The Honest Grapes Falstaff Case: Perfect Summer Drinking

The inaugural Honest Grapes Falstaff Case now on offer.

© photo provided

The inaugural Honest Grapes Falstaff Case now on offer.

The inaugural Honest Grapes Falstaff Case now on offer.

© photo provided The Honest Grapes Falstaff Case: Perfect Summer Drinking The inaugural Falstaff mixed case was picked by Anne Krebiehl MW at the Honest Grapes Summer Party jointly hosted by Falstaff and Honest Grapes. Here she explains her picks.

I knew that my task for the evening on that that wonderfully lively summer party was tasting my way through the wines in order to pick a perfect case for summer sipping. With more than 30 wines on offer, that was no easy task – delicious wines abounded.

Occasion and instinct

So what to do? How to whittle down so many wines? I had scribbled copious notes on my tasting sheet and chosen way more than the number I had been asked to nominate. I went back to re-taste (and indeed enjoy) some of the wines. Then I made the decision. There should be something for every occasion: refreshing weekday wine that does not break the bank, a wine that could be wheeled out for entertaining and fit with summer food – but would of course be delish when no guests were present, too, reds that would benefit from being slightly chilled…that there had to be fizz just goes without saying. No fridge should be without a constant supply of bubbles, ever ready, to be popped open when needed.


Those who know me know that I am an ardent consumer of traditional method sparkling wines – i.e. bottle-fermented fizz. So of course, there needed to be bubbles – being a lover of freshness it is clear that I gravitate to both the English sparklers and the Champagnes: the Pol Couronne because it simply is spectacular value, with wonderful brioche and lemon notes, beating a number of grandes marques on the flavour front. That I chose Wiston Estate is clear: it is grown by the lovely Goring family on the chalky slopes of the South Downs and simply among the best that this island has to offer.

The whites

Here the choice was tricky: would I go for the quintessential dry Riesling or the smoky, incisive Assyrtiko – both grapes are absolute stars on sweltering days. In the end I opted for Assyrtiko. In my notes I had underscored two adjectives: “salty” and “sophisticated.” The other white is quite different, and as much of an adult wine as the Assyrtiko:  the Semillon grown by the Henschke family in Eden Valley. With just a few years of bottle age, this white already has immense complexity and shines with its waxy texture that is countered by absolute freshness. Neither of these wines are for absentminded sipping, no, they demand your attention but will replay you with layer upon layer of pleasure and nuance.

The reds

One guest on the evening remarked to me how he had been disappointed to find the Chianti so pale and this sparked a great conversation: I love paler, translucent reds and when a Chianti is paler, I know that the key grape variety, Sangiovese, speaks loudest. This is just what I want: Sangiovese has immense freshness and a wonderful note of tart Morello cherries and here, in the wonderfully slender Castello di Romitorio Chianti, what I love was abundant. It is the perfect red wine to serve slightly chilled, a red for summer evenings. And of course, there had to be a Pinot Noir – it is the grape that I can never get enough of. It is now a totally global player and this one, by Domaine Carneros from vineyards cooled by the Pacific in California, is a picture of elegance. It was made with a light touch. Here the adjectives I underscored were “gentle” and “wonderful.”

So this is how our inaugural case came to be: I followed my instinct and put together what I would adore to drink. It is on offer now via the Honest Grapes website and every order will come with our brand-new summer issue – hot off the press and brimming with all things wine, food and travel!