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The weather may be trying to confuse us, but The Cazoo Derby Festival is the only sign you need that summer is here! With so many drinks options to accompany the season’s racecourse action it can be hard to know what to plump for. So, whether you’ll be at Epsom Downs in person or watching from the sofa, Neil Phillips, The Wine Tipster, has shared some top tips on how to put some sunshine in your glass and create a special racing occasion…

The two-day Cazoo Derby Festival at Epsom Downs gets the summer season off to a flying start on 4 June and in my book that calls for a real celebration. Classic fizz never goes a-miss and here are some of my favourites:

 

 

  • Brut Reserve is a very stylish blend of mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with 10% Pinot Meunier. There is real depth of flavour, complexity and a beautiful balance from this fine English fizz from the Hampshire hills.  Or try the superb, dry and delicate Coates & Seely English Sparkling Rosé NV, Hampshire made from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (£33.95 from www.coatesandseely.com online shop). Both perfect with Afternoon Tea.

 

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  • These are exciting times at Coates & Seely as they are currently expanding their 30 acres of vineyards by adding 60 acres of mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, plus a small amount of Pinot Meunier.

 

  • Other sparkling wines to mark your card include the dry, intensely fruity Cuvée Royale Brut Crémant de Limoux, Limoux, France (£12.75 Waitrose) or, from Australia, Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Shiraz (£10.99 Ocado, Waitrose) which is packed with ripe, red fruits and tastes great with chocolate!   

 

  • If a classic Champagne is your tipple then Moët & Chandon 2012 Grand Vintage Brut, Champagne, France (Around £50 - £55 Majestic, Ocado, other retailers) is the 74th Grand Vintage produced by this world-renowned Champagne House. A brilliant vintage and such a great style.

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  • Rosé bubbles and Rosé in general have become a firm favourite with many of us and there is a wide selection of styles. From the pale and elegant to the rich and fruity, there’s a Rosé for everyone. Some great choices include:

 

  • Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Rosé, Champagne, France (£42-£44 Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, other retailers)

Made from the red grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, plus 10% Chardonnay for some elegance in the blend, this Champagne always looks so vibrant and is always so expressive with beautiful red fruits on the nose and palate. A lovely wine with a superb length of finish and a top pairing with afternoon tea, fruit desserts or smoked salmon.

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  • Be on trend with a Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato from the regions of Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Italy. Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato, made from Glera and Pinot Nero, is now “a thing”, having been given official status in May 2020. First imported into the UK in November 2020 Prosecco Rosé Millesimato has received rave press reviews covering a whole range of producers and is widely available.

 

Here are some great choices:

  • Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato Brut 2020 (£8.50 Sainsbury’s)
  • Bottega Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato Brut 2019 (£21.75 - £24.99 www.31dover.com Ocado and Selfridges)
  • Le Rughe Prosecco DOC Millesimato Brut 2020 (£14.95 www.beverage-boys.com)

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Another growing trend is cocktails and you can create your own Derby Spritz Cocktail at home with this simple recipe:

 

  • 50ml pink gin
  • 50ml lemonade
  • 25ml Prosecco
  • Handful of strawberries cut into halves
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Large ice cubes

 

1.  Fill a large glass with ice

2. Add the gin and lemonade

3. Top up with Prosecco and a tiny splash of lemon juice

4. Garnish with strawberries

5. Enjoy!

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Moving on to white, rosé and red still wines, which always have a place at any table, here are my six to follow which I hope will bring you summer joy:

 

WHITE

  • Yalumba Y Series Viognier 2020, Eden Valley, Australia (£9.00 Co-op)

Famous producer of Viognier, which is so perfect for summertime with its peachy and apricot flavours.

 

  • No 1 Foundation Cederberg Chenin Blanc 2020, South Africa (£9.99 Waitrose) Dry, refreshing with tropical and citrus fruit flavours. Great with fish and chips, vegetable dishes and salads. 

 

ROSÉ

  • Bowler & Brolly English Rosé Cuvée 2020, Surrey, England (£8.99 Aldi)

Lovely vibrant rosé with summer fruits and crisp acidity.

 

  • Château Léoube Love by Léoube Organic Rosé 2020, Provence, France (£15.99-£16.99 Ocado www.greatwine.co.uk) Classic, elegant and beautifully balanced.  

 

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RED

  • Castellore Rosso 2019, Terre di Chieti, Italy (£5.99 Aldi) Great value, packed with cherries, plums and with a brambly character. Great for grilled meats and sauces, perfect barbecue wine.

 

  • Errazuriz Estate Series Merlot 2019, Chile (£9.00 Tesco) Soft red fruits, medium bodied with a smooth finish. A winner!  

 

Whatever you’re drinking during the Cazoo Derby Festival don’t forget to get involved in our Derby At Home.

 

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