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FOOD: beer & WINE; Tim Curran's choice.

Byline: Tim Curran

No barbecue meal will get the better of today's top wine - it's a match for any fiery feast.

Blockbuster Spanish red XV Monastrell 2001 (Co-op, 90p off at pounds 3.59 until June 8) has a massive 15 per cent alcohol content. Full-flavoured grapes from low-yielding vines produce plum and cherry flavours - plus a powerful punch. It needs food and steaks, lamb or rich pasta dishes will do the trick.

For something less throat-grabbing, Pinot Grigio Nagyrede Estate 2002 (Co-op, pounds 2.50 off at pounds 2.49 until June 8) confirms Hungary's growing reputation for whites. There's ripe, zesty, lemony fruit and enough depth to make it a match for stir fries, roast pork, even mild chicken curry.

Bulgaria is also coming up strongly. Somerfield has Blueridge Chardonnay 2002, with apricot, and peachy fruit and a touch of creamy oak and Blueridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 with typical ripe blackcurrant flavours and a hint of bitter chocolate . Both are pounds 1 off at pounds 2.99 until June 3.

If you want a bottle to savour in the sun, Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2002 (Asda, pounds 6.97) is a treat. This convenient screwtop white from family-owned Babich Wines in New Zealand is packed with clean-tasting gooseberry and nettle fruit. Classy

BEER OF THE WEEK

Taste The Difference Munich Style Festival Lager (Sainsbury's, pounds 1.99, 660ml, 5.4 per cent alcohol). Part of a new range made by the Meantime Brewing Company in Greenwich. This rather exotic brew balances full-flavoured, mellow maltiness with a crisp, hoppy finish.
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 24, 2003
Words:260
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