Our top summer wines and what to eat with them
Author: Issariya Morgan
Summer is upon us, ushering in lively barbecues, bright, zesty salads and plenty of occasions for delicious wine and excellent company. Our experts have selected their favourite summer wines – whether you’re looking for the perfect partner for freshly grilled sausages, or a special Champagne to savour under the stars.
Deliciously mature Rioja
Pair with: roast lamb, barbecued koftas or tomato sauces
Our favourite: 2010 Viña Bosconia Tinto, Reserva, Bodegas López de Heredia
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.
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.
Catriona Felstead MW, Buyer
Generous, refreshing Chablis
Pair with: seafood, sushi or lightly spiced curries
Our favourite: 2019 Le Domaine d’Henri, Fourchaume, Chablis
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; while it would make a thirst-quenching apéritif, it’s also serious enough to carry through to the rest of the meal.
This style of wine 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.
Adam Bruntlett, Buyer
Pair with: grilled fish tacos and mango salsa
Our favourite: Leclerc Briant Réserve Brut
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.
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.
Davy Żyw, Buyer
Fresh, mineral Italian white
Pair with: burrata and anchovy salad
Our favourite: 2020 Roero, Arneis, Giovanni Rosso
This is a beautiful wine to enjoy 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.
I love it alongside a seasoned tomato, radicchio, burrata and anchovy salad.
Davy Żyw, Buyer
Rich, juicy Super Tuscan
Pair with: pepperoni pizza, or freshly grilled sausage
Our favourite: 2018 Le Volte dell’Ornellaia, Toscana
Le Volte dell’Ornellaia is just perfect for a big family occasion, or to bring along to a neighbourhood barbecue party. Enjoy it with the grill alight, meat marinating, the first batch of sausages gently charring, sunshine beaming down and the wine pouring freely.
It’s delicious with a pepperoni pizza with garlic and rosemary, or a grilled sausage in a bun fresh from the barbecue.
Davy Żyw, Buyer
Fresh, light Provence rosé
Pair with: grilled fish or Mediterranean salads
Our favourite: 2021 Château d’Esclans, Whispering Angel Rosé, Côtes de Provence
A classic blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle, Whispering Angel is the perfect companion for any number of carefree, frivolous summer occasions. But look at little deeper and you’ll see this has more to offer.
There’s purity, complexity, and a more complete presence on the palate than so many more ordinary pinks. Typically Provençal in its light salmon colour, it brightens the mood whatever the weather when paired with an array of fresh, zesty dishes.
Try simply grilled fish, and salads with Mediterranean elements like tomatoes, lemon, rosemary and thyme, and new season extra virgin olive oil. I promise you a delightful afternoon.
Adam Holden, Fine Wine Specialist
Discover more of our summer food-matching suggestions here