the starry night sky.  

Do you have any favourite dishes or flavours to pair this with? 

It’s delicious with grilled fish tacos and a coriander chilli mango salsa, or alongside cold cuts of ham with mustardy new potatoes and piccalilli. 

Buy the Leclerc Briant Réserve Brut here

Category: Miscellaneous

Summer showstoppers: deliciously mature Rioja

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A bottle of López de Heredia's Rioja Reserva sitting atop a wooden bench table outdoors

Buyer Catriona Felstead MW tells the story behind one of her favourite summer-friendly reds – one that pairs perfectly with barbecued meats and hard cheeses 

2010 Viña Bosconia Tinto, Reserva, Bodegas López de Heredia 

What’s the story behind the wine?  

Founded in 1877, Bodegas López de Heredia is one of the most iconic producers in Rioja. Their wines are firmly traditional and undertake hugely long periods of ageing in the winery’s fascinating, mushroom-like, ancient underground cellars. 

Can you tell us more about the winemaking? 

Ageing at López de Heredia is always for much longer than the minimum time required in the region for that category. For example, the 2010 Bosconia has been aged for five years in barrel, followed by a further five years in bottle at the winery before release. This is in stark contrast to the current minimum requirement for Rioja Reserva: three years’ ageing in total, one year of which much be in barrel, followed by a minimum of six months in bottle. 

Why are you enjoying this wine this summer? 

Given its complexity and maturity, 2010 Bosconia deserves to be savoured year-round. It certainly comes into its own as a premium pairing with chargrilled meat. So it’s a delectable wine to enjoy over the course of many hours alongside a lazy summer barbecue. 

Do you have any favourite dishes or flavours to pair this with? 

The maturing aspects on the nose of this wine, perfectly counterbalanced with dark, ripe fruit, would certainly make it an excellent match for roast lamb or barbecued lamb koftas. I find this wine incredibly versatile; it is also delicious with a tomato pasta sauce or hard cheeses such as Old Winchester. 

Buy López de Heredia’s Rioja Reserva here

Category: Miscellaneous

Summer showstoppers: Premier Cru Chablis

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A bottle of Le Domaine d'Henri's Chablis sits atop a white table next to a Burgundy glass holding a little of the golden-coloured wine, against a wood backdrop

Burgundy Buyer Adam Bruntlett selects one of his favourite wines to enjoy alongside summer ingredients: a Premier Cru Chablis from Le Domaine d’Henri.

2019 Le Domaine d’Henri, Fourchaume, Chablis 

What’s the story behind the wine?  

Le Domaine d’Henri was set up by the famous Michel Laroche after he sold his business, Domaine Laroche. But he decided to keep back the best family vineyards for his children. The estate is therefore relatively young by Burgundian standards, making its first vintage in 2012. The domaine is now run mostly by the young and energetic Margaux Laroche, who has set the estate down a path of sustainability, starting the process of organic and biodynamic certification, harvesting by hand – quite unusual in much of Chablis – and using a low-intervention approach in the cellar. 

Can you tell us more about the winemaking? 

Fourchaume is a well-known Premier Cru and the domaine has a big holding here. The soil is deep clay, and the vines face south on a steep slope. This gives a generous and rounded style of Chablis with a soft, cashmere texture and spicy notes. The winemaking is very hands-off, with indigenous yeasts and very little sulphur added. The wine is made mostly in stainless steel tanks to preserve freshness, with a small proportion made in older barrels that give more weight and complexity without adding an obvious oak flavour. 

Why are you enjoying this wine this summer? 

Chablis is always a great summer wine because of its refreshing and mouth-watering character. This Premier Cru has slightly bolder flavours than the classic, steely Chablis, so while it would make a thirst-quenching apéritif, it’s also serious enough to carry through to the rest of the meal. 

Do you have any favourite dishes or flavours to pair this with? 

Chablis always goes well with seafood, pairing particularly well with shellfish such as oysters. But the slightly broader profile of this wine and its spicy character make it a great match for sushi or lightly spiced or curried dishes. 

Buy Le Domaine d’Henri’s Chablis here

Category: Miscellaneous