Right now, I’m loving Tinston Anatomy Sparkling 2021. A little off-piste, it’s a cider made like a traditional sparkling wine. After bottling it goes through a second fermentation process before it’s aged for 12 to 24 months in the bottle. Crisp and delicious.
For a dinner party I would bring a French Chiroubles ‘Aux Côtes’ from Domaine des Marrans. That’s a classic red. White wine would be Jordan Estate Unoaked Chardonnay from Stellenbosch in South Africa. Nothing pretentious or polarising about those two bottles, but both regions produce wines that punch above their price point and appeal to a large range of tastes.
When I’m relaxing at home, I’ll open a light red like a beaujolais or juicy grenache. Beaujolais from small producers is extremely good value. I usually always suggest shopping at a local, independent retailer, but if you’re dashing to pick up an inexpensive bottle in a supermarket, La Vieille Ferme Red is the style of wine I enjoy. When I’ve got the guys over, I’ll cook dry-aged rib eyes on the Kamado grill and serve it with a bolder red like the Sons of Eden Remus Shiraz from Eden Valley, Australia.
The most memorable bottle I recently enjoyed was a rosé champagne. It was from Ulysse Collin, a boutique producer with a bit of a cult following. I drank it with some friends at The Fat Duck celebrating my birthday. I love champagnes from small growers, like Rene Jolly in the Côte des Bar, and bottles that have a little age, made in the warmer sub-region of the Côte des Bar. Rene Jolly Banc de Noir Brut with a couple of extra years in bottle to age is rich and biscuity – exactly how I like it.
I’m a big fan of rosé wines in general. If drinking Provence, I look for something away from the large well-known brands, as their price has overinflated in line with their success. I’m a little biased as I started a rosé brand (Quatre Vin) with some close friends. We worked with the Negrel family who make the lightly oak-influenced rosé, Mas de Cadenet Garde. It’s incredibly complex, with ripe fruit and spice (think quince, blood orange, gingerbread and nutmeg) and is the perfect accompaniment for al fresco summer dining. For something a little different – and with a bit of age – look for Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva or Bodegas R. López de Heredia.
I also rate English sparkling wine. I love the fact that I can picture the summer growing season associated with the vintage, and have a rough idea of the style of the wine. Due to the cooler nature of our climate, the sparkling wines need quite a long time on their lees to develop more character, which often comes at a higher price point. I recently tried the Chapel Down Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blanc 2015 (from magnum) which was delicious.