I had planned this post for last week but the recent terrorist attack in Tunisia changed my schedule a bit. I wanted to write three posts running parallel with the Wimbledon tournament, talking about garden parties: one about rose bubbles and others about summer cocktails and barbeque food. However, although I am running one week late and Wimbledon will be finished by the time I publish the summer cocktails post, summer will still be here for at least another two months so hopefully you will have plenty of different occasions to enjoy them.
As I said, summer is in full swing. We even had the hottest day forever last week. Finally we can enjoy long hot days and warm evenings in our gardens. And in England the beginning of summer is a party time. Tennis, Glastonbury and other festivals, live concerts in Hyde Park, cricket and plenty of other events I don’t even know about! But the last week of June and first week of July it’s Wimbledon and whole country sits glued to their TVs if they can’t get tickets. Traditionally the tournament is celebrated in the open air with a glass of bubbly and some strawberries.
This is a superb occasion to throw a garden party, especially if your favourite players are on court at the same time. Get your garden cleaned up, dust off your barbeque and invite some friends. All you need is some good food to put on the grill and salads to go with it, buzz and good humour. Well… and maybe good weather if you aren’t a fan of the traditional British barbeque cooked under a golf umbrella in the pouring rain.
Here is my first proposition for you to start your party with. It will immediately put you and your guests in a good mood, I promise.
Grande Cuvée 1531 Crémant de Limoux NV Rose Brut. (£15 in Dulwich Vintners)
You may remember that I talked about the blanc version of this in an earlier post. It’s not Champagne but it tastes as if it is. The quality isn’t far from Champagne but it doesn’t have the price tag. Some wine historians believe that Limoux was the world’s first sparkling wine region, even earlier than Champagne. Monks in the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Hilaire, it is believed, were making sparkling wines in 1531, long before that other Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon, was born, and their sparkling wine was the ancestor to Champagne. Cremant de Limoux is made using the same, so called ‘Traditional Method’ as Champagne, which means that bubbles are created in the actual bottle during the second fermentation rather than adding the gas later, as with many cheaper sparkling wines such as Prosecco.
It’s lovely stuff with a beautiful almost-peach colour, very dry and easy drinking but delicate and light. It has a lovely mousse with gentle bubbles, plenty of summer fruits there followed by a hint of toasted bread. It is a match made in heaven with fresh strawberries. It’s a perfect start to a garden party in summer!
Stay tuned next week for 4 brilliant summer cocktails!