Your Guide to BBQ Wines - This Month's Novel Wines Explorer's Club
Welcome to this month's Novel Wines Explorer's Club, the UK's most exciting wine subscription for the curious drinker. Each month, we will introduce you to a new wine region as part of our promise to deliver no two wines the same for a whole year. Not a member yet? Subscribe here.
Looking for an older guide? See all the Explorer's Club guides here.
What's in this month's Explorer's Club?
In July we're taking a step away from the usual theme by region to show you an eclectic mix of BBQ-perfect bottles. From zingy, peachy Vinho Verde and smoky Hungarian Juhfark in the white wines, through a smooth and creamy dry rosé from Slovakia, to a trio of reds giving you a full-bodied and rich experience.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to this month's selection of novel BBQ wines.
While these wines have been selected with grilled meats, sticky sauces, and charred Mediterranean veg in mind, they are also a showcase of five different countries and the versatility available in wine. We think you're going to love exploring something a little different - and, if you don't have a BBQ to hand, we've included some other fabulous pairing as well.
If you have any specific questions about the wine, you can get in touch with our team here. However, we've got lots of info on the wines below, so pull the cork and get stuck in!
Starting this month's Explorer's Club is our Vila Nova Vinho Verde (included in The Globetrotter only). Vinho Verde - "green wine" - has made a name for itself as a spritzy, easy-going fresh white wine off the Atlantic coast. However, Vinho Verde is actually the name of Portugal's most northerly wine-growing region and home to a whole host of styles based on their (mainly white) local grapes.
Based in northern Portugal with their vineyards located in the sub region of Sousa, the Vinho Verde Demarcated Region, Casa de Vila Nova combines the tradition and experience of its founders with the vitality and innovation of a young generation. It aims to be the best in the region, and its Vila Nova range is pushing for a more unique, fruit-forward style.
This wine from Vila Nova is a warmer, peachier style than you'd get from classic Vinho Verde. Its richness makes it work well with fatty meats like pork, or charred notes on BBQ chicken. It is also an easy winner with potato salad (or for just sipping cool by the glass, without the food!). If you're not having a BBQ then try this wine with ricotta and spaghetti, or baked hake.
Next up is the white wine, Fekete Pince Somloi Juhfark (included both The Rambler and The Globetrotter). 'Juhfark' is a unique, indigenous Hungarian grape variety that roughly translates to 'Sheep's tail'. Grown in western Hungary, the grapes are carefully picked from the slopes of Somló Hill, a defunct volcano in the Balaton highlands. This limited release of 6,000 bottles of Juhfark is the region's iconic wine, overseen by the 'Grand Old Man of Somló' until his death in 2012, before being continued by the next generation.
The grapes are gently pressed and fermented and matured in 1000L Hungarian oak, giving it a smoky hue. Further ageing is followed in tank. The result is a golden coloured wine with long legs and aromas of ripe peach, quince, and mango. On the palate it's fragrant with quince and pear, has a saline and long texture, and a warming finish.
This wine is one of the finest pairings I've tried with BBQ fish. It can even take on some spice, so you could try BBQ fish tacos. At home, the wine loves creamy sauces so going for chicken and mushroom, maybe a bit of truffle, is going to work very well.
The next wine is the Csernus Lava Cuvée Rosé (included both The Rambler and The Globetrotter). This is a "Siller" style of rosé, meaning it spends longer on skins and is from a later harvest compared with traditional rosé. That style allows for greater lees-integration, giving creaminess, and also a riper fruit profile that softens out the wine's high volcanic acidity.
The Lava Cuvée is a small production rosé of only 1,226 bottles from the Csernus family estate in Slovakia, with vines planted on the volcanic foothills of Mt Straz. Its name, 'Lava Cuvée', refers to the single vineyard of Pod Strážom with its granitic and volcanic rock soils on reddish iron ore, tuff, limestone and sandstone. This provides low yielding, highly concentrated and fruit-forward grapes with mineral freshness and acidity. The deeper rosé style is rich with cherry and plum notes and a hint of spice.
This style of rosé is an awesome pairing with BBQ lamb or anything spicy. It can also work really well with buttery, creamy cheese.
Now we're onto reds, arguably the go-to style for BBQ lovers. The first red, included in both subs, is the Walter Glatzer Zweigelt Cuvée Carnuntum DAC (included both The Rambler and The Globetrotter). Zweigelt is one of Austria's most important and most planted red grape varieties.
This is a deeply coloured style of Zweigelt red, showcasing the warmer climate of Carnuntum and the fruit richness you can achieve. It's a nod to both Syrah and Blaufrankisch with silky notes of black cherry balanced by pepper spice. Briefly matured in 2,000L barrels to soften out before bottling. Made from a selection of organic vineyards around the village of Göttlesbrunn on Glatzer's family estate.
A great Zweigelt like this is the perfect partner for grilled red meats, but it is also fruity and rich enough to pair with a burger stuffed full of melted cheese, gherkins and sweet or spicy tomato sauce. The wine is also, like the rosé, a great lamb pairing and often my go-to for roast lamb and all the trimmings.
Our next wine is the Heumann Blue Secret (included in The Globetrotter only). The Blue Secret is a brand new blend from Hungary’s leading red wine area, Villany, in the south of the country. Selected from 14-24 year old vines grown on loess and limestone soils, the fruit is carefully ripened and gently crushed. The resulting fruit-forward wine has aromas of red cherries and vanilla with a deep purple colour and notes of smooth blackberries, cherries and plums on the palate. The tannins are soft and gentle with a rather long finish.
Another burger-friendly wine, this is also a great pick for sticky BBQ ribs. It will also pair sauces well, especially gravies, so try it with sausages and mash.
Finally we have Vigne Romnio Romagna DOC Sangiovese Superiore Riserva (included in the The Globetrotter only), our fastest-ever selling Italian red.
Vigneti Romio is a brand created by the award wining Caviro Group, a grower's cooperative in Italy. They 100% energy self-sufficient with a focus on sustainability and social responsibility. The Vigneti Romio wines convey the history of the humble region of Romagna, through the grape varieties, the labels created by local artisans using traditional engraved wooden moulds, and the simple, food-friendly wine inside the bottle.
This deep crimson red is soft on the acidity, but bold on taste with a fuller body. Ripe black cherries on the nose with a delicious hint of spice. With red berry flavours on the palate and fine tannins, this wine is well balanced with a long finish.
Superb with BBQ sausages.