7 scintillating red wines to sip in the sunshine

Friends drinking red wine
8:45am, Wed 14 Jul 2021
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Whether it’s a sweep of summertime fruits, a beam of blackberry or ripple of raspberry, sometimes nothing beats a radiant red – especially when you swirl the glass and a scented bouquet is revealed.

Sun-kissed, beautifully ripe and round, we’ve selected some of the softest, food-friendly reds for summer – from medium bodied with fresh acidity and fine tannins, to ripe, fruity new world styles. These will chime nicely with your colourful al fresco spreads and barbecues…

1. Faustino Vii Rioja 2019, Spain, £8, Tesco

(Faustino/PA)

You have to tip your hat to this iconic label, that’s been at the top of the Rioja wine ladder since day dot. Rembrandt’s 1641 portrait still characterises the brand and their entry-level tempranillo shows plenty of verve. Immediately likeable, wild strawberry aromas with sweet notes from barrel ageing draw you in, with a smooth, fruity palate of ripe red fruits, soft spice and gentle hint of oak. Old-school cool, it’s perfect with charcuterie and tapas.

2. TTD Zweigelt 2018, Austria, £8, Sainsbury’s

(Sainsbury’s/PA)

Zweigelt – Austria’s most widely planted red – may not roll off the tongue, but if you have a taste for adventure it’s worth exploring this vibrant, juicy variety, which can be enjoyed lightly chilled. Fun and fruit-driven, it weaves together morello cherry and plummy black fruits with a touch of spice, and merest hint of minty freshness backed by fresh acidity. The kind of wine you don’t want to put down, think crispy skinned pork belly with summer slaw.

3. Château Monconseil-Gazin 2018, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux, France, £9.75, The Wine Society

(Vins de Bordeaux/PA)

The modern face of Bordeaux, your friends will feel completely at ease when they’re handed a glass of this fruit forward, velvety smooth claret, that’s expressive and approachable. Merlot dominant, there’s cabernet sauvignon and malbec in the mix to plump up the fleshy palate. A little bit of oak ageing gives structure, with lovely woody notes interweaving with blackberry fruit, wild herbs and baking spice. A top drop with oven-roasted tomato tart and mixed salad.

4. M&S Found Xinomavro Mandilaria 2019, Greece, £9.50, Marks & Spencer stores

(Marks & Spencer/PA)

A delicious discovery with a drink-me-now character, xinomavro is one of Greece’s most popular red grapes (from the mountainous north), and this unoaked style has been deftly blended with mandilaira, a bold red variety from the Aegean islands in the south. Beguiling from word go, there’s a lovely floral lift as the wine draws you in with fragrant black fruits, bramble and fresh herbs, then rewards with a trail of raspberries, blackberries and expressive red fruits. Herbaceous, complex and utterly divine, it’s a natural partner with summer vegetable moussaka.

5. The Black Pig Shiraz 2018, McLaren Vale, Australia, £11.99, Virgin Wines

(Virgin Wines/PA)

A rich, succulent shiraz from a region prized for its full-flavoured reds, sumptuous blackberry and black cherry fruit is artfully wrapped around exotic spice, complemented by darker plummy tones and smooth, rounded tannins. Perfumed and polished with a long, velvety, spice-fuelled finish, it’s your quintessential barbecue red to fire-up burgers, bangers and grilled peppered steak.

6. Luigi Bosca Pinot Noir 2020, Mendoza, Argentina, £16.49, Bancroft Wines

(Luigi Bosca/PA)

If your go-to malbec has lost its mojo, this seductive pinot noir from a meticulous producer (Luigi Bosca are cited as one of Argentina’s best kept secrets) comes highly recommended. Beautifully intense on the nose, there’s some South American punch to this pinot with great concentration and a thrilling mix of exuberant, ripe red fruits – strawberry, raspberry, kirsch and violets, with uplifting acidity keeping it fresh and elegant but with power and structure. A beautiful wine which can be served lightly chilled. Nibbles optional.

7. Hencote Amphora Pinot Noir 2018, Shrophshire, England, £45, Hencote

(Hencote/PA)

A world-class star from Shrewsbury (yes, really), this International Wine Challenge gold medal winner is testament to the quality of English still wines – and why it’s not just our sparkling wines making headlines. Light on its feet at 11.5% abv but with impressive depth of flavour, its fetching floral nose of wild berries and raspberry fruit opens the door to intense dried berry flavours, with a touch of sage and long, pure, persistent finish. Simply stunning, savour with seared tuna.

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