Burgers are the dish of choice in lockdown…—

The dish of choice in lockdown lately seems to be burgers. And with the weather starting to sizzle, I’ve even fired up my coal pot barbecue, which was a style of cooking Levi Roots introduced me to on a sunny day in Brixton a little while ago.

Simple, portable, made of clay it’s the best little bar-b in the world. And with burgers on the go, in the absence of a van, I’m ramping up the vin.

With burgers I love red wine with a bit of welly to stack up against the relishes and sauces. Grape varieties such as Shiraz and Zinfandel do the job nicely, but Italy is a great place for reds with tomato-friendly acidity.

I’ve found a stunner this week from Dudley-Jones Fine Wine that made my heart sing when I sipped it. With independent wine merchants like Davy’s flinging open the doors to their lists during lockdown, it’s a wonderful way of getting great wine delivered direct to your door that you may not always find on supermarket shelves.

Jascots are another good bet to check out along with Tanners, and I’ve been blown away lately by the wines of historic London merchants Berry Bros & Rudd – the Loire rosé I’ve picked out from their range this week is a timely reminder to seek cool pink splendour from beyond the usual heartland of Provence in the south.

My rule of thumb though when it comes to burgers is go for flavours that are vivid and fun. You really don’t need a wine that’s been laid down to evolve a massive savoury strata of intriguing depth for a dish you’ll like be eating with your hands outdoors.

All you really need is the portability of a coal pot, the informality of the occasion and the mellow magic of sinking your teeth into a juicy bun of brilliance.

OLLY’S PICK OF THE BUNCH

Chalk Duster Zinfandel 2018  (14%5) £7.50 Co-Op. Californian Zinfandel in its most fun informal incarnation here – expect sweet, soft, blueberry fruitiness and a red that’s bound to please a crowd when the burgers are flipping. Great value.

Sunnycliff Shiraz 2018 (13.5%) £8.60 Tanners-Wines.co.uk. This is the kind of wine that made me fall in love with wine in the first place. Charry and toasty aromas lead to a wonderful fulsome wine that’s full to burst with sleek peppery black fruit. Compelling and classy, at this price it’s the steal of the century.

Aglaea Nerello Mascalese 2019 Terre Siciliane  (13.5%) £13.99 Jascots. Black cherry meets blackberry with a rosehip-like herbal depth and balsamic richness. This is everything you want in a red wine – structure, class, polish, character and a total treat to lux out in lockdown with a burger.

Reuilly Rosé Les Chatillons Denis Jamain 2019 (12.5%) £15.95 BBR.com. Oozing with class, this pale rosé is juicy, fleshy and surges with fine flavours – everything from orange peel, strawberries and even a subtle scent of ginger. An irresistible eruption of summery splendour.

WINE OF THE WEEK

Rosso di Valtellina Alberto Marsetti 2018 (13.5%) £14.75 www.djfw.shop. Nebbiolo at is most accessible and scrumptious, known locally as Chiavennasca. Worth decanting this brilliant bottle to open the rose, cherry and almond aromas to the max. With crunchy cherry and sheer class, this is a red to rock your world.

 

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