Mike Tipping ponders the effects of heat on wine

Mike Tipping

Mike Tipping

First published in What's On by

Which wine should you serve when things start getting hot? Now there’s an ambiguous question if ever I posed one.

If I were referring to the weather, then I could trot out all the usual advice. About the versatility of rosé. The refreshing qualities of crisp, dry whites to go with salads. And all those chillable reds, such as Beaujolais, pinot noir, tarrango and so on. They are all pukka picks for summer.

Or if the heat pertains to the food, what wines go best with spicy dishes and curry? This depends on the main constituent of the meal but, as a rule, I always look for a little sweetness to temper the heat in the food. Off-dry aromatic whites, rosé (it’s very versatile, you see) and fruit-forward, almost jammy New World reds work best.

There again, “getting hot” could equally well refer to a loving couple. So what wine would be good for two to share over a romantic meal?

For an economical, crisp, dry, quaffer, that would be super with salad, look no further than Cuvée de Richard Blanc 2010. It is bottled Gascony sunshine, with clean, thirst-slaking flavours of grapefruit, lemon and pineapple. It’s made from colombard and ugni blanc, boosted by the addition of a little sauvignon blanc.

I don’t often recommend big brand name wines, but Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Rosé 2010 is good at the price, and widely available. Crunchy with up-front aromas and flavours of strawberry, cherry and raspberry, it has white pepper notes on the finish. Buy for a picnic or to take the sting out of a chicken biryani.

If things start heating up in a romantic way, then serve a Kiwi pinot noir with the tray-bake salmon dinner that you have prepared for your partner.

The aptly named Wild Rock Cupid’s Arrow Pinot Noir 2008, from New Zealand’s Central Otago region, is a capable example. Velvety textured, it has flavours of cherry, strawberry, rosehip, cinnamon, clove and a good acidity, that will help it work really well with the food.

• Cuvée de Richard Blanc 2010, £4.79 at Majestic 17/20.

• Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Rosé 2010, £7.49 at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose 17/20.

• Wild Rock Cupid’s Arrow Pinot Noir 2008, £10.99 from Bon Coeur Fine Wines (bcfw.co.uk) 17/20.

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