Curious Case July 2022 - Summertime when the Livin’ is Easy


Summer drinking is the theme this month and for July we’ve picked two reds, whites and rosés all of which are ideal for packing in the picnic basket, or relaxing with in the back garden on a sunny weekend. They’re all what we’d call ‘easy drinking’, by no means simple gluggers; there’s plenty going on, which really suit sitting back and relaxing with.

Both the reds will be at their best slightly chilled (a half hour in the fridge would do the job) and the whites and rosés, naturally, should be nice and cool. Our first stop is in Alsace, eastern France, which is mainly white wine country, but here we’ve picked a red made from Pinot Noir which is now very successful in this dry, sunny, but cooler wine growing region. By way of contrast the second red comes from Sicily (definitely not cool climate) but this organic Nero d’Avola, while being full of fruit is light and fresh in the mouth and makes a lovely summery red.

For the rosés we start in fashionable Provence and have picked a recent addition to our list. Quite simply, it’s quintessentially Provençal, fresh, clean and dry with a subtle strawberry character and is proving to be one of our best sellers of the summer. The second is still in the light and fresh camp but nice and juicy with it and this one comes from the Helderberg area of South Africa overlooking False Bay.

For the whites we’ve got a transatlantic pair, the first a super Sauvignon Blanc from the France’s upper Loire. It comes from a very well-known appellation of which we’ll leave you to make a guess. The other is a fruity and bright blend of 3 grapes and is made by one of California’s leading Biodynamic vineyards. It’s got a lovely balance and maybe just a bit more weight.

That’s our July selection then. We hope the weather lives up to expectations for the time of year because if it does these will be the perfect wines to enjoy with it.

Bonny Doon 'Le Cigare Blanc', Central Coast 2020

In a nutshell: Fresh, lively, dry Southern Rhône-style white from the iconic Californian Winery Bonny Doon.

The lowdown: Bonny Doon and its founder, the renowned winemaker Randall Grahm, are synonymous with showcasing the best of the French Rhône Valley in California; they are true pioneers of using these varieties in the Central Coast region. Respect of the soils and the environment is paramount and Bonny Doon work with biodynamics and a hands-off approach to produce the best possible fruit typical of the vineyard and vintage. Le Cigare Blanc is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and Clairette that all work together harmoniously resulting in a fresh and vibrant wine with a rounded mouthfeel and medium weight. The Vermentino really shines through with notes of citrussy lime and tropical mango and pineapple with fresh pine and minerally wet stone touches. The Grenache Blanc brings weight and the roundness while the Clairette helps balance everything out adds a lovely length.

When to drink:A perfect seafood accompaniment, particularly weight fish, asparagus or other grilled vegetables.

Suitable for Vegans, Biodynamic

Pouilly-Fume 'Le Chant des Vignes', Joseph Mellot 2020

In a nutshell: A classic fresh and zesty Pouilly-Fumé with exotic fruits, grapefruit aromas and flinty minerality.

The lowdown: This is the very essence of a how the French make Sauvignon Blanc in one of its traditional homelands alongside the Loire. Fermented at a controlled cool temperature to allow the full, fresh expression of the flavours. Along with the zingy fruitiness and characteristic gunflint aroma it has a fresh, tropical fruit flavoured palate and an exceptional and very rewarding length in the mouth.

When to drink: A consummately stylish Loire Sauvignon Blanc, it's good with grilled sea bass or fish pie works well or even mildly spicy dishes.

Suitable for Vegetarians

Journey's End Wild Child Grenache Rose 2021

In a nutshell: Juicy, dry and fresh South African rosé from the windy Cape coast.

The lowdown: Head south from the town of Stellenbosch itself towards the South Atlantic and False Bay and you hit the Helderberg sub-region, a range of hills that then drop down to the plains and the ocean. Here a handful of Stellenbosch's best wineries sit including Journey's End. The strong Cape Doctor wind that blows in off False Bay races up to the Helderberg allowing the grapes here to have great natural acidity, crucial for a super refreshing rosé like the Wild Child. Made entirely from dry-farmed Grenache grown on north facing shale slopes and picked when the sugars were low this is a refreshing, delicate and juicy rosé. Salmon pink in colour with strawberry, rose petal and orange blossom aromas lead onto a dry and rounded palate with crisp acidity.

When to drink: Great on its own but would go well with salads and light lunches of charcuterie and cheese.

Chateau L'Escarelle 'Les Deux Anges' Rose, Provence 2021

In a nutshell: A highly accomplished organic, fresh and crisp Provençal rosé.

The lowdown: The certified organic vineyards of Chateau de l'Eecarelle sit within 1000ha of forest at 500m above sea level, hugging the slopes of the Montagne de La Loube, and have been awarded France's highest environmental certificate, the Haute Valeur Environnementale. This commitment to sustainability and the environment comes through to produce healthy soils, healthy vines, good grapes and good wines! Hand harvested and then sorted twice before fermentation. A classically dry, subtle and elegant rosé with wild strawberry and citrus notes on the nose, leading onto a soft palate with a nice weight, good depth, and notes of mango and pomelo fruit. The finish is long and clean.

When to drink: A very well made, textbook Provençal rosé that is perfect as an aperitif, or try with grilled fish or vegetables.

Suitable for Vegans, Organic

Turckheim Alsace Pinot Noir 2021

In a nutshell: An organic Pinot Noir from Alsace in eastern France.

The lowdown: Textbook Pinot Noir of the light, fresh and fruity kind. It's pure, fresh, characterful and lush with classic varietal raspberry fruit and crunchy acidity on the finish. Sweet, primary fruit dominates now but the more gamey, complex characters of Pinot Noir will develop with age.

When to drink: Grilled fish, free-range pork sausages, charcuterie, wild mushroom linguine are good food matches.

Suitable for Vegans, Organic

Baglio Antico Nero d'Avola 2020

In a nutshell: A lively, minerally, fresh and juicy Sicilian Nero d'Avola

The lowdown: Forget big, dark, rich southern Italian fruit bombs this has lots of clean red and dark fruits with plenty of acidity that gets the mouth watering. It has been made by natural fermentation without the addition of yeasts and this spontaneity and unpredictability has followed through onto the wine. A refreshing change to convention.

When to drink: Very slighty chilled is the best way to serve this and it's a very versatile food partner.


Curious Case July 2022 - Summertime when the Livin’ is Easy