With the recent heatwave we've had, it's no surprise that we've been craving something refreshing. And whilst it was definitely a little too hot to sit out in the rays recently, now things are cooling down and we're back to that classic British summer weather, it feels like a good moment to focus on some of our favourite bottles to enjoy outside.
We've picked out seven stunners from our range that we'd recommend for those warmer nights in the garden - and they're nice and budget friendly too. From whites that are great with those light and fresh summer meals to reds that really do come alive when you chill them down (yes, you read that right), give these ones a go on your next Friday night in.
This white field blend comes from La Mancha in Spain and is such great quality for the money. It can feel harder and harder to find a wine for around the £10 mark that has a personality and this one really delivers. A field blend means that the grapes have come from a field where lots of different varieties have grown together and it's evolved over time. Often the wine-makers aren't even sure what it is they're picking off the old vines, but it's all fermented together to produce one wine. This white is gorgeous. With no oak treatment, it's vibrant, zippy and very refreshing.
The Sensale range from Sicily has been a great find for us, supplying really well-produced wines. Made with the Grillo grape, it's a really bright and juicy white with peach and honeydew melon and a tang of grapefruit on the palate. Pair this with a light summer pasta dish and you're onto a winner.
Classic Picpoul is really approachable and crowd-pleasing, so this is a great one to have in the fridge if you've got friends coming over. This one is everything you could expect from a Picpoul. Really enjoyable fruit that's got some weight to it whilst still feeling fresh and clean, with a lovely saline note. Cave de l'Ormarine is an award-winning co-operative which now boasts over 470 farmers tending to 2500 hectares of vines. Have this with grilled fish.
Our house fizz which we serve in our bars, this Durello is a true customer favourite and delivers time and time again. If you're a Prosecco fan, this one's a great alternative. It's made in Veneto using the same process, but just uses a different grape. Durello grapes are grown on cool volcanic slopes and the name of the grape refers to the small, late-to-ripen fruit ('Duro' means 'hard' in Italian). The naturally high acidity means the resulting wine is really fresh, zesty and elegantly dry. Production of Durello Spumante is now in the hands of just a few small producers. Give this a go if you're into your sparkling wines.
Keith over at Reserve at Bents has picked this as his rosé of the summer and it's easy to see why. It's a beautiful soft copper-coloured wine with a lovely weight to it, produced in the equally beautiful and off-the-beaten track region of the Camargue in South West France. This area is famous for its wildlife - the white wild horses and flamingos(!). This rosé would be a perfect partner to those light summer salads.
These reds are styles that suit being slightly chilled, making them ideal to enjoy on a hotter day.
Bodegas Adria have some of the best sites for Mencia in the region, their vines sitting on the steep terraces of Bierzo. The vines average 50 years in age and there's a real focus on sustainable and traditional techniques. This one is a young Mencia which means it's packed with red fruits - cherries, strawberries, plums - and a slightly savoury note. Serve this lightly chilled with tapas.
A South African Cinsault made by our friends over at Waterkloof Winery, this hardy variety is well-equipped to deal with the often wild and exposed Cape and its maritime climate. Bright and fresh with cranberries and cherries, it really does benefit from being chilled down to between 10-14 degrees. Gavin from our Didsbury shop recently enjoyed this with a light tomato pasta dish and smoked sea salt and it looked like a dream.
Gavin's rather delicious-looking lunch!
For further inspiration, you can also visit our Summer Favourites collection here.