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June 19, 2020

The wine tipster’s guide to enjoying the 2020 season at home

The traditional summer season of events might have been cancelled but there is no reason not to commemorate these quintessentially British celebrations.

With many events cancelled or with on-line alternatives this year, The Wine Tipster, Neil Phillips, offers a guide to enjoying the British summer season at home, accompanied by the best drinks to serve to make the experience complete.

British horse racing

You may not need to dust off the binoculars this year, but there’s no better excuse to get dressed up and enjoy some great horse racing from your living room.

The runners and riders are under starters orders at Royal Ascot this week (16th – 20th June) which is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in its 250-year history. We also look forward to watching via broadcast media Epsom’s Investec Derby Day (4th July), Sandown Park’s Coral-Eclipse Day (5th July), Newmarket’s Moët & Chandon July Festival (9th – 11th July), Ascot’s King George VI Weekend (25th July), the Qatar Goodwood Festival (28th July – 1st August) and the Yorkshire Ebor Festival (19th – 22nd August). Tune into ITV and Racing TV.

The Wine Tipster says: “Dress to impress and bring out the canapés! Keep a cool head with a lower alcohol white while studying the form, build the excitement with some top Rosé, bring out a pedigree fizz when you bag your first winner and relax with a smooth red when you’re ahead.”

Moët & Chandon 2012 Grand Vintage Brut (Majestic and other retailers around £52) is the 74th Grand Vintage produced by this world-renowned Champagne House. Enjoying vintage Champagne is a special experience and a great way to celebrate in style.

Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2019, Portugal (Waitrose £8.99) which is wonderfully light at only 11.5% alcohol and offers a perfect match to smoked salmon or guacamole canapés which have been spritzed with fresh lemon juice.

Muga Rioja Rosado 2019, Spain (Waitrose £9.99)
Bodegas Muga is a highly respected producer in Rioja and they make a lovely dry, elegant, delicately fruity style of rosé.

Stonier Pinot Noir 2017, Mornington Peninsula Australia (£22.99 Majestic, Cellar One). This is a real classic that shows how brilliant Pinot Noir can be from Australia, and Stonier is way ahead of rivals at a similar price. Beautifully crafted and balanced.

Luscombe Sicilian Organic Lemonade (£3.00 for 100ml, Sainsbury’s) is an excellent soft drink option.

Delicious wine is also available from the new Ascot Wine Club, featuring three cases, each named after former Gold Cup Champions – Yeats, Sagaro and Fame and Glory.

Wimbledon Championship

Wimbledon fortnight might have been cancelled but it doesn’t mean you can’t play your part in your garden or in the great outdoors.

Get involved with #WimbledonRecreated across all social media platforms by recreating your favourite Wimbledon Championships tradition, moment or memory via the official Wimbledon website

The Wine Tipster says: “What could be more rewarding after a summer afternoon of tennis than a magnificent bowl of season-ripe strawberries and cream, matched with top fizz from The Official Champagne of Wimbledon?!”

Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne NV, France (Tesco £33.00 and other retailers). Lanson has been the Official Champagne of Wimbledon for a number of years now and they produce a fabulous range of Champagnes including their flagship Lanson Black Label Brut NV.

Lanson Rosé Brut Champagne NV, France (Tesco £38.00 and other retailers). Gorgeous, dry rosé with lovely flavours of summer fruits and perfectly balanced.

English Wine Week (20th – 28th JUNE)

Celebrate English Wine Week, and the whole British summer, with a fabulous Afternoon Tea.

English Wine Week is an annual celebration of our home-grown wine producers, who are making many fabulous wines – there are now around 650 commercial vineyards in Great Britain! Raise a glass and join in their virtual celebration this year on Wine GB #EnglishWineWeek and #WinesofGreatBritain.

Celebrate at home with these top wines to match with Afternoon Tea:

Coates & Seely Britagne Brut Rosé NV (£32.95 from online shop): Perfect to match with scones laden with strawberry jam and cream – or cream and strawberry jam, depending on where you’re from!

