Notta Lotta Bottle

Two booze-free days a week, that's what we've been told by a group of MPs. I think that's a sensible idea, not least because it gives us time to plan - on the wine-free days - exactly what we are going to enjoy a glass of on the non-wine-free days. In fact, a friend asked me just yesterday for some new wine recommendations. In her words: like nice dry white but bit over the fruity ones.  Quite like the Loire Muscadet but want something with a bit more oomph! So, I suggested she try French whites from Burgundy (Chablis), and other wines from the Loire (Sancerre). Or she could go for some Italian whites from the Alto Adige region (light, bright and breezy), or another Italian, a Lugana made from Trebbiano grapes (Waitrose do a good one). Then there's Albarino from the Rias Baixas region in Spain (bit more expensive but worth it for flavour alone), or a good dry Riesling from Australia (subtle, in an Australian way: waxy, lemon fruit). Or she could try a Gruner Veltliner from Austria (inner confidence rather than in-your-face fruit) and when she's done those she can move on to a Torrontes from Argentina (flowers with attitude). Then she can go back to the Loire region for some Chenin Blanc from Savennieres.

So many wines, so little time; two days a week less now.

Current white on the side: Argento Pinot Grigio, 2010, £7.59, Waitrose
I know, I know. After all that talk of different grape varieties to try (a woman's work is never done) I've gone back to Pinot Grigio. BUT. This is different. It is not a watery, tastes vaguely-like-wine PG; this is a lime and lemon-scented dry white with great freshness and real cheek-sucking acidity. Made with grapes from the Mendoza region in Argentina, this is everything a fridge-door white should be. Undemanding, refreshing, qualidee wine. 

Current red on the side: Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir, 2008, £22,
Expensive, yes. Exquisite, yes. Like a model with great bone structure, this wine demands attention. It is from the Waipara region in New Zealand's South Island, just north of Christchurch. The grape is, as it says on the tin, Pinot Noir - the noble grape variety that makes some of the world's best, and most expensive wines, from the Burgundy region - and it fills the glass with black cherries and plums. It is soft, silky and quietly powerful: the Agent Provocateur of NZ Pinot. Drink with food; ours went with beef stew and loved it.

More tea, vicar? x  

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