2009 Ca’ dei Frati Rosa dei Frati, Riviera del Garda Bresciano
Medium-dry rosé, but don’t let that put you off. This is a delicious, hot weather wine – vibrant, balanced and stylish. It’s from the western shores of Lake Garda and is humming with spicy strawberry and cherry fruit and soft, fresh acidity. For the record, it’s made from 60% groppello (sounds like a villain in a Verdi opera, but is a local red variety) with 15% each of marzemino and sangiovese and 10% barbera. 12.5% abv.
£15, Hanging Ditch.
2008 Castel d’Encus Thalarn, Costers del Segre
We gave this wonderful Spanish syrah the trophy for Best New Discovery in the 2010 New Wave Spain Awards. It has vivid varietal flavours – freshly ground black pepper, smoke and summer-pudding red berries – a lush, silky texture and long, fresh finish. 14.5% abv. H2Vin is a new company set up by Christian Honorez (ex Genesis Wines). Well worth investigating.
There are lots of good southern hemisphere sauvignons around at the moment. Here are two from Chile that come in just below £8 and have screwcaps to preserve their youthful vim (and save the hassle of corkscrews in the garden or on the picnic).
2009 Castillo de Molina Sauvignon Blanc, Elqui Valley
Bristlingly fresh gooseberry and elderflower on the nose; zesty, elderflower and spicy pea-pod flavours on the palate. Medium-bodied and well-balanced. Perfect summer wine. 13% abv.
2009 Palo Alto Sauvignon Blanc, Maule Valley
Fresh and zingy with ripe gooseberry fruit, herbal, nettle and lemongrass flavours and a touch of sweetness on the finish. Medium-bodied; 13% abv.