My idea of a perfect summer holiday involves getting in the car and driving to France, Italy or Spain for sunshine, outdoors living and lovely food and wine plus a bit of exploring and cultural history.
Since that was never really a serious option this year, I spent time with he family discovering new parts of our home country, even if they are more famous for their beers, rainy weather and seal rather than sun-kissed beaches, yachts and dusty lavender scents.
However, being unable to drive to sunnier climes doesn't have to mean no foreign-holiday vibes; you just need to be more imaginative about arranging it all from home. And be prepared to eat indoors.
The Loire is home to impressive chateaux and is an easy top-over on the way south from Calais.
Tesco Finest Pouilly Fume 2020 (£13)
temperature controlled fermentation for aromatics, followed by 6-12 month fine lees ageing for savoury complexity
aromatic and musky-pungent; fresh gooseberry, melon, white stone fruit and citrussy lime with creamy minerality; intense adept and concentrated.
Match with a goat's chees tart starter, herby pork terrine or white fish in a parsley broth.
Gavi is made from the Cortese grape in Italy's north west region of Piedmont, a region which includes the city of Turin and the foothills of the alps, where there are truffles and game to be found.
Think of Gavi as akin to an entry-level white Burgundy and you won't go far wrong - a versatile, and food-friendly relatively neutral wine.
Tesco Finest Gavi 2020 (£8.50)
This wine sees some old oak and has a little lees aging for complexity.
floral and citrussy; apples and pears, white stone fruits and sherbetty citrus freshness with good underpinnings and savouriness. Clean, pure and elegant.
Very Good and Good Value.
Match with a range of starters, meaty white fish such as sea bass or roast pork; also lighter game such as guinea fowl or partridge.
High-altitude oak-aged Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero. Local foods here include roast veal or lamb, roast suckling pig, morcilla (black pudding), roasted meat with wine, ox steak with garlic, chorizo omelette and rabbit.
Tesco Finest Ribera Del Duero, 2019 (£12)
darkly fruited, oaky spice, pencil shavings and florality; inky, intense and concentrated yet very fresh and structured; ripe dark berry fruits, liquorice and sweet vanilla spice; fleshy yet with a muscular core.
Match with char-grilled red meats, roast lamb or grilled portobello mushrooms
Joanna Simon on the Ribera del Duero: WINE OF THE WEEK: Finest Ebeia Ribera del Duero 2018, Spain (joannasimon.com)
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