Wine & Food

    The best wines to drink in June

    10 June 2020

    Morrisons ‘The Best Oloroso Dry Sherry NV’, 20%vol, (£5.50 per 37.5cl until 5 July, thereafter £6.25; Morrisons)

    I’ve been drinking a lot of sherry during lockdown, knocking back everything from bone dry Fino and Manzanilla to delectably, gum-numbingly sweet Pedro Ximénez. And this dry Oloroso from Emilio Lustau, one of the finest of all sherry producers, never fails to cheer. Although bone dry on the finish, it’s richly, densely flavoured and full of nuts, savoury mushrooms, toffee and lively underlying citrus. It’s fabulously complex and I absolutely lap it up with cheese after a meal. Little wonder it won gold at the 2020 International Wine Challenge.

    2017 Louis Jadot Mâcon-Azé, 12.5%vol, (£10.23 down from £12.79, 3-30 June; Waitrose)

    Maison Louis Jadot have been making fine Burgundies and extremely toothsome Beaujolais for over 150 years and whenever I see the familiar parchment-like, Bacchus-adorned label on a bottle I know that I’m in safe hands and that everything will be all right. And this 100 per cent Chardonnay from the tiny Mâconnais village of Azé is a case in point. For little more than a tenner you get first rate winemaking and a bottle full of crisp, clean slightly buttery, vibrant apple ‘n’ pear-like fruit and a long gratifying finish. At this price, it’s a bargain.

    2019 Rosa di Santa Tresa, 13%vol, (£9.74 if you mix 6 otherwise £12.99; Majestic)

    A corkingly fine rosé this from the wonderful Santa Tresa wine estate in Vittoria, Sicily, where they’ve been making wine since 1697. Today, they make exemplary organic wines from state of the art equipment and ancient indigenous varieties. Some lucky Spectator readers tasted the range a year or so ago at 22 Old Queen Street and each and every wine got a resolute thumbs up. This, also, is first rate. A blend of Nero d’Avola and Frappato, it’s crisp, clean and thirst-quenchingly refreshing with hints of summer fruits and decent weight, too, thanks to time on the lees.

    2018 Lunar Apogé Côtes du Rhône, 13%vol, (£13.95; Davy’s)

    The Domaine des Carabiniers near Avignon in the southern Rhône is so-named thanks to the Carabinieri soldiers who guarded the Pope during the 14th century Avignon Papacy and who stabled their horses here. The estate has been organic for over 40 years and is now biodynamic too and produces wines of lip-smacking depth and complexity. This typical Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault is spot on: full, rich, meaty, peppery and laden with violets, dark ripe hedgerow fruit and plenty of spice. A cracking value red for the barbecue.

    2018 Max Ferd Richter Mulheimer Sonnenlay Riesling Kabinett feinherb, 10.5%vol, (£15.60; Tanners)

    I’ve always loved the wines of Max Ferdinand Richter, the 17th century estate in the Middle Mosel run by ninth generation Dr Dirk Richter. The wines are gloriously pure and all boast a true sense of place. Goodness, you can almost taste the stones and the slate of the vertiginously steep Sonnenlay vineyard in this deliciously poised and focussed Riesling. There’s baked sweet apple and zesty citrus on the palate too and with a refreshingly off-dry finish and just 10.5%vol alcohol, it’s pretty much the perfect summer aperitif.

    2019 Churton ‘Natural State’ Pinot Noir, 12%vol, (£16.99; Jascots)

    Churton in the Waihopai Valley, near Blenheim in New Zealand’s South Island, was founded some 30 years ago by my old Oddbins confrère Sam Weaver as a beacon of first-rate organic/biodynamic winemaking. Sam and wife Mandy recently handed over to sons, Ben and Jack, and this tip-top Pinot Noir was made under their watch with as little intervention as humanly possible. It’s as un-mucked about a wine as you can get: fresh, fruity, juicy, silky smooth, herbal and spicy and just begging to be drunk, lightly chilled, in satisfyingly large quantities.