Here’s the first in an occasional series of ramblings about what I’ve been drinking with what.
The aim is to highlight drinks that deliver on flavour and interest.
The three wines here are all South African – a country that’s producing some incredibly fine stuff at very fair prices.
KWV Grenache Blanc 2016
Widely grown in the Rhone (and in Catalonia known as garnatxa blanca), Grenache Blanc wines can be a little flabby.
But here its crispness, herbal notes and hints of exotic fruits married perfectly with a salad of melon, feta, toasted pumpkin seeds and a simple olive oil dressing.
I’d happily quaff this wine with a bowl of salted almonds on the patio on a hot afternoon.
RRP £7.99, the Co-Op.
KWV Walker Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Sauvignon Blanc is a far better known grape – though one starting to fall out of fashion, perhaps, because so much of the stuff on the shelves is has such strident mouth-puckering gooseberry acidity.
This wine retains plenty of freshness, but it’s rounder, with hints of tangerine and passionfruit, and it went beautifully well with a Brazilian stew of monkfish, prawns, lime, coconut and chilli.
RRP £8.50, Morrison’s.
Mentors Petit Verdot 2014
Best known as a minor player in the range of grapes used to make red Bordeaux, petit verdot is being grown in other parts of the world to make single varietal wine.
This version from Stellenbosch will age well for at least another five years but is already lots of balance with notes of cherry and plum and a gentle spice alongside restrained tannins.
Alongside a glazed bacon joint with stewed red cabbage, it worked a treat.
RRP £14.99, Ocado and others.
Palmers London Dry Gin
Dry’s the word to concentrate on here – for this is a thoroughly refreshing tipple.
Though there’s plenty of juniper, an earthiness from angelica and hints of spice and citrus from cassia bark and grapefruit, the finish is crisp and enlivening.
A slice of lemon, a few chunks of ice and a glug or two of Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic made were all that were needed as I sipped a glass with a bowl of olives in the fleeting sunshine.
RRP £28.50, various outlets.