With the promise of heatwaves on the horizon, and certain sporting events well underway, summer social season is on full swing.
And to help things along, we’ve rounded up the best liquid refreshment for al fresco drinks, parties in front of a big screen, or simply to chime with brunch and your summer playlist…
1. DE14 Flight Suit Orange Pale Ale and DE14 End Point The IPA (£1.75 each, Morrisons)
Everybody loves the sunshine and if you’re heading to the park, these funky cans, brewed in Burton on Trent, deserve a place in your cooler box. Cited as a brewer’s playground, Burton’s hop heads swear by the local water which shapes the flavour of the beer.
A new release from DE14 nano-brewery, both ‘zing with orange flavours but in very different styles’. Flight Suit has heady marmalade aromas with punchy zesty citrus flavours, while End Point (one of the first beers rolled out of DE14) has a hop forward character and makes for a ‘modern take on the historic Burton IPA’.
2. Tempted Irish Cider Range (from £2.99 each or £16.64 for case of 6, Amazon)
Jazzing up the cider category, Tempted Cider’s award-winning range lists nearly 30 accolades, including a trophy at the International Cider Challenge 2018 for their Tempted Dry. Today, the most awarded cider in Ireland has five styles in the range and along with Dry (light and fruity with refreshing crisp acidity), favourites include Tempted Elderflower, which marries juicy red apple with fresh elderflower blossom for a delicately sweet cider.
3. M&S 9.5% Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Marlborough, New Zealand (£11, Marks & Spencer, in store only)
Displaying all the expressive tropical and citrusy aromas and flavours we love in a New Zealand sauvignon blanc – but with a lighter palate and naturally lower abv – this is a crowd-pleaser without the need for complex layers. Even better, you can add a splash of soda water and cube of good quality ice to create a mouth-watering white wine spritzer that won’t be drowned out by a lack of fruit or aromatics. Impressively refreshing for long, lazy lunches.
4. La Terrasse Rosé Pays d’Oc, 2017, France (currently reduced to £8.50 from £10, Sainsbury’s)
A delicious invitation to step outside, this is the pink to sink on a sun-drenched terrace. Not only does the label bring the promise of something special (think garden party chic), but the sheer brilliance of the ballet-slipper pink and trendy glass stopper hints at something far more pricey. Utterly delicious, with summer berries on the nose and luscious red fruits backed by fresh acidity, the silky texture of the rosé shows real poise.
5. Flor De San Martin Garnacha Blanca 2017, Navarra, Spain (£8.99, or £7.49 when you mix 12 or more, Laithwaites.co.uk)
This is a great example of how the garnacha blanca grape can make seemingly simple food – such as chicken satay skewers, spicy prawns from the deli shelf, dips and mixed bean salads – taste seriously good. Known for its core green flavours, the seductive scents of citrus fruits, herbs and blossom echo the floral label with crisp apple, juicy pear and peach flavours, accents of dried herbs with a fresh, saline finish. Really expressive and food-friendly.
6. Waitrose Romanian Pinot Noir 2016, Romania (£5.99, Waitrose)
A warm-weather red that’s ideal for chilling, pinot noir is the perfect variety to pop in the fridge for half an hour before serving. And if you’re hosting a summer party, you can’t beat the price. Highly drinkable, with juicy red berries aplenty, it’s a balanced mix of cranberry and berry fruits, with some earthiness and a slightly savoury finish that lingers nicely.
7. Santa Rita 120 Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2017, Aconcagua Valley, Chile (£8.99, Ocado)
With the World Cup hotting up and footie fans going wild for the England squad, Santa Rita – Arsenal’s official wine partner – makes a fitting choice for the BBQ king. At the top of their pinot game, this little cracker from Chile can also be served lightly chilled to hone in the plummy, wild berry and cherry flavours and tone down the toasty characters. With well balanced acidity, hints of black olives and spice support the lasting flavours.
8. Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane 2017, Italy (£7.99 for a 1.5L magnum, Lidl, in store only)
You could be thinking the price sounds too good to be true – but this impressive wine more than delivers and its drinking appeal is endorsed by Lidl’s wine consultant and Master of Wine, Richard Bampfield, who says: “This wine has warming aromas and is perfect for barbecues. It’s juicy, with ripe fruit flavours and in a magnum it’s distinctly different. Pair with lamb burgers, spicy aubergine wedges or hard pecorino cheese!” Ditto.
9. Cotes Du Rhone Village 2017 Pouch, France (£17 for 1.5L, Marks & Spencer, in store only)
A top scoring carryall, if you feel the urge to pull yourself away from a corkscrew and serve a wine on tap, we love this posh pouch. Generous and delicious from the word go, its smooth and fruity with lots of lovely crushed blackberry fruit aromas, dark cherry and plummy fruits, entwined with spice and a bright juicy finish. Equivalent to two bottles, it stays fresh for a month and you can always save it for mid-week sipping with just the right measure to partner a scrummy sausage roll or chunk of hard cheese.