Be brave and discover new wines '“ Alistair GibsonÂ
As I've said often in this column,Â the best way to broaden your knowledge andÂ discover new wines is to attend an organised tasting or maybe anÂ in-store tasting, which are often organised in supermarkets or at independent wineÂ merchants.
Last weekend I was part of the Grape Escape in Emsworth, where aÂ group of local wine merchants, as well as some of Hampshire's finest producers ofÂ sparkling wine, came together to showcase more than 40 wines for members of the public to taste in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
It is always fascinating listening toÂ consumers giveÂ their thoughts on a wine that you've just poured into their glass.
OftenÂ the same wine will bring out opposite reactions in two different people who happen to be tasting the wine at the same time.
The world would be a very dull place indeed if we all liked the same thing, and as I said repeatedly over the weekend, if we all enjoyed the same wine, there would only be two in the world '“ one red, one white!
And that surely is one of the great joys of wine, the choice is almost endless, the variations in terms of different grape varieties or regions of production seems to growÂ almost by the day, but we don't necessarily have to enjoy the same style of wine.
As longÂ as the wine is not faulty there isn'tÂ a right or wrong answer, so don't be afraid to tryÂ something new, you never know, you may enjoy it.
So here are a few wines to think about this week.
Sauvignon blanc is now widely associated with New Zealand but how about a sauvignon blanc from Bordeaux, where it's been planted for many years without quite the fanfare of its Kiwi cousin.
Dourthe 'Terroirs d'Exception' Roqueblanche Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Bordeaux (Waitrose Â£9.49) takes its name from the limestone soil '“ roqueblancheÂ means white rock '“ that the vineyards are planted in.
This has a really appealing nose with freshly squeezed lime, some fresh cut grass and richer tropical fruitsÂ in the background, the palate shows some minerals and more zesty citrus fruit before a niceÂ crisp, long finish.
This is very modern winemaking and I think very good value, especiallyÂ compared to many of the intro-level New ZealandÂ sauvignon blancs currently crowdingÂ the supermarket shelves.
Great as an aperitif or try match with some goatÂ cheese orÂ fresh crab.
Thistledown Wines Cunning Plan Shiraz 2015, Langhorne Creek (Hermitage Cellars Â£11.50 but currently on offer at Â£9.99) is one of those wines that caused much debate over the weekend.
Do we still enjoy Australian shiraz? Personally, I think this wine works really well, and surely if you are a Blackadder fan it has to have a place in your wine rack.
The wine spends 10 months in oak barrels, a small proportion ofÂ which are new and the resulting wine has a deep colour and offers dark plum andÂ blackberry fruit, mocha and spice on the nose, followed by more dark fruits, soft tanninsÂ and a lovely plushness on the palate without ever becoming over-heavy.
Great value andÂ worked fantastically with a ribeye steak when the weekend was finished.Â