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SWA Summer Menu

This time last year we thought we only had Brexit to worry about, little did we know what was around the corner waiting for us in 2020. Holidays abroad and long walks on sandy beaches have been replaced with back garden BBQs and home-made meals enjoyed alongside virtual pub quizzes.

Thankfully, our love of a good glass of wine never subsided throughout it all. As the world starts to recover and businesses begin to open again, here’s what we (the SWA team) will be drinking and eating this summer. Behold, our annual SWA Summer Menu.

Fish by Micaela Martins Ferreira – SWA competition director

Summer to me means fish, in any shape or form! The best option is always grilled after a nice morning by the beach. There’s not much effort needed for this dish, just put the grill on and season the fresh fish with salt. Then place an easy, fresh white wine in the fridge/freezer (depending on the outside temperature). I like Mantlerhof, Weitgasse, Grüner Veltliner 2018 from Kremstal, Austria. It has green fruit, white pepper and citrus aromas leading to a ripe and fruit-rich palate. Its refreshing acidity makes it the perfect match for oily fish, and in 20 minutes your meal is ready - if you have an expert griller! (£11.42, Bibendum

However, the option to go to a restaurant, especially during the current times when we need to support our industry, is always very appealing during summer. In particular in the evening, when I can enjoy a lovely fish meal with all the add-ons, including a nice bottle of Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne, Blanc de Blancs, Brut 2008. It is an extremely elegant champagne, lean and delicate, with a creamy texture making for a perfect summer supper. (£107.80, Hatch Mansfield Matthew Clark

Steak by Ed Warr – SWA event producer

Summer in the UK... you have got to make hay when the sun shines this means having a wine that can step up and perform every time you fire up that BBQ. The meat may change but with Gold medal-winning Viña Ventisquero Vertice 2017 from Chile the wine doesn’t need to. Its bold fruit and smooth tannins help it partner with most red meats you can throw at it, all lovingly charred by moi. (£13.80, Kingsland


Chargrilled vegetable salads by Amy Seabrook – SWA head of marketing

Throwing things together to make delicious salads is one of my favourite things to do in the summer months. From fresh aubergines and courgettes to peppers and tomatoes, anything you can pick from the garden and lightly chargrill on a warm day. SWA Gold and Critics’ Choice winner, Dry Creek, Heritage, Zinfandel 2017 from California is a brilliant option for accompanying this. It’s well structured, gentle on the nose and has a lovely savoury finish, perfect for sipping al fresco. (£18.07, Bibendum 

Sea bass with tomato and Kalamata olives by Kristen Dougall – SWA marketing manager

The smell of fresh basil always takes me right back to my Nonna and Nonno’s place in Calabria, southern Italy, so whenever I make this sea bass dish with tomato, Kalamata olives and herb salsa it always brings a smile to my face. The salsa is only lightly warmed to allow the flavours to mingle, making it perfect for a warm summer’s evening. This dish works wonderfully with a crisp, dry white wine that cuts through the oily fish. The lovely minerality in Fazi Battaglia’s Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Classico Superiore 2019 from Marche, Italy, complements the dish perfectly. This Gold medal winner has enough weight to stand up against the rich olives, and the sweet acidity from the tomatoes balances the creamy edge of the Verdicchio. This dish and wine will transport you to the Mediterranean, as SWA team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW observed, this wine is 'complex and multidimensional, and convincingly Italian!' Buon appetito! (£10.27, Entoria&Coe

Chippy omelette by Mady Lawes – SWA content manager

I’m sure you’re wondering “What the heck is a chippy omelette?” Well, let me enlighten you... it’s one of these…  

Born from a love of all Spanish flavours and a hatred of food waste, this monstrosity is probably the best thing you could ever do with leftover chips. The idea is that you cut up the leftover chips and soak them in a couple of whipped up eggs, dash of milk and a dollop of Greek yoghurt. Then chop up any leftover veg; the ideal would be a red pepper, tomato, red onion, and I know it’s not a vegetable, but the smallest bit of chorizo in this dish really gets the flavours moving.

