Spring has sprung, sort of. The clocks have changed.
As we slowly shake off the effects of the winter elements, we also mark a change of season in the world of wine, the warming heavy full bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec etc which kept us going during those snowy, frosty and stormy nights are now being replaced by chilled white, rose, and sparkling wine.
Our thoughts turn to the preparation for long summer evenings of barbeques`s, picnics, social gatherings, or just plain and simple sitting out on your patio. Here are some straight forward wines I enjoy drinking at this time of year - New World Sauvignon Blanc particularly from the New Zealand Marlborough region. These wines have fresh, zesty flavours on the palate with gooseberries, fresh grass, herbaceous on the nose, and is a perfect food match for salads, seafood, chicken dishes, and light Thai dishes.
Other good examples of Sauvignon Blancs are from Chile and the old world classic`s Sancerre and Pouilly Fume. Other white wines worth trying are Grillo or Garganega Pinot Grigio, which is dry, light bodied with apples and citrus fruit flavours, goes great with tomato based dishes, quiche, salads and fish.
Most people who drank the big oaked Chardonnays particularly from Australia with buttered toast, vanilla flavours have moved away in big numbers, as they tired of the sometimes overpowering oak flavour but Unoaked Chardonnay is one to try, it has no oak to mask the citrus aromas like melon and lime, and green apple flavours coming through on the nose and palate, other examples of Unoaked Chardonnay is Chablis, drier and steelier in style and flavour, is perfect with any shellfish particularly mussels, oysters and scallops.
How about something different to try like the Viognier grape, used in some Rhone white blends? It is also used in Southern regions of France, particularly the Languedoc region. There are some brilliant examples from Australia and California, they displays flavours and aromas of tropical fruits like peach and apricot, and a very versatile food match, which goes well with grilled and roast chicken and pork, seafood like cod, crab, lobster, and with mild curries.
Fancy a Rosé? Not the typical Californian type, people are familiar with, Australia does some really subtle rose, like Shiraz Rose, also their own unique grape Tarrango, its delicate and light bodied with cherry and raspberry aromas with berry fruits and a hint of spice on the palate, its goes well some Indian dishes, or if you prefer a little drier in style, perhaps a Rosé Anjou from The Loire region in France made from the Cabernet grape, goes well with summer salads, salmon and pizza.
And finally onto sparkling's, Italian Prosecco has become very popular sparkling wine over the last few years, its light and fruity and low in alcohol, ideal weekday evening tipple on the patio, and you can have a clear head next morning! Cava is another great style sparkling wine, this time from Spain.
You can of course return to the red wine when the BBQ is taken out of the shed, new world Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are a great compliment to the steaks and burgers coming off the grill, as is a Malbec from Argentina.
Enjoy and savour those social occasions and the long warm evenings with friends and family, all we need now is SUNSHINE.