Thirsty work

Thirsty work

Thirsty work

First published in Lifestyle

Whether you're fond of an elegant white wine, a casual, neutral style, or something as sharp as a whistle, summertime always signals bright, young things to sip in the sunshine.

Refreshing and ready to drink now, here are some top picks to pour under shimmering blue skies...

:: SAY IT WITH A BOTTLE

A floral and grapey muscat that's laced with a mild sweetness, Torres Days of Summer 2013, Chile (£5.99 from £6.99, now until August 26, The Co-op) is deliciously juicy and exuberant with honeysuckle notes and a lovely lift of yellow apples and lemon on the gentle finish. Ideal for picnics and finger sandwiches - even the white label resembles a wicker basket.

:: UNDER THE SPANISH SUN

The trendy grape from Galicia that devotees are labelling the new sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, albarino is fresh and breezy with a touch of saline minerality and crisp, citrus fruit flavours that pair so well with shellfish and seafood. Try Sendero des Santos Albarino 2012, Rias Baixas DO, Spain (£12.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk) which is aromatic and classy with peach, grapefruit and a hint of lemon on the energetic finish.

:: MADE IN ITALY

Flavoursome and silky with bags of appeal, A Mano Fiano, Greco Bianco, Puglia, Italy (£7.95, www.thewinesociety.com, available end of August) marries southern Italy's two best indigenous grapes - fiano and greco - to deliver a lively and zesty Campanian white with enough body and weight to keep it interesting. Fresh and floral with apple, pear and blanched nut flavours, a hint of smoke and good minerality.

:: POSTCARD FROM PORTUGAL

A terrific southern white from the heart of Portugal's cork-growing region, Marques De Borba White 2013, DOC Alentejo, Portugal (£8.95, www.tanners-wines.co.uk) balances two local varieties with viognier for a flattering style that's soft and round with fragrant honeysuckle, apricot and peach flavours, ending with a gentle, delicate finish and juicy acidity.

:: BOURDEAUX BLONDE

Dourthe have a knack for producing consistently good wines and Dourthe Number 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2013, France (£7.95, www.thewinesociety.com) has a real kick to it with a bracing, citrusy palate and concentrated gooseberry and grapefruit up front with gooseberry and nettly notes following through to the herbaceous, flinty finish.

:: MEURSAULT WITH THE MOSTEST

Goedhuis & Co romped home with this year's International Wine Challenge (IWC) Specialist Merchant Award for Burgundy, and with top drawer Meursaults on their listing, such as Meursault Jean Philippe Fichet 2011, Burgundy, France (£29.92 per bottle, £359 per case of 12, www.goedhuis.com) from talented winemaker Jean-Philippe Fichet, it's easy to see why. Utterly delicious from beginning to end, it's less rich, buttery and oaky than some and elegant and linear enough to enjoy at lunchtime... bring on the lobster.

:: KIWI THAT WEARS THE CROWN

New Zealand's most awarded winery, Villa Maria have just released the latest vintage of their best seller, Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Marlborough, NZ (£10.99 or 9.34 when you buy two Majestic). A glass of sunshine-scorched gooseberries and passion fruit, balanced by notes of fresh lime, it's fruitier and more intense than its 2013 predecessor and perfect with Thai chicken kebabs or seared salmon.

:: REACH DOWN UNDER

If you like a fruity, fresh white but think you don't like chardonnay, think again. An unoaked style from Wirra Wirra's winning portfolio of well made wines, Wirra Wirra Scrubby Rise Unwooded Chardonnay 2013, McLaren Vale, Australia (£9.99, Tesco) fuses subtle pineapple with white peach and juicy, ripe pear with blossomy lemon and citrus notes, and doesn't scrimp on flavour without the use of oak. The pretty blue boating label just makes it even more appealing.

:: CALIFORNIAN CLASSIC

America's number one, bestselling chardonnay for more than 20 years, Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2012, California, USA (£15.99, www.henningswine.co.uk) has a rich core of baked apple, honeydew melon and custard pie, with wafts of tropical fruits, vanilla and honey. An easy drinking chard that's smooth, creamy and with vanilla-laced oak on the finish.

:: BEST BUY

The Glorious 12th... Celebrate the start of the game season with a glass of Dourthe's Diane De Belgrave 2009, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux, France (£17.50, Oddbins) and you'll be in for a double treat. A cabernet sauvignon and merlot blend, it's dense and vibrant with ripe blackcurrant and red fruits, silky, youthful tannins and the finishing touch with the first birds of the season, bread sauce and game chips.

:: LIQUID NEWS

The art of a good martini... Belvedere vodka are celebrating summer in the city with a curated martini experience at the Royal Academy in London for the month of August.

Legends of the Martini takes cocktail fans on an interactive journey through the evolution of the martini, from gin to vodka, with still-life images of icons who've made a martini their signature serve, from Elizabeth Taylor, Ernest Hemingway and Kate Moss to the most famous of all, James Bond.

"From the roaring 20s, past the swinging sixties, through the 90s to the present day, it will highlight characters who have been known to enjoy a martini (or two) in their time," says curator Tory Turk.

Each session lasts an hour and 15 minutes and guests can sample three flights at the tasting bar, or miniature versions of martinis on arrival, showcasing the variables of the martini including: shaken vs stirred; a choice of vermouths, wet vs dry and different garnishes.

Claire Smith, head of mixology and spirit creation at Belvedere Vodka says: "We want to demystify the drink, helping people work out which martini suits their palate and teaching them that there really is a martini to suit everyone."

Tickets cost £15 per session, for more info visit www.belvederevodka.com/martinilegends

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