Al fresco tipples: Five refreshing choices for a warm summer's day
Al fresco dining conjures up images of casual and carefree pleasure, enjoying food in the great outdoors, where the focus is on family and friends, while the drinks play a minor supporting role. Wines, beers, ciders, fruit juices and flavoured waters are all a good match for the occasion, whether a garden party or a picnic.
Wines lighter in alcohol that stimulate the appetite rather than sleep are a good choice. For non-oaked whites, Pinot Grigio, Frascati, Chablis, Gavi, Sancerre/Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadet work well. While for reds, Beaujolais and Valpolicella can take a little cooling. Ciders are always a refreshing option, while beers, especially lager and wheat beers, have a lemon zesty liveliness that is very food-friendly.
Sparkling wines accelerate the alcohol into the system, so lower alcohol bubblies are useful. Hydrating with plenty of water is wise.
1) Vinho Verde 2012, Montariol, Portugal 9.5pc
Very zesty lime peel scents. Crisp and off-dry with a friendly attack of citrus flavours and enlivened by a little carbonation for a hint of fizz. A good match for chicken and fish salads.
€9 at SuperValu nationwide.
2) Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, La Baume, Pay's d'Oc, France 14pc
Concentrated tarry blackcurrant fruity aromas. Warming and full-bodied cassis fruitiness with an added bite of acidity and grip of tannin. Happy at a beefy barbecue.
€12.85 nationwide in Dunnes Stores.
3) Pink bubbly 2013, Black Tower 9.5pc
Light and off-dry in a very delicate character. Gently fizzy. A good all-rounder for salty nibbles.
€8 nationwide at Dunnes Stores and Spar.
4) Cider, Dan Kelly's Cider, Drogheda 4.5pc
Refreshing juicy red apples with a honeyed ripeness. Loves ham.
€3.99-€4.25 (500ml) widely available at independent off-licences nationwide and in Dublin at Molloy's Liquor Stores citywide; Redmond's, Ranelagh; Baggot Street Wines; McHugh's, Kilbarrack Rd; Martin's, Marino Mart and Sweeney's, Glasnevin.
5) Beer, Tesco Revisionist Dark IPA 4.8pc
Ideal in non-heatwave weather, so don't chill. Brown amber colour with a faint foam. Rich malty aromas and flavours with a drying finish. Good with smoky meaty dishes.
€2.99 (500ml) at Tesco stores nationwide.