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Barbecue Reds
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Barbecue Reds

Summer soirées don't always have to be about whites and rosés, Christina Albon suggests red wines make a great addition and often provide that crucial drinkability factor, especially when served with food.

As the weather warms and the rains (hopefully) abate, one starts to imagine evenings and weekends (with a bank holiday or two thrown in) in the garden cooking over charcoal, or gas if that's your bag. We could suggest the perfect pairings for your butterflied leg of lamb, rare ribeyes with Chimichurri, or garlic and chilli prawns, however these are social occasions where we need a bottle to satisfy a crowd, something that shines and gets the conversation flowing.

Lighter reds with lower tannins are ideal for the daytime, and often work well slightly chilled too - fruity, fragrant Loire Cabernet Franc is ideal. More perfumed and fresher than its descendants, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines from this variety are packed full of summer fruits. Chateau de la Roulerie is a great, small domaine run by Philippe and Marie Germain, who promote freshness and elegance in their Anjou Cabernet Franc. Moving over to Italy, accomplished winemaker Oronzo Alo starred his winery in Basilicata on the slopes of extinct volcano, Monte Vulture in 2003. His Terra degli Eventi is made from one of southern Italy's indigenous varieties, Aglianico, which is excellent with lamb. Juicer and richer than the Anjou, this will undoubtedly appeal to the masses and the 25% Sangiovese in the blend lightens the body just enough to savour it in the sunshine.

Heartier reds can also be appreciated with the smoky depth of barbecued fare. Situated in Stellenbosch's Devon Valley, Clos Malverne is a beautiful 27-hectare property, their hand-picked Basket Press Merlot would make an ideal accompaniment to the aforementioned ribeye steak. Finally, we must mention the Aussies who are renowned for firing up the barbie, where no gathering would be complete without a bottle of GSM. Our pick is from Grounded Cru, which was set up by the suitably Aussie named Jacko and Joffa, theirs is from the slightly cooler McLaren Vale fruit, which adds a nice floral hint.



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