What is a summer wine? I’m not being entirely facetious when I say that it’s a wine – any wine – that you drink in summer.
I don't know about you, but I'm actually more likely to drink a supposedly wintry style such as a big, rich, ripe red New World red – a super-charged Californian Zinfandel or Aussie Shiraz – at this time of year than in the winter, if only because this type of wine, with its impression of sweetness, works best with barbecue-charred, smoky red meat.
Similarly, I get through plenty of ostensibly summery whites – light, racy Vinho Verde or bracing, yeasty Muscadet – when there’s seafood on the winter table, and I can’t really imagine a situation at any time of year when I would turn down a glass of Champagne or Sherry.
So I’m happy that the exhibitors lined up for The Wine Gang Summer Festival – which returns for a second year at HAC London this Saturday – have between them come up with a range of wines to suit any food, mood, weather – or budget.
That means plenty of bottles that could be classed as traditional summer wines – crunchy fresh reds such as Louis Jadot Combe aux Jacques Beaujolais-Villages and La Croix de Chaintres Saumur-Champigny; light breezy aromatic whites such as Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Vinho Verde, Keuntz-Bas Alsace Collection Muscat and Skinny Love Summer White from Claymore Wines in the Clare Valley; bright new-season rosés such as Château des Bormettes Tradition Rosé Côtes de Provence and Majestic’s Definition Rosé from South West France; and a global collection of fizz from Antech Cuvée Eugénie Crémant de Limoux to contributions from England’s very own Hattingley Valley, Hush Heath and Nyetimber.
It also means plenty of potential barbie bottles – from Argentine specialist Gourvid’s impressive selection of Malbec discoveries to Doran Vineyards’ and Kleine Zalze’s sets of braai-ready Cape reds.
All of those wines would enliven a summer party, but the fun of the fair transcends the seasonal. Visitors will be able to tap into the regional specialist knowledge of Joie de Vin (Loire and Roussillon), Tilley’s Wines (Australia), When in Rome (Italy), Alsace Wines and Sud de France, while Wines of South Africa will be celebrating World Chenin Blanc Day with a collection of the best Cape examples of the great white grape. We also have one of the broadest selections of fine wines since we started running our events way back in 2009. I’m thinking of bottles like Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2013, Henschke Cyril Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, and world-famous producers from Errazuriz to Kumeu River.
With Champagne Piper-Heidsieck pouring the great 2002 vintage of its aptly named prestige cuvee Rare alongside a number of other gems in the Piper Heidsieck Garden, this is a summer party not to be missed. And if you’re fast you can still get tickets, at https://thelittleboxoffice.com/thewinegang/event/view/62003