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WINE

picture is different. Yes, there's some very

good Pinot in and around Martinborough,

but Syrah is proving extremely successful,

especially in Hawke's Bay, where wines

can have fragrance and fruit reminiscent

of France's Rhône Valley. �ese two would

be perfect with ambitious barbecues.

Mission Estate Syrah 2014 (£10.95£13.50,

Le Bon Vin, The Wine Society)

Intense but always fresh, with a hint of

tar and toasty oak, and exotic aromas

of sandalwood and clove pepping up

the gentle but generous red berry and

blackcurrant flavours. Lovely juicy wine

that benefits from an hour or so in a jug

or decanter before serving.

Vidal Gimblett Gravels Reserve Syrah

2013 (£14.99-£16.99, Cambridge

Wine Merchants, The New Zealand

House of Wine)

2013 was a terrific year for Hawke's

Bay, and this shows through in the lush,

rounded berry, damson and blackberry

flavours tinged with plenty of spicy white

pepper character. Very tasty now, but has

the fresh acidity and ripe tannins to keep it

in fine fettle for another five years at least.

PROSECCO

I have a soft spot for Prosecco. It was what

my wife and I drank on the first night of

our honeymoon, on a terrace overlooking

the Grand Canal. Admittedly, most wines

would taste good in such a situation, but

the way in which we in the UK have been

guzzling Prosecco in recent years suggests

that many others have a taste for this

Italian sparkler. If you steer away from the

bottom end of the price range, you'll find

wines that have plenty of personality.

Taste the Di’erence Conegliano Prosecco

Brut 2015 (£10, Sainsbury's)

Classic gentle style, with soft baked apple

and peach character, a touch of sherbet

and a lively, dry finish. Good on its own,

but also a great base for Bellinis and other

sparkling cocktails.

Monticella Conegliano Prosecco

Superiore Extra Dry 2014

(£15, Marks & Spencer)

�is is rather classy, with a pumice-like

character alongside the ripe peachy

fruit and nutty flavours. Rounded and

concentrated, but with that dry stony

tang to provide freshness.

SOAVE

For many Brits, Soave represents the

low end of Italian wine. Yet while it's

true that there is a sea of dross out there,

navigate your way through it carefully

and you'll find some rather classy

whites based on the Garganega grape,

rather than propped up with a dollop of

Chardonnay (30 per cent is permitted

in the blends). As with many Italian

regions, those from the Classico zones

are generally a good step up from the

basic wines. �ese two are terrific - if

you're a fan of Albariño (and seafood),

you'll love them.

Prà Soave Classico 'Otto' 2015

(£11.60-£13.50 Field & Fawcett Wine

Merchants, Highbury Vintners, John

Hattersley Wines, The Secret Cellar)

Young and juicy, with a hint of spritz,

pithy orange zest and an almond

note, while the finish offers a touch of

creaminess but also a stony bite. Tasty

now, but feels like it will evolve nicely too.

Pieropan Soave Classico 2015

(£13.99, Valvona & Crolla, Wholefoods)

Takes a while to come out of its shell,

but it's worth the wait. Almonds,

peaches, citrus fruit and more, with floral

overtones and a taut mineral freshness,

this is seriously tasty wine with a very

promising future. As with the Prà,

don't overchill it.

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