Mother’s Day, Fairtrade and something sparklie

THAT time of year again. Mother’s Day around the corner and could that sunshine be hinting at spring in the air?

It goes without saying you should be looking to treat mum this weekend.

As it’s still Fairtrade Fortnight how about a bottle of sparklie, pink of course.

The Co-operative Fairtrade Sparkling Rosé 2012 is lively from the top to the bottom of the glass with loads of strawberry and bright summer fruits. Very drinkable.

At £6.39 (reduced from £7.99 until March 12), it’s not too expensive if little piggy banks need to share their resources for mum’s special day. Plus, communities in South Africa making this wine for the Co-op – who strongly champion Fairtrade – will benefit.

Meantime, as the sun shone this week, albeit with crispy cold edges, I was excited that Spring is only two weeks away. I already have eyes on my first wine to sip out in the garden, with or without scarf and mitts.

Contero Brachetto d'Acqui 2012 wine review
Contero Brachetto d’Acqui 2012

Contero Brachetto d’Acqui 2012 is a red Italian fizz with whispers of raspberries and black fruit running through it – a delicious wine with an “mmmmm” treat factor and an abv of just 5.5%.

It is made in Piedmonte in north Italy – also the home of Moscato d’Asti – from the black-skinned Italian grape Brachetto and is a lovely new sweet wine to discover.

The 2012 vintage has an RRP of £17.99 (£10.99 per half bottle) and can be ordered through Vinea in Liverpool (0151 707 8962) or bought online from The Wine Society (www.thewinesociety.com). I would normally be dismissive of a wine with such a low abv but once tried, well, I’m glad to say I did. One glass is not enough.

Think of the treat factor then move on to the diet factor. It’s a trend that continues to grow – wines specifically made for the “low alcohol” and “diet” market. I rebel against what I see as these “contrived” wines.

McWilliams HarmonyAustralian winery McWilliam’s has launched Harmony, a range of wines at 8% and 9% abv endorsed by Weight Watchers. Both are £6.99 in Sainsbury until March 26.

If you’re a WW dieter, you’ll want to know that there’s two points per 125ml glass.

I pestered girlie friends to try Harmony Semillon Sauvignon Blanc with cynical old me. They liked it. They enjoyed its freshness but would have liked more of a fruity kick. For me, it lacked depth and finesse of flavour. But what do I know.?

Also in my glass … Domäne Wachau Terraces Grüner Veltliner Wachau (£7.39 at www.waitrosedirect.com until March 12). This is a gold medal winner from the 2012 International Wine Challenge when judges admired its aromas of “tea leaf” and “good depth of citrus fruit” on the palate.

I picked out pecks of liquorice and even a little aniseed from this Austrian wine.

It is one of several wines featured in Wine Relief as part of this year’s Comic Relief.

Oddbins, Laithwaite’s, Waitrose, Selfridges, Marks & Spencer, Virgin Wines and Majestic are donating 10% of the retail price of selected wines to Comic Relief until Red Nose Day – that’s next Friday, March 15. Online retailer Naked Wines is donating 15%.

Wine Relief has raised over £4m since 1999. If you want to enjoy wine and help Comic Relief, check out the wine list at www.rednoseday.com

First published in the Liverpool Post on March 7 2013