TO WELCOME the first day of spring (March 20), and kick-start this glorious time of year, dusting down the shelves and increasing your cellar selection with some refreshing wines is a marvellous way to perk up the palate.
Highly appealing and in tune with the equinox, try this fragrant sparkler, Pommery Springtime Brut Rose NV (£38.20, House of Fraser).
The delicate bubbles sing from the glass and the lipstick pink label makes it a hot favourite in the cellar master’s beauty parade. Fruity with good acidity, it’s a perfect aperitif with seafood snacks.
Pretty and seasonal, you don’t have to be a fan of rose to enjoy these two lovely wines.
Try ES Chilean Cabernet Rose (£6.38, Asda), light with subtle fruit flavours and enough body to be satisfying, it’s a perfect match with salmon fishcakes and salad.
Alternatively, the Spanish gem Cillar de Silos Rosado 2009 (£10.20, bbr.com) pairs beautifully with warm goat’s cheese salad. 100% tempranillo, the lollipop colour indicates a full-flavoured rose with vibrant red berry fruit, good acidity and good length.
From blushing beauties to pale and interesting, try Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc (£7.30, Tesco), New Zealand. A zesty mid-week drinker with intense herbal notes and bursting with pineapple and a medley of citrus fruit flavours, it’s ideal with a posh prawn cocktail, or lemon chicken salad if you’re counting the calories.
For last-minute lunch wines to enjoy with a blast of fresh air on a sunny terrace, the UK’s largest group of neighbourhood store has some spring offers up for grabs. Try Spar’s Valencia Medium White (£4.39 or three for £10, Spar, until March 30). Lively and juicy with a distinctive fruit tree on the label, it’s not bad with a huge bowl of moules mariniere.
A notch up the scale, the floral aromas and apricot fruits of a golden viognier always make me think of spring flowers. This northern Rhone variety thrives in a warm climate and South America is producing some terrific examples. Try Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier 2009 (£8.50, www.stonevine.co.uk), Chile. Crisp, yet rich with the heady scent of peaches and apricot plus the slightest hint of ginger, it’s a classy wine to serve with delicate Thai dishes.
Red lovers who warm to a good claret this time of year to complement spring lamb should try the reasonably priced Calvet Reserve AC Bordeaux 2009 (£8.19, Morrisons). A blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon, it’s dense with plum and blackcurrant fruit and silky textured tannins. A noteworthy glass with a ripe brie or camembert.
You could also try New World favourite Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2009 (£9.99, Tesco). Light and easy-going, this fresh and fruity crowd pleaser is packed with dark cherry fruit that leaps from the glass, along with pleasantly smooth tannins and a spicy element for some extra zip.