There are other summer reds, but few hit the spot as well as a good Beaujolais and I'm especially pleased to see a beautifully aromatic 2017 Fleurie. Last year was a cruel one for Fleurie's vignerons (and neighbouring Moulin-à-Vent's): for the second year running, hail tore through the vineyards, last year compounded by an accompanying mini tornado (there's more in my Beaujolais blog written after I visited last July). This wine, from vines that escaped the devastation, is brimful of floral perfume, black fruit, sappy freshness and silky-soft texture and, as with all Beaujolais Crus (the top ten villages), is versatile with food. It will cut the richness of a cassoulet as effortlessly as it will partner salmon, tuna, chicken, quail, charcuterie, sausages, salads and vegetables. A bit of background on the producer: Dominique Piron, who I visited last year at Domaines Piron in Morgon Côte de Py and where I tasted, among others, a 1991 Morgon (delicate, lively, still sweet-fruited), is a fourteenth-generation grower rooted in the Crus. His first known ancestor was born around 1590 in Morgon. Today, as well as vineyards there and in Fleurie, he has vineyards in six of the other ten Crus.
Maison Dominique Piron Fleurie 2017, Beaujolais, France
£14.49, or £12.99 in any mix of 12, Laithwaites