Lyme Block Bacchus 2019, Devon, (Aldi £9.99) Bacchus works so well in England as it is light, aromatic and fresh in style, with peach and citrus fruit on the palate. A great success!

Chapel Down English Rosé 2019, Kent (Waitrose £12.99) Easy drinking Rosé, with delicate summer fruits and a lovely crisp finish.

Bolney Estate Pinot Noir 2018, Sussex (£21.99 Oxford Wine Co). Bolney Estate produces fantastic wines and they have led the way with English red wines, including this delicate, elegant and fruity Pinot Noir.

Belvoir Elderflower and Rose Pressé (£2.70 for 750ml Sainsbury’s) is a delicious soft drink option.

Henley Royal Regatta, foodie and music festivals

Founded in 1839, Henley Royal Regatta is famous both as a great summer sporting event and as a social occasion, with picnics by the river very much part of the scene. Layout a picnic at home this year instead.

Foodie and music festivals are also off the menu this summer, however, markets are now open so fill your picnic basket with a selection of local produce including a bottle of English beer.

Foodies Festivals – will be running Prosecco Tastings with The Wine Tipster on Facebook Live at 1 pm on 20th June, 25th July and 8th Aug.

National Picnic Week  (22nd to 28th June)

The Wine Tipster says: “Picnics are great fun, with lots of tasty and easy-to-nibble choices. Select drinks to give your blanket banquet a touch of casual elegance with the below top tipples.”

Astoria Prosecco DOC Treviso Extra Dry “Galìe”, Italy (£12.95 Gerrard Seel)
Lovely, soft, floral, fruity and elegant with beautiful balance – the perfect start to every picnic.

For a white wine in a stylish picnic-friendly box, try Maree d’Ione Fiano, IGP Puglia Italy 2.25L (£25.99 Waitrose). Organic and vegan-friendly too, this has lovely refreshing citrus and tropical fruit flavours.

With the pickles and pâtés, a Rosé with a hint of spice alongside its dark berry fruit is required and Santa Julia Plus Malbec Rosé 2019 from Argentina (Sainsbury’s £9.00) is just the ticket.

Warm and smooth as the summer afternoon, the gently spicy Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône 2018 from France is a true crowd-pleaser (Tesco, Asda £8.00).

For a beer with character try Chadlington Ale’s Oxford Pale Ale – the perfect ale from the Cotswolds (£29.99 for 12 bottles from Chadlington Brewery)

And don’t forget lashing of ginger beer! Try Fentimans Ginger Beer £1.30 for 275ml at Sainsbury’s.

Classical Music Events

Glyndebourne Festival is still taking place, albeit virtually. Listen online every Sunday at 5 pm throughout June and July.

There will also be an opportunity to wave your Union Jack as the 2020 season of The Proms will go virtual with the opening night on Friday 17th July on BBC Radio 3 and Sunday 19th July on BBC Four. There will be eight weeks of broadcasts on television, radio and online.

The Wine Tipster says: “I love opera and The Proms and will sorely miss the summer serenade in my garden coming from The Albert Hall and Glyndebourne this year. However, I’ll be tuning in to these fabulous alternative performances with some vino classics too!”

Nyetimber Classic Cuvée, Sussex (Waitrose £36.99, Majestic) is always refined, elegant and beautifully made. A vino composition to savour.

Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2019, is classic New Zealand style and just what you are looking for from a high-class Marlborough producer based in the beautiful Awatere Valley (Waitrose £11.59).

Château Léoube Rosé 2018, Provence, France, Daylesford shop (online – £17.49) is pitch-perfect dry Provence Rosé that has the style and elegance to suit the occasion.

Espérance de Trotanoy, Pomerol Bordeaux 2014 (Corney & Barrow £69.25) is a powerful, perfumed performance of wine with dark brooding fruits and purring tannins which combine for a crescendo finish.

Château Beaumont 2015 Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois is a very classy, great value Bordeaux from a luxurious vintage (Lea & Sandeman £21.95).

Until we can all be together again, the traditional summer of events will be replaced by smaller, simpler, and socially-distanced home-grown gatherings. The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and stay safe.

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