Our top picks: July
Each month, we will be bringing you our top picks of seasonal ingredients, our wine recommendations and important dates for your calendar.
Wimbledon – 1st - 14th July
British hopes will no doubt be raised as often as the Champagne flutes at Wimbledon again this year. Tennis lovers are expected to consume around 29,000 bottles of the fizz over the two-week championships. For those in the know, Champagne AR Lenoble is the choice to enhance any social occasion. With the likes of Jancis Robinson and Steven Spurrier firm fans, this family-owned grower is unlikely to remain a secret for long. The Brut Intense Mag 14 is an innovative blend with some reserve wines having been kept in magnum for four years before ‘assemblage’ in 2014, hence the name. A great aperitif but of course, can also go well with strawberries!
World Chocolate Day – 7th July
Yes it’s decadent, admittedly it’s not the easiest wine match but no, we are not going to let World Chocolate Day go by without an acknowledgement! With dark chocolate like a torte or similar, a smooth red with good acidity would fit the bill to ‘temper’ (sorry) the bitterness. The silky ‘Chimichurri’ Tannat from our good friends Pisano in Uruguay would be a great option while a milk chocolate pudding, especially if it is presented in a dish with nuts or fruits, could be accompanied by a tawny Port or our amazing Mira la Mar Pedro Ximenez Sherry.
Of course with the Wimbledon fortnight at the start of the month, strawberries are front of mind but they are now coming into season as well, so what do we pair with them? Of course Champagne is the drink to be seen with strawberries and cream but a more patriotic choice might be our Bluebell Vineyards ‘Hindleap’ Rosé. Alternatively, a lighter sparkler like the Familia Schroeder Deseado can absolutely hit the mark. This is a traditional method wine made from 100% Torrontes with low alcohol and natural sweetness. It’s a proven crowd-pleaser and a real leftfield choice – it’s not every day you’re offered a Patagonian fizz!
Here are some of our more specific strawberry-related matches:
Feta & Strawberry Salad - It may seem like an unusual pairing, however the tangy, salty feta works well with the sweetness and acidity of strawberries. Throw together in a summer salad and serve with a glass of Domaine Amirault Anjou Blanc Chenin Blanc les Quarterons or for something further afield try Laibach's Chenin Blanc.
Strawberries & Black Pepper - Enjoy with a glass of Tierra de Los Santos Garnacha Extremadura or serve it like they do in Bordeaux. Slice strawberries into a red wine glass and top with a great Bordeaux, like our Chateau Le Breton.
Pavlova - The dispute over the origins of the Pavlova has perhaps been Australia and New Zealand's longest-running feud. Wherever the cloud like dessert originates, serve it with lashings of whipped cream, a pile of strawberries, and a glass of Late Harvest Riesling from Pauletts from our Australian friends or if you're teaming with New Zealand, Wairau River Botrytised Riesling is the wine for you!
National Cherry Day – 16th July
Not many dishes are as synonymous with cherries as everyone’s favourite retro classic, the Black Forest Gateaux. Try matching this with Buscareto’s Lacrima di Morro D`Alba Passito. Lacrima Nera (Black Tear) is a variety of red grape typical of the area which encircles the town of Morro d'Alba. The name Lacrima comes from the red tears of juice that run from the fully ripened grapes but could equally refer to the dark juice of the black cherry.
If you are looking for a wine that actually tastes like cherries the Juliénas ‘Probus’ 2015, from Pascal Aufranc would fit the bill with its classic cru Beajolais characteristics.
Finally, looking at it from another perspective, there are numerous vineyard areas, which exist alongside or have historic links to cherry growing, be it Chile, Patagonia or Central Otago. Why not try one of Mt Difficulty’s excellent Pinot Noirs such as the Estate Bannockburn which helped put Central Otago on the wine producing map.