Following the wonderful weather over Easter, it feels as though spring is on its way. Our menus are changing, our plates full of salads, bar-b-que meats and asparagus. There's the heady scent of blossom and cut grass in the air. Here are three wines to help you celebrate spring, as I recommended on BBC Wiltshire's "Wines for the Weekend" this week.
Wine One - Waitrose label Grüner Veltliner (£7.99)
Our first recommendation comes from Austria where the Gruner Veltliner grape is the most widely planted, and you'll find the wine as a staple on wine lists everywhere across Austria as well as Slovakia and Hungary.
Gruner Veltliner grapes grown in the Danube-side vineyards west of Vienna can produce high quality, age-able wines. Jancis Robinson MW pitted some of these premium wines against the expensive chardonnays of Burgundy in a blind tasting session in 2002 and the Grüner Veltliners came out top. This example from Waitrose (Buy it here) may not be quite the same quality (or price tag!) but is a solid introduction to the grape.
It's perfect for spring drinking with its crisp, fresh flavours of lime and peach, with a hint of pepper and a slight spritz - match it with the grassy nature of asparagus, or the soft spice of Thai cuisine.
Wine Two - Vignobles Rousselet Pinot Noir, Aldi, £4.79
If you're a red wine fan, then spring is a time for the light reds. Beaujolais or pinot noir is ideal, and both can be chilled down as the weather gets warmer without compromising the fruity flavours.
My eye was caught by a French pinot noir on the Aldi website that scored 4.6 stars (out of 5) based on nearly 300 reviews. Whats more, it's under a fiver! Normally I would steer clear of wines at this price point, as once taxes and costs of packaging and shipping are taken off, there's only £1 or so left for the wine itself.
It is just a "Vin de France" meaning that the grapes could have been sourced from anywhere in France, but wherever the grapes have come from, they have made a delicious wine! It's nothing deep and complex, but rounded and enjoyable, with a versatility when it comes to pairing with food. (Alternatively it doesn't need food and would be perfectly gluggable on its own.)
Wine three - Halcyon Days sparkling rosé, Bothy Vineyard, Oxfordshire (£18)
English wines are a perfect pairing for spring, as they tend to be light and fruity with high acidity (which makes them mouth watering - literally!). I could have picked any English wine as my choice this week, but I particularly like the name of this sparkling rosé - Halcyon Days - which conjures up a feeling of idyllic warm days ahead.
You won't find many English wines on the mainstream supermarket shelves, although Waitrose carry some of the larger names - such as Bolney estate, Hush Heath, Nyetimber and Camel Valley. Local farm shops, however, tend to stock wines from the local vineyards, or you can get them at the vineyard if they have a cellar door shop, or events through the year.
Bothy Vineyard (just to the east of Faringdon) has an English food and wine festival on 8th June 2019 - more details on their website. This rosé is very dry, but remains pleasantly fruity with cherry notes, and aromas and taste of yeasty brioche. The bubbles go on forever, and this wine would be great to share with friends over nibbles or aperitifs for a special occasion.