I GOT into a conversation about wine the other day; it’s not a rare occurrence for me. It concerned vino and food and how the two go hand in hand.

Indeed, in my house anyway, the two are almost inseparable. I rarely drink wine without food, other than when I am tasting.

There are a few occasions where food does not enter the equation though. Aperitifs, like Champagne, at pre-dinner receptions for example. But mainly I am thinking about sitting in the garden on a balmy summer’s evening – that’s a time to sip a wine on its own!

Of course some wines are eminently more suitable for this purpose than others. As a rule of thumb, I avoid those that are very dry or that have high levels of acidity, as these are more palatable with dinner. Here are three that I think are just right for the job.

Offering some serious value for money is Aldi “Exquisite Collection” Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013.

Forget the heavily wooded Aussie chardonnays of old; this is an un-oaked example, although it does spend time maturing on the yeasty lees to give some added complexity. It is fresh and nicely dry, with flavours of tropical and stone fruit, and mineral too.

Branded with sipping in the sun in mind is the latest addition to Miguel Torres Chile’s wine portfolio; Torres “Days of Summer” Muscat Reserva 2013.

Refreshing and quite dry, it’s a floral affair, with a perfectly balanced acidity and flavours of grape and tropical fruit.

Or splash out on a subtle and exceptionally elegant Provençal pink. Mirabeau “Pure” 2013, Côtes de Provence, is made using grenache, syrah and vermentino.

A very pale rosé, it suggests red summer fruits, strawberries and red cherry, with mineral notes and a lovely freshness. It’s the latest addition to the Mirabeau stable of wines produced by ex-pat Stephen Cronk.

Aldi “Exquisite Collection” Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013, £5.99 at Aldi 18/20

Miguel Torres “Days of Summer” Muscat Reserva 2013, RRP £7.49 at The Co-operative and Majestic 17/20

Mirabeau “Pure” 2013, Côtes de Provence, £12.99 from mirabeauwine.com 18/20

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