Light Summer Wines That Don’t Make You Too Snoozy


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


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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