From rich whites to robust rosés and spicy reds, when it comes to your barbecue, pick throttle bottles to pair with perfect sumptuousness to stand up to smoke, salad dressings and marinades. And for the last of the warm weather, stretch out the day by embracing the brilliance of a booze-free option that’s tastier than the plumpest strawberry.
For years I’ve been building my own barbecues from a few bricks and an old grill. Always worked a charm. But then Levi Roots showed me his St Lucian coal pot and I was hooked. Small enough to fit on the table, generous to cater for all – and a portable fireplace to extend the evening, I love mine. And with all the bold flavours that come with barbecuing food, pick wines that are large on character and you can’t go wrong. Relishes that are heavy on sweetness can make red taste bitter so I’m recommending bottles that are packed with ripe resonance. No point splashing out on wines with so much body you have to chew on them for a week, or so oaky they smell like sawdust splashed with vanilla essence, go for vivacity and value. A light chilled chilled red Beaujolais is a decent option, or the ubiquitous rosé is, I admit, irresistible. My top choice for a treat this summer is MIP Rosé 2019 (12.5%) which is £14.95 from leaandsandeman.co.uk for its lush refreshment. Or dive into La Petite Laurette 2019 (13%) which is in the Co-Op for £8 and served in a bottle that looks as elegant as it tastes. And if it’s beer you’re after, there is nothing finer in Britain at the moment than Burning Sky – head to burningskybeer.com and order a case of their Tail Crush Table Beer with just 3% alcohol and heroic levels of quenching zing. If they’re out of stock, choose Arise (4.4%). And beyond wine or beer, booze-free has never been so brilliant when it comes to Fortnum’s Sparkling Tea – I’m amazed and enthralled by how much I adore it. Whatever you decide to pour, keep an ice bucket on standby and don’t be afraid to stick wines of all colours in the fridge for twenty minutes to keep their flavours focused and fulsome to weave around the bold beauty of your barbecue.
OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH
The Best Pecorino 2019 (13%) Morrisons £6.75. Sharp and bright as lemon carved from a diamond. Incredible value to match with salads and shellfish on the barbecue.
Elegant Frog Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 (13.5%) £8 Sainsbury’s. Great wine and at this price a steal to pair with steaks. Bold, beautiful and downright delicious. Stack your basket.
Pinot Bianco Kellerei Kurtatsch 2019 (13.5%) £14.65 hhandc.co.uk. Pristine and fresh as a sunbeam on a mountain meadow, this is next level vino and totally worth splashing out.
Fortnum’s Rosé Sparkling Tea (0%) £16.95 fortnumandmason.com. A sparkling non-alcoholic treat with soaring deliciousness to defy all expectations. Buy it for its brilliance.
WINE OF THE WEEK
Domaine Gayda ‘En Passant Rouge’ 2019 (13.5%) £9.99 mix six, Majestic. The best barbecue all-round bottle, soft lush and packed with scrumptious fruit, this can handle everything from burgers to bangers and beyond.
For Olly’s previous recommendations and Mail on Sunday EVENT columns, visit here.