Summer is not officially over; you still have time to make the most of the good weather and enjoy a long lunch al fresco. What’s on the menu? Anything goes with a great ambience! A bottle of bubbly for a refreshing start, then on to wines that perfectly pair with any summer dish fresh from the sea or hot off the grill. From Crémant du Jura to Crémant de Savoie; from delicious whites to light reds; from the Loire Valley to Beaujolais and Mâcon; and from a whole gamut of sweet and dessert wines; we’ve certainly got you covered for all of your sunny afternoons.
Summertime lunches – full of sand on the beach, in the shade in your garden, or on a sunny balcony, time spent outside is what summer is all about. Upgrade your picnic with a pretty blanket and basket brimming with deliciousness, then just add a beautiful view!
To get the most out of what’s left of summer, here’s what we recommend:
For Your Aperitif: Mediterranean Tapas with a Refreshing Fizz
There are few things more pleasurable than quenching your thirst with an excellent sparkling wine. Finger food always goes down well, but a selection of Mediterranean tapas will take your apéro to the next level. Thin slices of Pata Negra or Jamon Ibérico interspersed with shavings of Parmesan … straight away you can almost feel the heat of the Mediterranean sun beating down on you. Lighter, but equally delicious are grilled artichoke, sundried tomato with goat’s cheese, prawn and avocado cocktails. If that hasn’t whetted your appetite, these delectable sparkling wines surely will. At iDealwine, we have selected some light Crémants that will be sure to please your guests. Head for the Loire Valley with a sip of the Cuvée Bubulle from Lise and Bertrand Jousset. In the Jura region, the Cuvée Rot’Fall’R from Anne and Jean-François Ganevat is a Pét’ Nat (natural sparkling wine) made from Riesling. It’s as unexpected as it is delicious. In the alpine Savoie region, we recommend the Cuvée Ayse Les Perles du Mont Blanc from the Domaine Belluard, a wine that has both complexity and minerality. But let’s not dwell too much on the aperitif, even if the days are long! Time for the main event…
Let’s go with a cold starter – easy but delicious – it is summer after all. If you are on the coast, this is a great time to cook some fish or seafood. How about serving your guests a zesty cod tartare? For this slightly acidic fish dish with very fresh aromas, Loire Valley whites are ideal (Sauvignon, Melon de Bourgogne, Chenin). Try a Muscadet (Vouvray or Montlouis), a Saumur, a Sancerre or a Pouilly-Fumé and you won’t go wrong. For fans of pan-fried scallops, they will also go wonderfully with Muscadet, try Domaine Pierre Luneau-Papin or Domaine de l’Ecu. For summer dining, rosé is a must and we have selected quite a number at iDealwine: no surprises here, we’re looking at the South of France, specifically in the Languedoc or in Provence (We were delighted to recently host a summer-themed Instagram Live with Château des Garcinières). Corsican rosés also have their part to play, and Clos Canarelli and Jean-François Renucci are game.
With the barbecue fired up, make room on your plates! The official rule is: the more you grill, the longer the summer will last … Kebabs, red meat or white meat served with grilled vegetables or a delicious summer vegetable tart (we love a colourful Provençal Tian), the possibilities are endless. With white meats, you could serve light red wines, for example a Brouilly, a Fleurie, a Trousseau du Jura, a Gamay de Touraine, or a Pinot Noir. A white would also work of course, but one that’s not too lively, rather a fleshy, aromatic, smooth white wine. A Provencal wine such as Henri Milan or Clos Cibonne will please a crowd. For beef or lamb, opt for red but keep it fairly light and aromatic. Beaujolais is the promised land here, with a wide choice of domains: one of our favourites remains Domaine Thillardon, run by two brothers as ambitious as they are jovial. A little further down, the Rhône Valley always goes down a treat with appellations such as Vacqueyras or Tavel. Serving sauces and condiments with meats can be a game-changer: so, as a rule, keep them light. Don’t worry, you can also choose rosé can for your main course. The phrase « rosé just pairs so well with summer » springs to mind!
If you are doing a cheese course, we advise you to go with a light Pinot Noir again. There are so many gems in the Côte Chalonnaise, which generally offers better value than its neighbours in the Côte de Beaune or Côte de Nuits. In Givry, Domaine de la Ferté will work well, especially the fruity and lightly tannic Cuvée Clos de Mortières. In Mercurey, did you know that Maison Bichot was the once owner of Domaine Adélie? In the Jura region, Château d’Arlay also has great wines to pair with cheese, as does Catherine and Pierre Breton with the La Trinch, a wine that is both complex and moreish. Not forgetting white wine, which pairs wonderfully with many (especially goat’s) cheeses: Montlouis, Sancerre, and Pouilly-Fumé deliver on all cheese promises.
If you have room for dessert – you will have no trouble pairing with Alsatian dessert wines such as the vendages tardives (late harvest) Pinot Gris from Zind-Humbrecht or the famous Domaine Marcel Deiss with a lovely fruit-based dessert. The sweet Vouvray Clos Naudin is also a great solution, unless you are tempted to bring the bubbles out again!
Cheers to a great summer lunch!