I am pretty sure this time last year we were competing to find the most refreshing white for a heat wave... what a difference a year makes eh?
First up came that classic summer quaffer – a Barolo! This is the Lidl Barolo 2016, Piedmont, Italy and, as they cunningly place the wine by the line for the till, it enticed the buyer queuing to give it a go. Now this is seriously cheap for a Barolo, even by Lidl’s standards so it was quite a daring act to take it for a test drive, baring in mind the Nebbiolo grape is renowned for its fearsome tannins and high acid. The wine was considerably lighter than most Barolo but perfectly drinkable. More akin to a Langhe Nebbiolo than a Barolo but for a 'summer' evening it is actually working well. It would go down even better with a steak and blue cheese sandwich. Lidl £11.99
I had a wine very similar in style to a Barolo but actually hailing from Greece, the Ktima Foundi Xinomavro 2016, Naoussa. Xinomavro, like Nebbiolo has incredibly firm, grippy tannins and a very high acidity and can often require a fair few years and some hearty meat dishes to soften. This wine boasted a beautiful nose of sour cherries and briar fruit while the palate revealed wild herbs, dark wet earth, rose petals, sundried tomatoes and cherry, all entrapped within a firm cage of rather unrelenting tannins. This wine has class but was quite challenging on its own and most definitely needed food to release those wonderful aromatics from their tannic cage. This is a serious wine for the money and shouldn’t be underestimated, it deserves some respect! The Wine Society £14.50
Looking for a new ‘house’ Crozes-Hermitage they found the Emmanuel Darnaud ‘Les Trois Chenes’ Crozes-Hermitage 2018, Rhone Valley, France. Still quite tight and closed it has dark blackberries, inky purple fruit and a subtle note of mint and black pepper. Fairly punchy alcohol at 14% it could have done with double decanting but three days later (!!) it was beginning to blossom. One they would buy again but they would open well in advance and double decant. 21 swiss francs
The only person to brave a white wine on yet another cold and rainy day, the Luke Lambert Yarra Valley Chardonnay, 2018, Australia is a minimal intervention wine made using very old barrels, it is unfiltered and unfined. At first there was a tart greenness but it swiftly opened up to reveal white peach and a lemon freshness, the complexity really begins to build and a mouth-filling richness develops as the wine begins to warm up. Utterly beautiful, would certainly age well but pretty irresistible as it is. D’Vine Cellars £28