The best wines to celebrate spring sunshine | Alistair Gibson
We continue to live in strange times. But maybe just maybe, there is the glimmer of a little light at the end of the tunnel?
The vaccine roll-out continues apace; there is an end of lockdown at least in sight; and maybe with the start of March, there’s just a hint of spring in the air?
I lit my barbecue for the first time this year at the weekend and with the evenings becoming significantly lighter this month and hopefully a spell of brighter weather, it is surely the time to think of some spring wines?
The label of Purato Catarratto Pinot Grigio Terre Siciliane 2019, Organic (Abel & Cole £8.50, Ocado £7.99 on offer from £9.99 until March 16) certainly feels like a glimpse of spring.
It is a blend of Cararatto, which is an indigenous grape to Sicily and the more well-known pinot grigio. This wine is not only organic, but also carbon neutral and bottled in 80 per cent recycled glass.
It is very fresh with citrus blossom on the nose, followed by the palate with tropical fruit notes and some bright acidity. This would work really well with a selection of grilled vegetable antipasto or a simple garlic-infused seafood pasta dish.
I re-tasted Banfi La Pettegola Vermentino 2019, Toscana (Fareham Wine Cellar £15.75) during a Zoom tasting recently and was reminded what a gorgeous, summery wine this is.
Produced from vermentino, a grape that has yet to take its place fully in the mind of consumers but surely its time is coming, in southern Tuscany.
Made without the use of any oak, this has such an enticing bouquet of wild herbs, orchard fruit and some pink grapefruit, followed by a nicely textured palate with apricot and peach, lively acidity and very satisfying finish.
I could happily drink this wine as the sun went down or paired with herb gnocchi or a classic ‘spaghetti alle vongole’.
I’ve never tasted Crete’s liatiko grape before but was pleasantly surprised by Kompos Liatiko 2019, Karavitakis (The Wine Society £9.95). ‘Kompos’ means elegant in Greek, which describes this red wine very well.
Very pale in colour, indeed deceptively so, there are red currants, tangerine peel and a little spice on the nose. The palate is a little earthy with more red fruits, ripe tannins and some red fruit sweetness on the finish.
It does bear some resemblance to pinot noir and it’s great value at less than £10. Try chilling this and serve with pan-fried tuna or sea bass.