The gentle thock of rubber on cat gut, five-set thrillers, apocalyptic tantrums, biblical showers, Cliff Richard (Cliff, if you’re reading, please send me some wine)… Some Wimbledon clichés are better than others. For instance, what’s the attraction of lukewarm Pimms in a plastic cup? Give me some proper wine any day.
And there are three types of wine that make ideal doubles partners for sun, strawberries and lawn tennis: fizz, rosé and a refreshing English white. So whether you’re at home or picnicking in front of a big screen, here are three ideas for ace wines to serve alongside Wimbledon.
The Local Favourite: The Uncommon Wine of England
This slightly sparkling white is made in Surrey, just up the road from Wimbledon itself, from one of England’s most common grape varieties — Bacchus. But, as the name suggests, Bacchus is about the only thing common about it. For a start, it comes in a convenient, recyclable, lightweight can that can be chilled in 15 minutes. Very handy for the hamper.
Tart lemon, strawberry, and gooseberry flavours make it a close comparison to certain New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Although, of course, if you drink it straight from the can you’ll miss out on these nuances of flavour. I tried it from a white-wine glass and a flute. The flute worked better, acting as a chimney to shoot the bubbles up your nose through.
On the rear of the beautifully designed can it says “Our bubbly pairs perfectly with festival mud baths.” Presumably they’re talking about Glastonbury. Well, Wimbledon is around the same time as Glasto. And if you want to travel light, but still look classy, this is the option for you.
The Uncommon Wine in a Can is available from Selfridges and on The Uncommon Website. £5 a can. 11.5% volume
The Bubbly Crowd Pleaser: Bouvet Saumur Rosé Brut
If you’re anticipating a celebratory mood, and a can won’t cut it, this delicate salmon-pink Bouvet Saumur rosé, made from Cabernet Franc grapes, will do you nicely. Provence might be home to the top seeds of the rosé world, but don’t underestimate this wild card from the nearby Loire Valley, where you tend to get more for your money.
Strawberry and peach on the nose combine with a backhand smash of citrus on the palate. Don’t expect bold flavours though — it’s as subtle as a deft lob over the net from close range.
The Bouvet Saumur Rosé Brut is available from Majestic Wine for £12.99. 12.5% volume
The French Flair Player: Co-op Truly Irresistible Pic Saint Loup Rosé
This Co-op own brand Pic Saint Loup won game, set and match in my supermarket rosé tournament last year. Light, crisp, dry and alive with the fumes of summer berries: this is a fine al fresco tipple.
It’s got that succulent, savoury, multi-layered (almost herby) texture you’d associate with a good quality Provence rosé. But the Pic Saint Loup is made from grenache and syrah from the Languedoc region, to the south-west of Provence. I’m guessing this is how they can get away with making it cheaper than its Provencal neighbours — similar ingredients, slightly less cachet. Well… nobody’s written a book called A Week in the Languedoc, have they. They’re not daft, those Co-op wine buyers.
You can pick up the Pic Saint Loup from most Co-op stores, price £7.99. 13% volume