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Wine O'Clock on Domaine de Montine, Franschhoek, Moulin-a-Vent and other summer sippers

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Hello. I’ve been making the most of the good weather to do some alfresco sampling – or drinking in the garden as my wife insists on calling it.

Summer’s a joyous season for wine and while a cheeky sip of Sauvignon or a flute of fizz can be bliss, let me introduce you to some less well-known diversions that will make the long summer evenings fly by…

First up, a Viognier, the Domaine de Montine (The Wine Society £11.95). Over the years I’ve had a lot of Viognier, wines that have ranged from the delicate and refined, to ones you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. The Montine holds a line somewhere in the middle.


It’s floral, peachy nose, gives way to ripe, fruit-laden palate that’s packed with apricots, and honeydew melon, only to finish with a weighty note of dried pears and citrus. Great on its own, with barbecued seafood this would be amazing.

Next up, a cracking South African Chenin, the Franschhoek Cellar La Cotte Mill (£11.30 Turton Wines). South African Chenin’s a much-overlooked wine, and this is one of the best I’ve had in ages.

Pale green gold, the nose is a fresh, zingy combination of pears, melon, with a hint of pepper. In the mouth it's wonderfully refreshing with barrel loads of apple and pear fruit, with a splash of almond bitterness and honey adding depth and interest.


Summer and Semillon go together like love and marriage, Tom Waits on CD, and a good night in, perhaps that’s just me? Anyway, open a bottle of the Wine Society’s Hunter Valley Semillon (£8.95), put the salmon under the grill, bake some new potatoes and voila, summer is served.

Australia’s Hunter Valley wines are legendary. In youth they are vibrant, pear, grape, and citrus affairs but with age they become honeyed, rich, and nutty. This is just lovely now, but don’t buy a bottle. Buy at least two, one simply isn’t enough.

I’ve raved about Grenache rosés in the past, but I don’t think I’ve recommended a South African. Well, let’s put that oversight to rights. Try the Wild Child 2021 from Journey’s End (£13.50 Noble Green) it’s great.

Oh, you want notes don’t you, ah, my mistake. This pretty in pink wine has a ripe, red berry nose of dried strawberries and citrus. The palate is broad, rich, and unusually mouth filling for a rosé. There’s real concentration of red berry fruits and just a suggestion of sweetness, but this is kept in check by a spritzy acidity. This is a big wine that will leave a big smile on your face.

And finally, a serious red to finish, the Chateau des Jacques Moulin-a-Vent 2019 (Sainsbury’s £21). What a wine! On opening it offers refined red and black berries, plums, and cherries that are classic Burgundy.

Leave it open for an hour and it becomes rich and decadent, with big prune and black cherry notes coming through, all kept in perfect balance by the clean raspberry acidity. This has to be the best Beaujolais I’ve had this year and trust me; I make it my business to taste a LOT of Beaujolais.

More soon…

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