When cooking, start with a really hot oven proof frying pan. Fry the chorizo in a generous glug of oil until the oil seasons the pan. Add the veg and then add the chippy eggy mixture. You want to listen for that instant sizzle and bubble from the eggs when they hit the pan. Turn the temp right down and fry for 2 mins. Then bung under the grill for about 8 mins or until brownish on top.

Serve with rocket salad and a glass of Chardonnay. I recommend Kleine Zalze, Cleefs, Reserve Collection, Chardonnay 2019 from Western Cape, South Africa. A Gold medallist which also won a By the Glass medal in this year’s awards. “It’s a fresher style, with a good amount of acidity, notes of apples and ripe pears, and a pleasant finish” said SWA judge Alonso Abed, Trivet. “An easy-drinking wine with a creamy palate showing some cured lemon and lime notes” described SWA senior judge, Tanguy Martin, Blandford Comptoir. Perfect for a late Saturday lazy brunch and using up the leftover chips brought home from being out-out the night before. (£7.26, Hatch Mansfield 

Caprese salad by Francesca Turra – SWA sales executive

Caprese salad is one of my favourite summer foods that transports me back home. It’s a simple Italian salad, made of sliced fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and sweet basil, seasoned with salt and olive oil, occasionally paired with rocket. Like Margherita pizza, it features the colours of the Italian flag: green, white and red. It’s always a delight to my eyes.

The dish works perfectly with rosé champagne and one of my favourites is Bernard Remy, Brut Rosé NV from Champagne, France, which won a Bronze medal at this year’s SWA. "A great rosé champagne, with good acidity on a fruity palate with some pink grapefruit notes" said SWA team leader, Lionel Periner. "This is fresh, ripe and round, with a fine mousse and good weight - a sparkling that could be paired with a whole meal. It's elegant and complex, and with enough body to pair with white meat dishes" noted SWA senior judge, Diana Rollan, D&D London. (£26.47, Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Welsh roast hogget by
Robyn BlackImbibe editor in chief

Instead of jet setting off to sunny Spain this summer I’ll be returning to the Land Of My Fathers for a couple of weeks in wet west Wales instead and that means one thing – lamb (I love a cliché). Better still hogget though, smeared in mushed up anchovies, stabbed with garlic and barbecued over wood, of course, but also with lashings of gravy on Sundays (gravy for us Welsh is practically a religion, none of this thin English dribble they have the cheek to call gravy on the other side of the border). I shall eschew mint sauce in favour of redcurrant jelly and pair it with Gold medal winning Dragon Tree, a 2016 Cape blend from South African producer Flagstone, which I have chosen for its touch of smokiness, herbal, bramble and redcurrant notes. What’s that? Was the fact it has Dragon in the name also a factor? Wrth cwrs! (£10.57, Matthew Clark

Piadina by
Jacopo MazzeoImbibe news editor

For someone who grew up in Italy's Emilia-Romagna like myself, summer food means one thing: Piadina. When it comes to Romagna, this is the Adriatic Riviera’s comfort food par excellence.

It’s basically a flat bread, pretty quick to prepare, made with flour, water, lard (yes, lard), salt and a bit of bicarbonate. Once cooked, you just fold it over and stuff it with whatever you like. Some of my favourite traditional stuffings are Parma ham and rocket; grilled sausages and mixed grilled veggies (usually aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes); or simply some salami, thinly sliced.

I don’t mind eating lard-based bread stuffed with grilled sausages when it’s 38°C outside, but the wine to go with it must be cool and crisp. That’s why Durigutti’s Gold winning Proyecto Las Compuertas Criolla Parral 2019 from Mendoza, Argentina is my pick. It’s a beautifully vibrant chillable red, with enough tannin and substance to support the meat, but with a bright red berry crispness to help refresh the palate after every sip. (£14.38, Bibendum