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Wine & food matching BBQ special: By Lauren Hodgkins, Assistant Manager of Majestic Wine Gloucester

Ah, British summers. The merest hint of blue sky and we’re out there in last year’s shorts, pasty legs on show, clutching a piece of patio furniture and exclaiming ‘looks like barbeque weather to me!’

The thrill of al fresco dining just never seems to diminish. So why not make the most of the summer sunshine by popping down to your local Majestic to snap up some tasty tipples to pair up with your Great British BBQ this summer?

Rioja Rosado 2010, Muga
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
OlivesStart by firing up the coals with a chilled glass of rosé in hand, like this deliciously inviting Rioja Rosado Muga 2010. The nose has soft cherries and wild strawberries, then clean yet complex summer fruit flavours and sweet spice and clove hints. Just the ticket with some olives, foccacia and an olive oil and balsamic dip.

Castillo Establés Gran Reserva 2004, La Mancha
£7.49 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles
This great-value alternative to Rioja is made from 100% Tempranillo and aged for 30 months in American oak. The result is a rich, multilayered bouquet of red cherries, blackberries and vanilla. In the mouth, the texture is smooth as silk, with rich, subtly spiced fruitcake flavours and hints of leather ahead of the lingering finish. Drink with gently spiced Moroccan lamb kebabs served with tzatziki in warm pitta bread.

Vega de la Reina Verdejo 2008/09, Marqués de la Concordia, Rueda
£7.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Verdejo is often called the Spanish Sauvignon Blanc and this zesty, lively, lightly aromatic number shows why. The nose is awash with citrus and freshly mown grass, while the palate has white peach, melon and rose petal flavours, crisp acidity and surprising length. The dream partner for a cous cous salad with sun-roasted tomatoes, pine nuts, a sprinkle of fresh coriander and a good squeeze of lime.

Chablis 2009, Jean Bourguignon
£9.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles
There’s only one thing better than a crisp, steely Chablis on a hot summer’s day. And that’s matching that Chablis with a deliciously earthy piece of organic salmon, wrapped in foil with a big squeeze of lemon and a handful of dill, and cooked on the BBQ. Try it yourself with this textbook Chablis: a snip at £8.99.

Riesling Kabinett Trocken 2008, Prinz von Hessen
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
This vibrant, fruity beauty is a must for the summer. Delicate yet distinguished gooseberry and apple-blossom aromas lead to a tangy palate of grapefruit, lime and white peach. Try with fresh mackerel, cooked whole and served with a gooseberry preserve – the wine’s crisp acidity will cut through the oily fish, which in turn will open up its gentle aromatics.

Côtes-du-Rhône Saint-Esprit 2008/09, Delas-Frères
£8.99 or £7.49 when you buy 2 bottles
This full-bodied, seriously savoury Grenache/Syrah blend offers soft red fruits against a backbone of black pepper, spice and earthy umami. It’s a combination that matches up beautifully with a sturdy lamb steak, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary and black pepper, then seared to perfection.

Château La Rose Chatain 2007, Lalande-de-Pomerol
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
As the sun finally sets in the west, maybe it’s time to retire inside and finish the evening in style. A traditional cheese board with some good mature cheddar, a wedge of Stilton and a few choice crackers served with this lovely Pomerol should do the job. The firm yet mellow tannins will be a delight with the cheese as you sit back and reflect on all the perfectly matched flavours of a long and hazy summer’s day.

Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay 2009, Sonoma Coast
£15.99 or £10.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Packed with tropical fruits and drenched in Californian sun, this could persuade even the most reluctant British sunshine to get his hat on and come out to play. A nose of mango, guava and baked lemons leads to a nutty, buttered-toast, pear-drop palate with creamy textures and excellent length. A great wine for a BBQ classic – chicken drumsticks marinated in wild honey and wholegrain mustard.

Château Grivière 2001/02, Médoc, Cru Bourgeois
£11.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Die-hard Claret fans will be delighted with this wine, with its classic cassis, plum and blackcurrant nose, hints of eucalyptus and earthy assurance of provenance. The palate has black-fruit top notes with orange zest and cedar undertones, plus approachable tannins that mellow with the right food. Do the decent thing and present this good old boy with a chargrilled T-Bone, served with a dollop of Dijon mustard.

Burgundian buddies for bangers

BBQ SausagesIf you’re sizzling some posh sausages – perhaps pork and apple or a classic Cumberland – we’ve got a red and a white from Burgundy for you to choose from.

Hautes Côtes de Beaune Chardonnay 2005, Domaine de Mercey
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
You could opt for a flavoursome Chardonnay with a bit of body. This exotic number has great depth with a nose of Braeburn apples, white flowers and a touch of smoky vanilla. These characters follow onto the palate, with a round mouth-filling texture and just enough acidity to keep those bangers in check.

Bourgogne Pinot Noir ‘Les Pierres Rouges’ 2007/08, Louis Jadot
£12.99 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles
The beauty of Pinot Noir as a BBQ wine is that you can serve it slightly chilled on a hot day. This beautifully fruity, ruby-coloured example, with its aromas of cherry, strawberry, liquorice and hints of star anise, has just enough body and acidity to be the perfect partner to our sausages.

BBQ BurgerMy top four burger bottles

A selection of reds to go with the bunned BBQ staple, without going overboard on your budget.

Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2009, Cécile des Vignes
£7.99 or £6.49 when you buy 2 bottles
As my mother has always said (in a broad Yorkshire accent), “you can’t go wrong with a Côtes-du-Rhône.” On this occasion, she’s bang on! This consistently excellent example has lots of red and black fruit up front, with typical black pepper and clove on the finish.

Joffré Malbec 2009, Mendoza
£8.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Mendoza Malbec is practically made with the BBQ in mind. At its best it’s complex with deep damson, plum and blackcurrant notes, and firm yet velvety tannins. This ticks all the boxes, plus there’s a dark chocolate and sweet cinnamon finish to savour. If this wine could talk, it would implore you to visit your local butcher, buy their best venison burgers, sling them on the barbie, serve with plum chutney and enjoy with a glassful of Argentine sunshine.

Vergelegen Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2008, Stellenbosch
£10.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles
I’m a big fan of Bordeaux blends from Stellenbosch. They’re multifarious, full-bodied and velvety – and this Cabernet/Merlot blend is no exception. Offering ripe blackcurrant, blackberry, soft plum and menthol characters, it’s by no means shy and will stand up to even the most heavy-handed of pyromaniacs.

Bonterra Vineyards Zinfandel 2008, Mendocino County
£12.49 or £9.99 when you buy 2 bottles
Finally, to California and the winemaking talents of Bonterra. This organically grown, lovingly harvested Zinfandel is deliciously fruity, oozing morello cherry, wild strawberry and raspberry. It’s just crying out for a top-notch burger with lashings of homemade tomato ketchup.

*Prices valid until 29 August 2011

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