Eight great summer wines selected by Zack Saghir, Head Sommelier at Roux at the Landau
Zack Saghir with almost 30 years in the business is one of the most well respected sommeliers in London, credited with creating an exceptional wine menu, which takes a snapshot of the 21st century fine wine production. Here Zack, together with Michel Roux Jr, select eight varieties of wine to see you through the summer months.
Pinot Blanc, Leon Beyer, Alsace, France
Pinot Blanc Alsace, the Queen Mother would probably have loved something like this. It has a very citrus, floral flavour, with a hint of butter. It is medium bodied and is best served with any shellfish. I often recommend this with marinated salmon, maybe a shellfish starter or sometimes if someone doesn’t like sweet wine I would recommend this to go with foie gras. This one is one of the recent additions to Michel’s wine list.
Pinot Gris Astroble, Marlborough, New Zealand
This is 300% Pinot from the Marlborough region and it is high in alcohol and low in acidity, a very easy drinking wine. This is what I’m talking about in the New World wines, it’s easy drinking, easy on the palette. This one has a lot of mineral and works well with shellfish and fish dishes, particularly white fish and red mullet.
Menetou-Salon Rosé, Loir, France
This rosé from the Loire has a strawberry aroma, with berries and oak, still from fermentation, with a sharp and fruity finish. This is a very summery, light wine. The Mentou-Salon is delicious served with canapés, chicken and other white meat dishes and salads.
Château Le Chec, Bordeaux France
This is a heavy white Bordeaux, with a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, oaked. There is a lot of vanilla, citrus fruit and grapefruit, a medium-dry wine, which I’d recommend this summer served with rich dishes, such as smoked salmon or a fish dish in a sauce, however it works with a wide variety of dishes.
Pernand Vergelesses, Corton Burgundy, France
This is typical of the old style Burgundy Pinot Noir, which has recently been added to Michel’s list. This goes with any dish, meat, beef, game and rich meats. What most people don’t realise is that it can even go with fish dishes. A lot of people who don’t drink white wine like this with heavy, oily fish.
St Joseph Rouge J.L. Chave, Rhone, France
The St Joseph is produced by one of the best winemakers in the Rhone Valley, J.L Chave and it is always very popular. It is made of 100% Syrah. A very spicy wine, typical of the Rhone Valley, it’s full of fruit. I recommend this with game and meat dishes, rich in flavour from north of the Rhone.
Te Tera Pinot Noir, Martinborough, New Zealand
A New World Pinot Noir, this is completely different from the Burgundy Pinot Noir. Like they say, Pinot Noir from New Zealand is the second best after the Burgundy! It’s New World, so its low in acidity, high in alcohol. I have never seen anyone serve New World wines in France, but recently, I have heard a lot of people say that they are starting to serve the Pinot Noir. It is still less expensive than the Old World. This Pinot Noir is very easy on the palette, which is why it appeals to so many peoples taste. I recommend this with meat, or if you like, chill this one in an ice bucket for 10 minutes and have it with fish.
Geyserville, Paul Draper, Sonoma, California
The Geyserville is from the Ridge Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one of the best vineyards and winemakers in California. This is a blend of Zinfandel, Carignan and Petite Syrah. It is a very rich and heavy wine and it appeals to many people, especially as it goes with any meat dishes, including beef and lamb.
Old World versus New
We still get the most requests for Old World wines, but we get a lot of requests for New World wines too and we often try and convert them to Old World.
Just the other day we had an Australian guest and he ordered a very powerful Shiraz. I asked him if he had always drunk this in Australia and would he like to try something different, something Old World? He said, ‘No, I’ve been living in England for three years and I miss my heavy Shiraz from Australia.’
As long as the wine is a good one, I keep an open mind but I’m a big fan of the Old World style. If I drink the New World wines, the New Zealand whites and a Pinot Noir. New Zealand South Island wines from Marlborough and the Sauvignon Blanc from the North Island near Wellington in Martinborough are very good wines.
Screw top versus cork
The long running battle between the screw top versus corked wine bottle is up there with the great Old versus New World wine debate. It is the newer wines that are more compatible with screw tops, even some producers in France have begun doing this. xxxxxx, which is a very expensive white wine that we have, has a screw top.
Older wines and Vintages will not convert to screw tops. A screw top just will not work with anything that will age over 10 or 20 years. In the ‘70s, Chateau O’Brien conducted an experiment on a screw top, and they left it for just under 10 years. What happened was, the rubber inside the screw top deteriorated, so this is why corks are always used with older wines.