The Raise a Glass feature is published every week in several regional newspapers … here’s one from the end of April 2021 when the garden bench was tested for wine durability with spring red wines.
There’s nothing more uplifting than sunshine and bluebells and daffodils and garden benches as the sun dips down after a day of home working.
The bench has seen a fair bit of me (and my daughter) in recent early evenings as we’ve welcomed the gathering warmth of the season.
We’ve been joined by the dog, blue tits and the occasional glass of red.
Here’s some of them
Bosman Nero (RRP £12, Sainsbury’s) is a very nice light-drinking style for spring. It’s a vibrant ruby colour, but is translucent and elegant; one of those wines you can see through.
It’s the first South African wine to use the native Sicilian grape variety Nero d’Avola.
The Bosman producers travelled to Sicily in 2004 and took back cuttings of Nero d’Avola to Wellington (about an hour from Cape Town).
I’m very glad they did. I really enjoyed this vibrant, drinkable, fruit-driven wine with its flavours of cherry, redcurrant and raspberry.
Spring red wines from the Loire
One of my favourite red grapes, gamay, creates my next light springtime red.
The grape is at the heart of Beaujolais red wines and it is also found in the Loire Valley.
Touraine Gamay, Domaine Roc de Châteauvieux, 2019 (£9.99, or £8.99 in a buy six deal at Majestic) is the wine of which I speak.
In fact it’s one of a trio of Loire Valley red wines which have been taste-tested on the garden bench.
The gamay was a treat with a late supper of lamb steaks.
It nudged its softly-spoken characteristics of raspberry, cherry and vanilla towards us and we welcomed it happily.
I adored this next wine, Saumur Rouge, Cave des Vignerons de Saumur Robert & Marcel, 2018 (Yapp Brothers, £11.25).
As I kept saying I liked it so much, I occasionally forgot to sip it. My daughter sneaked ahead on the wine pouring front.
But who could blame her.
Red berry vibes are a delight
It was delicious. Cabernet franc delivers the wine’s silky, supple red fruit characteristics, which are edged by a dash of spice.
My final Loire red was this one: Anjou Rouge, Sur La Butte, Château de Plaisance, 2019 (Lea & Sandeman, £19.50).
This was my third Loire wine undergoing the garden bench test in recent springtime weeks.
It’s a class act of a wine which very much delivers another red berry vibe, but with more ripe pudding concentration and a freshening of acidity.
First published in UK regional newspapers including:
Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo –South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette – Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express