Get away from it all with wine and your imagination

Planning a trip to Greece this Summer?

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 6:00 am
An occasional tipple with Raymond Gleug

Thought not. Then let Greece come to you in the form of today’s Wine of the Week, the pale straw-coloured, delightfully dry and thoroughly refreshing 2019 Lafazonis Geometria Malagouzia (£10.95, the Wine Society, visit www.thewinesociety.com or 01438-741177).

An aromatic floral bouquet leads to a rich, expressive palate wherein sharp notes of green apple and citrus are nicely balanced by softer and very juicy peach and melon flavours before a tingly, discreetly acidic finish. An ideal match to the warm chicken, coriander, tomato and Kalamata olives salad which my darling wife, the enigmatic Madame G and I, happily devoured out in the patio at our lovely home, Rose Cottage, on a beautiful sunny Bank Holiday Monday evening.

Planning to holiday in Italy this year? Didn’t think so. Sense a theme developing, tipplers? That’s right, if you can’t make it there then allow your Uncle Raymond to direct you to wines make you feel like you’re there. Sitting outside a little tavern in a Mediterranean fishing village watching the local fashionistas proudly promenading along the seafront. Instead of just finding yourself stuck in your small back yard in Carrickfergus. Again. Beneath your makeshift tarpaulin shelter. Huddled together with your determined to make the best of it despite everything family. Who are probably quite scared of you by now. Round the battered chiminea. Looking out at the rain. Eating sausage rolls. With a tin of Tennents. If you’re lucky.

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No, tipplers, you deserve better. Use your imagination and you’ll get it. Today’s second recommendation, the crisp, complex and mineral-rich 2020 M&S Classics Gavi (£8) should transport you to more tropical climes. In spirit at least. Made from Cortese, perhaps Piemonte’s finest white grape, this smooth, citrussy and impressively tart drop is extremely food-friendly and goes wonderfully well with vegetarian cuisine, cheese, salads and even omelettes or frittata. We enjoyed ours last Sunday, once again al fresco in the evening sun at Rose Cottage, this time with a veggie chilli and some slightly overdone tortilla wraps which, by happy accident, took on the pleasing texture of crunchy tortilla chips. This is just one of an impressive range of popular wines at affordable prices- M&S Classics, worth checking out.

Planning to visit France this Summer? Good luck with that- looks like the hatches are being battened down where we’re concerned. Nil desperandum- let France come to you instead with today’s final recommendation, the satisfyingly savoury, sumptuously smooth and intensely fruity 2019 Cotes du Rhone AOP (£5.99, Lidl). Opulent and tangy plum and blackberry flavours dominate an elegant palate, mingling with backnotes of cherry, dark fruit and chocolate before a judiciously oaked finish with subtle strands of lick-your-lips liquorice. We enjoyed ours with my legendary Thai-style chicken, peppers and potato with coconut milk and coriander outdoors, you’ve guessed it, at our lovely home, Rose Cottage, last Saturday on yet another balmy Summer evening.

If you’re headed to Lidl yourself you’d do well to explore their exciting new range of Summer gins. I’ve been using their superb Hortus Violet and Blackberry Gin (£16.99 for 70cl bottle) to experiment with some lavender-based cocktails. Plenty of other flavours available to choose from as well as more traditional options. Different people have peculiar tastes. Some of us are predators, some scavengers while most of us prefer to passively graze like cows in the meadow.

Whatever and however you source your weekend libations, let’s hope you’re downing them in some more of that wonderful sunshine. Sure, you’d almost feel like you were drinking Vinho Verde in the Algarve, wouldn’t you? Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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