Is our long summer of intermittently good weather, an astonishingly successful Olympic Games  and lots of barbecues coming  to an end? Christine Austin choose her favourite late summer wines

There is always the intention of just carrying on with summer, even if the focus has moved to coping with A-level results, university places and the back to school routine, but with September looming, now is the time to make the most of the last long weekend of the year. Here are some wines to enjoy while summer is still here.
It is not too late to enjoy a glass of rosé. Rosé is the symbol of summer drinking, and it goes surprisingly well with food, even if rain drives your picnic indoors. My favourites this summer have been of the pale, delicate variety, mainly from Provence where winemakers manage to balance elegant, light, strawberry-edged fruit with enough weight and crisp finesse to team up with salads, fish and even lightly spiced stir fries.
Waitrose has the excellent Mirabeau Pure Rosé 2015, down from its usual price of £12.99 to £10.39 until 20 September. Made from a blend of Grenache and Syrah it looks delicate but has subtle red fruit aromas and a silky rounded palate. I have also become a real fan of Whispering Angel from Ch. d’Esclans. I have tasted it several times but really fell for its subtle, gentle red currant and raspberry fruit at a fabulous wedding I attended last summer at a lovely French chateau. Various wines were distributed around the tables but the one within arm’s reach was Whispering Angel from Sacha Lichine’s property in Provence. Happily this wine provided exceptional company for all the many courses of food delivered over a period of hours, from starters to dessert and well into the evening. Find Whispering Angel 2015, Côtes de Provence at Field and Fawcett in York and at Bon Coeur in Melsonby at around £16 a bottle.
192_9203 (1)As an alternative to Provence rosé, try Flaxbourne Sauvignon Blanc Rosé 2015 from Marks and Spencer. This is a regular New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon with all its usual green grassy notes, with just a splash of Merlot blended in. The result is a crisp, lively rosé wine with rounded red berry fruit. Normally £10.50 this is reduced to £8.50 until September 5.
Who cares if it is September soon? If the weather is good we can carry on eating outside so it makes sense to be prepared with a few bottles lined up ready in the fridge.
With its crisp, thirst-quenching flavours Sauvignon Blanc is the right wine for sunshine drinking and Sainsbury’s have a cracking version from Bordeaux. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (down from £7 to £6 until August 30) has all the right, crisp, crunchy, citrus-charged flavours with a rounded, food-friendly finish. Team this with a goats’ cheese salad, fish and chips or any fishy starter.
Albariño is another delightful summertime grape. Grown in the rain-soaked Rías Baixas of north west of Spain, right up against the coast and the Portuguese border, Viña Taboexa Albariño 2015 (Waitrose £7.99) gathers honeysuckle and white peach notes with a touch of spicy citrus mid-palate. I like to serve this one with food since it slides alongside many lunchtime menus without dominating the flavours. Try it with all kinds of salads, particularly those incorporating peppery leaves such as rocket and watercress.
Even Chardonnay has made a comeback this summer with clean, fresh-tasting unwooded versions showing that this grape is supremely suited to matching with food.
Showing particularly well this season is Domaine Begude Terroir 11300 Chardonnay 2015 (Waitrose down from £9.99 to £7.99 until September 20). This wine has to use its postcode on the label because it doesn’t see enough oak to comply with the rules of its actual Limoux appellation. The result is that flavours are fresh and lively with green apples and ripe pears, underpinned by a lean streak of minerality. It is made by English family, James and Catherine Kinglake who escaped the London rat-race to settle in a traditional blue-shuttered house in the hills of Limoux in Southern France. They grow their grapes organically and while their lifestyle sounds idyllic they work all hours to make the venture a success.
If the sun is out yet I still need a jumper to stay warm then I usually reach for a Pinot Noir to accompany food. This light, fruity grape can withstand an hour or so in the fridge, yet warms up to ambient temperature to cope with all kinds of foods, up to and including a steak from the barbecue. The main problem with Pinot is its price, so start at the affordable end of the price scale with Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2015 from Chile (Morrisons £7). This has the cherry and plum flavours of good Pinot from the cooler parts of Chile but it doesn’t struggle to convince you about terroir and source.
If you can dash out today then Sainsbury still has its 25% off any six bottles of wine, This brings Taste the Difference Chilean Pinot Noir 2015 down from £8 to a bargain £6, but prices go back tomorrow. Made by Errazuriz from their Aconcagua Valley vineyards you’ll get more depth and concentration in this wine.
Once you have locked into the Pinot style then head up-market with Te Teha Martinborough Pinot Noir 2015 (Marks and Spencer £15) from Larry McKenna of Escarpment fame. He gathers ripe cherry and spiced damson notes in this wine while retaining smooth, elegant tannins. It goes wonderfully with grilled duck.
With substantially more flavour and enough power to accompany steak, sausages and even an unseasonal rain shower Waitrose Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 is made by top-producer Valdivieso to a Waitrose specification. The result is a smooth-tasting, rich, ripe, hearty, cassis-laden wine that can be enjoyed whatever the weather.

About The Author

Christine is a wine writer, broadcaster and a wine judge for several international wine competitions. She has a technical background and spent five years as a buyer for a major supermarket before moving to wine writing.She writes for The Yorkshire Post Magazine and organises the York Festival of Food and Drink. She has won both the Lanson and the Roederer prizes for wine writing.

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