Top wines for summertime

THE sommelier at Le Di-Vin Wine Bar in Edinburgh’s west end has shared his top picks for summer with SLTN.

Luke Richardson is the sommelier at Le Di-Vin in Edinburgh.

Luke Richardson, whose career includes stints at The Dorchester in London, The Three Chimneys on Skye and Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh, selected his favourite varietals on Le Di-Vin’s new wine list, which launched this month.

“[In] summertime, I tend to prefer lighter and more aromatic white wines,” explained Richardson.

“I have just listed a delicious Vinho Verde 2017 from Marques de Lara in Northern Portugal; based on the Loureiro grape, with a smattering of Avesso and Arinto, it’s a slightly spritzy, zingy, fresh and floral style of wine with light stone fruit and lime-backed acidity on the finish. Great on its own or amazing with oysters, or shellfish in general.”

Richardson said he is also a big fan of the Godello grape variety.

“Sometimes it can be a little grassy and often a bit thin, but I’ve found one from Pazo das Tapias in Monterrei – literally just over the border and into Spain,” he said.

“The vineyards are beside a river, the Rio Tamega, and this keeps the grapes a little cooler and they can harvest a little later (and riper) than usual.

“The resulting wine is round and generous, with lovely apricot and peach flavours, backed up by a bright grapefruit-like acidity – almost like a Viognier crossed with an Albarino.”

Richardson reckons it is “more of a slow sipper”, which would pair well with richer seafood dishes, such as Bourride or Paella.

In terms of reds, the go-to for Richardson is a Biferno Rosso Riserva 2012 from Palladino in Molise, Italy – a region which he reckons is “somewhat overlooked in favour of its neighbour to the north, Abruzzo of the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo grape fame.

This wine, which he said is one third Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, one third Aglianico, and one third of white grape variety, Trebbiano, “is at its best now, with lots of morello cherry flavours on a medium body that has light hints of chocolate on the finish”.

“We recommend it with our mixed cheese and charcuterie boards,” he said.

For those looking for something a bit more “serious”, Richardson has discovered an old vine Grenache and Syrah blend from the Roussillon – Les Terrasses, Regis Boucabeille, cotes du Roussillon Villages 2016.

“This is a bit of a monster,” admitted Richardson. “Inky black and purple coloured, this blend of equal parts old vine Grenache (averaging 60 years old) and Syrah takes a bit of a kick-start to show its fruit, but when it does it’s worth the wait; long and rich, if not that fruity, this is a savoury style of wine.

“I’d throw it at your best lamb. It also works well with steak, hard cheeses and cured meats, such as Coppa.”