Viognier’s the essence of spring

Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Well, the clocks have changed, spring certainly seems to have arrived and with it we can turn our thoughts to some wines for warmer days.

The one grape variety that always reminds of this time of year is viognier. It leaps out of the glass with an almost heady mixture of peach and apricot blossom together with notes of spices and sometimes honey, almost the very essence of spring.

A difficult grape to grow, its heartland is in the Northern Rhone Valley but you can find good examples in the South of France, Australia, South Africa and Chile. It works really well with Thai-style dishes and seafood.

TOP TIPPLE

Yali Viognier 2010, Colchagua Valley

A fresh nose with orange blossom and tropical fruits. No great complexity but good value.

Majestic £7.99, but buy 2 for £5.99 each until May 2