Drinks Cabinet: Wines to celebrate the arrival of spring
With the changing of the seasons, a spring cellar selection should include some good, well-made wines for everyday drinking, some trendy weekend warriors and some chic labels for a sense of occasion.
Here are some suggestions to raise a glass to springtime ...
A south of France speciality that's appearing increasingly more on fashionable wine lists, picpoul is a fresh, breezy white with cleansing acidity that works really well with shellfish. From one of the Rhone Valley's key winemakers, Jean-Luc Colombo's Les Girelles Picpoul De Pinet 2014, France (£9.99, henningswine.co.uk) is especially good. Dry, well rounded and delightfully refreshing, white blossom on the nose leads to plenty of ripe fruity red apple and citrus flavours with bright acidity on the finish.
Like a drop of sunshine, Esk Valley Verdelho 2014, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (£11.99, cambridgewine.com) is traditionally a Portuguese variety from the island of Madeira that's expanded to the New World. A dry, rich, aromatic style, it exhibits lovely lime-scented, peach and musk-like aromas with weight and texture on the palate with an upbeat freshness and perfectly balanced acidity on the finish.
Rising to the A-list, albarino is Spain's trendy white wine from Galicia (on the north-west coast) and The Society's Exhibition Albarino, Rias Baixas 2013, Spain (£12.95, thewinesociety.com) is a good introduction to this fresh, minerally white with a salty tang that works so well with seafood. With apple and peachy aromas and wet stone fruit characters, the citrus fruits are underpinned by refreshing acidity, ending with zesty lime and a saline note.
Meanwhile, godello from Valdeorras, also in the fertile north-west of the country, shares the same minerality but with more weight and body. An excellent example, you can't go wrong with Louro do Bolo, Bodegas Rafael Palacios 2013, Valdeorras, Spain (£16.95, bbr.com). Utterly delicious, it may quickly disappear before you've had time to consider the delicate floral bouquet followed by an unexpectedly complex, tropical palate with wonderful peaches and pear flavours, underlying minerality and citrus accents on the finish.
A good-time wine that leaves you wishing it was produced in larger quantities (and less expensive), Beaujolais-Blanc Clos de Rochebonne Chateau Thivin 2013, France (£14.57, christopherpiperwines.co.uk) is a white beaujolais made from chardonnay and is as easy to wash down as the more familiar, light fruity reds from the same region. A smooth, classy white with a blossomy nose and pure orchard fruits with plenty of freshness and charm, there's also richness and depth from barrel ageing.
One of Chile's pioneers, Errazuriz have taken three classic Rhone Valley grapes and created a wine that's deliciously different. Errazuriz The Blend (White) 2011, Aconcagua Valley, Chile (£18.49, thewinereserve.co.uk) is a tantalizing trio of roussanne, marsanne and viognier that really delivers. The roussanne brings nectar, sweetness and a honeyed richness, while the marsanne provides minerality and balances the apricot and honey flavours with refreshing acidity and the viognier lends a touch of richness and perfume to the plump fruit.