Our new columnist Tristan Darby talks about the perfect wine for springtime sipping
My wine choices for April celebrate the change of season into warmer days, moving away from the hearty indulgences of fireside quaffers towards lighter, fresher wines for springtime sipping. The darling white grape of the moment for many people I meet is sauvignon blanc. Originating in France, sauvignon is now grown across the globe, from Patagonia to India. However, it’s the wines from Marlborough in New Zealand, and Sancerre in the French Loire region that enjoy the most popularity and fame – they are, however, distinctly different styles of the same grape.
I’m confident Domaine de Pierre, Touraine Sauvignon 2015 (Great Western Wine, £10.95) will unite fans of both styles. Well-made wines from Touraine in the Loire can offer superb value for money compared to their superstar neighbours in Sancerre and Pouilly Fume, and this delicious mouth filling wine doesn’t disappoint.
It delivers more depth of flavour than your average flinty, citrus and gooseberry style Sancerre, but at a better price point – it also has ripe fruit flavours and a delicious fresh green pea and herbal snap, but without hitting the heady heights of pungent, herbaceous and exotic tropical-fruited Marlborough sauvignon.
Try it with a goat’s cheese salad with rocket, beetroot, broad beans, asparagus and lemon oil dressing. It’s good too with chicken, pork, grilled fish, fish stews or seafood based risottos and pasta.
Fresh into Great Western Wine’s diverse and interesting range this month are the spectacular Spanish wines of Rioja’s Sierra Cantabria. I had a sneaky preview of them and was remarkably impressed by the Sierra Cantabria Rosé 2015 (GWW, £10.95).
Made from a blend of viura, tempranillo and garnacha (grenache) it’s a few quid cheaper than posh Provençal rosé, but every bit as good. Elegantly refined and dry, but bulging with satisfying fresh strawberry, raspberry and pomegranate flavours. Sit back, sip up and think of summer. Spot on with salmon, sea bass, salads, sushi, goats cheese and cured meats.
Planeta Plumbago 2014 (GWW, £13.50) is made in Sicily by a leading winemaking family, from nero d’avola, in a lighter fruitier style but with plenty of satisfying juicy plum, black cherry and blackcurrant flavours. It’s so smooth and soft, with a hint of savoury herbal notes. To my palate, this is the definition of perfect springtime sipping. Thinking of Easter, it’ll be cracking with spring lamb or a perfect weekday winner with Mediterranean vegetable dishes or pork chops.
My cheese of the month is gorgeously creamy and citrusy Monte Enebro from Castilla y Leon in Spain. It’s a great goat’s cheese to try with the sauvignon or rosé, from local online cheesemonger Pong (pongcheese.co.uk).
I’m hosting an artisan cheese and wine tasting with Pong at Great Western Wine on Wednesday 26 April. Visit: greatwineschool.co.uk to book tickets.