Three fine wines to drink this summer
Author: Issariya Morgan
In the second instalment of our summer fine wine series, we asked three of our experts which bottles they’ll be savouring over the next couple of months. From a lush Meursault to a delicate Saumur Blanc, discover the wines which have inspired our team.
I remember the first time I tasted Benjamin Leroux’s wines at a lunch and being bowled over by the quality, purity and balance. The so-called “golden boy of Burgundy”, Leroux is well known by Burgundy lovers as one of the region’s most admired winemakers. Consequently, by the time I first purchased 2018 Meursault, Benjamin Leroux, I was already a convert to his signature style. It was purchased to go alongside a whole roast salmon last summer, just when we were starting to see friends again, and certainly did not disappoint. It has delicious ripe stone fruit, rich vanilla and toast and refreshing acidity.
This wine showed me that some of the conventions we expect from Burgundy wines are not the only option. Unusually for the area, Leroux frequently uses screw cap over cork, meaning the wine you taste is exactly the wine he puts in the bottle. There is significantly less bottle variation and considerably less risk of finding a corked wine, plus the wine ends up retaining a freshness that balances out the lush fruit and oak.
For me, the 2018 Meursault is a perfect wine for summer. It was fantastic with the salmon, and food certainly brings out the fruit in this wine, but personally I would just as happily savour a glass of this on its own with a good book in the sun – it bursts with passion fruit, pear, mineral and vanilla. You can tell that Benjamin picks his grapes from his favourite vineyards across Meursault.
This is a fantastic example of what a white Burgundy could (and should) be. It showcases the expertise of the winemaker and the nature of the terroir. If you haven’t discovered Benjamin Leroux’s wines yet, I wholeheartedly recommend starting with this one.
Henrietta Gullifer, Wine & Spirits Advisor
In the last couple of years, I have been increasingly drawn to red St Aubins as a sign of excellence at an incredible price. The Les Pitangerets has brightened my winter days, but this wine is going to accompany me to barbecues, picnics and the back garden as a wine fantastic with food but even better with long awaited company.
This Pinot Noir is delicate yet swimming with flavours of summers gone by. Crunchy strawberry, cherry and blackcurrant notes are accentuated by a clean and mineral mouthfeel. With hints of black pepper and a medium to long finish, you end up wanting more and more of this outstanding St Aubin Rouge.
The Carillons have been producing wines in Puligny-Montrachet since the 16th century and the Les Pitangerets is the only red wine that Jacques Carillon produces. However, given the success of this exceptional wine, we may need him to produce more. It’s an excellent summer fine wine.
Markus Ljunghammar, Wine & Spirits Advisor
With the arrival of summer, I can finally express my true love of unsung whites – regions and parts of the world that are of exceptional quality but do not always receive the spotlight.
The 2016 Saumur Blanc, Chenin du Puy, by Frédéric Mabileau is one such wine, showcasing why Chenin Blanc from the Loire is some of the best in the world. Delicate and elegant, this wine wafts and embraces the mouth without ever being too much. Judicious use of oak gives the wine a creamy richness but still a refreshingly clean feel. It’s stunning with food but I would happily drink it on its own.
I will be stocking up on this wine for the summer season, as my guests will love it. It’s easy to drink and fresh for some, not too citrusy for others. In short, this is about balance and exceptional winemaking for all.
Chris Hansen, Senior Wine & Spirits Advisor