Food & Drink Easy-to-drink wines for a Saturday night on the sofa

Easy-to-drink wines for a Saturday night on the sofa

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Rosé is good in these situations. So is pinot grigio. Vinho verde also fits the brief, especially if you have one that is faintly effervescent and off-dry – a tiny bit of sugar is often welcome in chaotic situations. Prosecco, particularly a ‘dry’ – counterintuitively, it’s sweeter than a ‘brut’ – version is ideal too; that’s why this Italian easy-drinker became so popular. For a session white, I also like the salinity of picpoul or the juicy ease of Côtes de Gascogne whites. Another advantage of the latter is that they are usually inexpensive. Plus, if you want to lower the alcohol a good Côtes de Gascogne such as the grapefruity Finest Côtes de Gascogne 2022, France (11.5%, Tesco, £7.50), has enough of a kick to work well in a spritz: just add sparkling water, ice and a sprig of mint.

At Corner, Tate Modern’s late-night bar, where there is often a vinyl-DJ session competing with the drinks and the chat for your attention, they serve grüner veltliner (a refreshing white from Austria with a hint of lime and radish) and Beaujolais (a light red) on tap. These wines come in kegs. At home, a more pragmatic wine-on-tap option would be bag-in-box; both bibwine.co.uk and The Wine Society have good selections.

For reds, I’m either following the lead of Corner and looking for a light and juicy wine such as zweigelt from Austria, pinot noir from almost anywhere, nero d’avola from Sicily or cinsault from South Africa. Or I’m going for a red that is smooth, velvety and not too high in tannin, perhaps a Côtes du Rhône from France, a garnacha from north-eastern Spain or one of the more juicy unoaked malbecs from south-west France or Argentina. These options are likely to be moderate to high in alcohol so aren’t ‘session wines’ in the sense that you can drink a lot of them, but they do feel comforting and slip down dangerously easily.

Try these…

wines

Irresistible Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2023, Italy

12%, Co op, £7.50

Crisp and mildly citrussy, with a stony freshness too, this pinot grigio from north-eastern Italy makes a good apero and is also great with bacon and avo salad.

The Best Alvarinho 2022, Portugal

12.5%,Morrisons, £9.50

Alvarinho is the Portuguese name for albariño. This peachy Iberian grape makes a beautiful white for a spring evening.

Côtes du Rhône Villages 2022, France

14%,M&S, £7.33 down from £11 until 1 April

A plush and comforting red that is a serious bargain at this offer price. Reminiscent of crushed red berries, it has soft edges and is perfect for that Netflix series.

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