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Jane Clare: Put some fizz in your weekend, whatever the weather

No better excuse is needed to enjoy your favourite vintage than a bank holiday weekend - and the start of  National Barbecue Week

Jane Clare
Jane Clare

I’ve checked the weather forecast and it looks like some rain, some wind and some sun. Typical Bank Holiday weather. But rain or shine,  I bet some of you can’t resist having the first barbecue of the year this weekend.

And why not – after all, it is the start of the 17th National Barbecue Week on Monday.

In the crisp air of a chilly dusk last week, I joined friends and family huddled round a greedy outdoor wood brazier as dusk fell.

The stove wasn’t the only greedy one – we barbecued  pork, leek and apple sausages, pinky prawns spliced between slithers of peppers and yes,   burgers. Home-made with lamb mince, onion and chilli flakes. Oh go on, extra chilli.

As girlies, rosé  took centre stage. We began the evening with a glass of Taittinger Prestige Rosé NV , (RRP £47, Waitrose, Majestic, Wine Rack, John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason). Well, when I say “we” I mean those of us not scouring the ground to throw wood on the fire. Spring and summer 2013 began at that moment.

A traditional blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier, this is a crisp, red-fruit packed treat, with a fizz that prickles and teases with elegant aromas.

Villa Maria Private Bin Rosé 2012 , (RRP £9.99, Tesco, Majestic, Wine Rack) is a blend of merlot, viognier, pinot gris, gewurtztraminer, and malbec, proportionately in that order. Its aromas were a squish of very ripe strawberries, with some stone fruit too. A refreshing dryness to taste, packed with red fruits. Pinky perkiness with the prawns.

I wasn’t sure if our only white Zalze Chenin Blanc 2012 , (RRP £7.99, Waitrose, Ocado) would be able to hold its own with the sausages, but it just about stood its ground. It wasn’t a hands-on-hips stance, but its aromas and taste of crisp pear and  pineapple,  flattered the  green apple  and sweet leeks in the sausages.

Meanwhile ... I’ve already mentioned one sparkler, but here’s a deal you might not want to miss. 

The Co-operative’s own-brand vintage Champagne,  Les Pionniers Vintage 2004 Champagne has scooped its second major accolade in a week after winning Gold at the Decanter World Wine Awards. It  also struck Gold at the International Wine Challenge 2013, beating  top brands in the process.

Named after its Rochdale founders, it is made at Piper Heidsieck. To celebrate, the Co-op has put the fizz on promotion at £23.99 (from £26.99) while stocks last. You won’t be disappointed.

Finally …. today sees the start of both English Wine Week and Welsh Wine Week,  which run until next Sunday, June 2.   

There’s events across  English and Welsh vineyards and merchants so if you’re out and about this long weekend, you can discover more by visiting www.englishwineproducers.co.uk or www.facebook.com/winetrailwales.

Both events can be followed on Twitter @WinetrailWales or use the hashtag #EnglishWineWeek


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