Light Summer Wines That Don’t Make You Too Snoozy

SUNSHINE-FOR-MORE-THAN-THREE-DAYS-IN-A-ROW KLAXON!

This spells garden party.

Now, I’m a girl who can handle her liquor, but mix it with sunshine and it all becomes a bit hazy after a couple of glasses, leaving me tempted to fall asleep in the paddling pool. Not good when you’re trying to have a good time with your nearest and dearest – but drinking out in the sun simply makes me snoozy. I know I’m not alone – but then there just don’t seem to be as many lighter wines out there these days. Help!

The problem is, a lot of the most popular booze we choose for al fresco dining is on the heavy side – refreshing New Zealand Sauvignons with the seafood, a hearty shiraz for the barbecue, and the big-brand rosés are often on the hefty side alcohol-wise too.

I’ve found  a selection of wines that are perfect for sipping in the great outdoors, that will match summer food perfectly and that are all below 12.5% abv – perfect for avoiding mid-party naps, and a thick head the morning after too.

Domaine Laborie, Vin de Pays D’Oc, 12.5%
£5.50 per bottle from The Wine Society

Literally my favourite wine on the planet at the moment – it’s smooth, super-juicy, and very easy to drink, plus it’s astonishingly cheap. A total winner with barbecue meats or as a gently sipper.

Marqués De Caranó Gran Selección Rosé, 12%
£7.99 a bottle when bought in-store, £5.69 if you buy a case of six on Tesco Wine

Big brand rosés can be too sugary and bland, but this is a treat. With just a touch of sweetness, this Spanish rosé is perfect as an aperitif, but would also make a fine match for salads and lighter dishes.

Pujalet 2011 Vin de Pays du Gers, South of France, 11%
£4.74 per bottle from Waitrose Wine

Another salad and seafood winner, this is delicate and fruity. A blend of ugni and colombard – two lesser-known grapes in general – this is just wonderful and excellent value for money.

Gaillard Syrah 2010 VdP des Collines Rhodaniennes, 12%
£9.99, or £8.49 if you buy two bottles, from Majestic

You’d be hard-pushed to find a Rhone below 13.5% these days, let alone a Beaujolais-beating 12% like this juicy number. Syrah is often a little peppery, and this is a delicious savoury example. A real star with barbecued pork.

Raso de la Cruz Rosé 2011, 12%
£41.94 per six, (£6.99 bottle equivalent) from Marks and Spencer

Another Spanish rosé, and this time a bronze medal winner at the IWC. Dryer than the Tesco example I mentioned above, this is a typically good quality Garnacha pink. Perfect with spare ribs or Mediterranean vegetable dishes.

Yalumba Circles Sauvignon Blanc, 10.5%
£6.50 a bottle from The Wine Society

Yes, you read right: this Aussie white is only 10.5%. So rare is it to find an Antipodean wine of such lightness, I was very skeptical about trying it. How wrong I was: it is a delight, and not remotely wimpy. Balanced, fresh and easy-drinking, a great value example of why Yalumba are one of the biggest names in Aus.

Image of barbecue taken from Alisdair‘s photostream

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About Laura

Freelance writer waxing lyrical most often about wine, food, travel, feminism, Literature, and the telly box. Daydream-believer and all-round lover of the good old days.

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