A summer of record temperatures across the UK has given Team BI a powerful thirst... but what to drink and where to drink it? A few of BI’s best and brightest reveal their favourite summer tipples and where they enjoy them most.
Gareth Birchley (Purchasing): Claret with friends
My job spec as Burgundy and Champagne Buyer has, over the last few years, led me away from regular chances to drink top Claret. Being exposed daily to the good and great of Bordeaux when I joined BI, I gained unfairly rapid experience of Claret and soon sought regions I had less experience in. At home I probably open a dozen bottles of Claret a year – no more – but sometimes it’s great to be reminded how truly amazing the top wines from the “grandest” of regions can be. Last Saturday a friend very kindly opened a bottle of Mouton 1985 for me – a wine I have found variable in the past. On that night… it was the absolute star of the show! I remarked to a “Mouton virgin” at the table… “If you don’t like this… you don’t like Mouton!”. At its best, Mouton has the purity of Latour with the rusticity of Haut Brion – this ’85 was savoury, gamey but poised and elegant… absolutely stunning… when this wine is on… IT’S ON!
Tom Chadwick (Trade Sales): Monkey 47 Gin at home
Can you imagine going dry for 9 months? It’s something I suspect very few of us will ever do, but having carried our most recent offspring around and having to endure child birth, my wife Jo was well within her rights to dictate what the first post-baby alcoholic elixir to wet her lips would be.
She chose a large glass of Monkey 47 Gin (the distiller's cut no less). This was perfect to drink on a Saturday afternoon once the little ones had gone to sleep and while basking in the late afternoon warmth. I added Fever Tree tonic, ice, and slice of squeezed lime, all followed up with the magical ‘Chadwick floater’ (please ask if you don’t know what that is). Clearly this hit the spot and the recognisable ‘Monkey smile’ soon sprouted.
I promptly poured another large glass for my queen.
Giles Cooper (Head of Marketing & PR): Champagne en magnum for a weekend in Greece
A weekend in Paxos with a few types from BI was always going to result in some quality drinking – and whilst many staggering bottles were devoured, none of us were prepared for the sheer breathtaking quality of a magnum of Dom Perignon Rose 1990. A lesson for us all: buy your Champagne en magnum then wait, wait and wait again. It’s worth it. Amber in colour – not unlike the shade of a nice, hoppy light ale – and with a nose brimful of fresh peaches, apricots and raspberries, it was beguiling before it even hit the palate. In the mouth it was fine-grained, almost crystalline in character, with more peach and red fruit characters alongside cinnamon and grapefruit zest. The mousse was ultra-fine, almost imperceptible, and the finish was long, long, long, changing from fruit to spice and back again. Perhaps the setting, bobbing along the ice-blue Ionian sea in 35 degree weather, made a difference; personally I think you could drink this on a wet Tuesday in Dartford and still be blown away.
Massimo d’Isep (Purchasing): Italian for a London barbeque
Friends, sun, barbequing and good music…what's missing from this perfect London summer barbeque? A bottle of Italian wine, of course (something we at BI never lack)! I’m Italian and obviously I’d suggest beginning the fun with the unusual sparkling Cantina della Volta Lambrusco Rose. To complement your meal, try Tignanello 2010- the new vintage from Antinori. Happy summer everybody!!!
Simon Eddleston (Senior Private Sales): Burgundy for Sunday dinner
I sent a bottle of Roulot 2009 Bourgogne Blanc to see its maker on Sunday with the wife… Well actually, she plucked it from the rack not fully appreciating what it was. In any event, I was glad she did - it was that good! This is Bourgogne of the highest order - definitely a top Puligny in disguise - with bags of buttered, roasted stone fruit, laced with cream, pastry, minerality, and rounded off with a lemony lift. A superb wine from a producer with the midas touch, and proof that great growers can produce Bourgogne Blanc that would put many a good Villages (or even 1er Crus) to shame.
Martyn Zemavicius (Private Sales): Champagne for any time
Summer for me is all about crisp, mineral-laced, refreshing Champagne. BI has one of the best champagne lists in the UK with many great wines to choose from, but I would like to mention two which I am particularly enjoying this summer.
I am sometimes disappointed with rose champagne, but Veuve Fourny Rose Premier Cru is truly a fantastic wine. Classy and elegant with lovely berry and floral notes, it goes beautifully with gazpacho, salads, BBQed prawns or simply strawberries. My second go-to champagne this summer is 2007 Premier Cru Cuvee Grand Cellier d’Orfrom superstar Vilmart (now recognised as one of Champagne’s most cult producers). His champagnes are organic, big and powerful with a touch of oaky spiciness which could stand up easily to all kind of meat dishes. I can personally recommend pairing it with BBQ lamb cutlets, courgettes and cous cous – a combination to die for.
I believe Champagne is so much more than just celebratory or an aperitif wine – it’s one of the most versatile wines to match with food. Enjoy it any time.