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RAISE A GLASS.

Byline: WITH JANE CLARE

IT'S sunny outside and I'm happy. At the risk of tempting fate, I bring you six wines to enjoy as summer rolls on.

TWO SPARKLIES TO ADD POP TO SUMMER Cruset Sparkling Blanc de Blancs NV (11% abv, The Co-op, PS5.99): The price and the "blanc de blancs" tempted me as the latter indicated quality, the former indicated a bargain. This has simple unassuming bubbles with simple floral aromas and a simple citrus taste from a blend of chardonnay, airen and muscat. It was more like blank de blancs jumping on the prosecco bandwagon but pleasant enough.

Brown Brothers Cienna 2013 (6.5% abv, www.slurp.co.uk, PS9.95): I sipped this spritzy Australian wine with ice cubes (I know, sacrilege) and it was akin to sangria flavours but without the oomph. The cienna grape - a cross between cabernet sauvignon and sumoll - is at the heart of this sweet ruby-red wine laden with red berries and blackberries. It's a pretty wine, and would be lovely with summer pudding or fruit-smothered meringue, though I imagine the exclusivity of the grape is driving the price.

A COUPLE OF WHITES FROM THE WINE SOCIETY Leon Beyer Sylvaner 2014 (12% abv, PS8.50): Sylvaner is one of the main varieties in Alsace where it holds its head up higher than in Germany, where it is typically used in liebfraumilch. Ugh. This white has pear aromas, apple flavours, a hum of honey, a savoury note and just enough acidity to complement all. I'd cooked chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs and it was a perfect match. Altano Douro White 2015 (13% abv PS9.99): A bright white from Symington Family Estates, better known as a key port producer. The wine is a blend of fina, viosinho, rabigato, codega de Larinho and moscatel galego, grown in the Douro Valley. It has vibrant aromas of peach and pear and in the mouth those same stone fruit flavours sing with juiciness and a decent acidity is a good counterbalance. A summer night must-have. | The society (winesociety.com) has won Online Retailer of the Year and Wine Merchant of the Year at the 2016 International Wine Challenge.

TWO REDS BECAUSE I LIKE REDS Beronia Reserva 2011 (14% abv, Waitrose, Ocado, Majestic, tesco.com, RRP PS13.49): This wine notched up several wins at the 2016 IWC, picking up a gold medal, Great Value Red under PS15 and trophies including the Rioja Reserva Trophy. Tempranillo makes up the majority of this blend, with tiny contributions from graciano and mazuelo. It's a wine you just want to keep breathing in.

There's so much to enjoy on the nose, from cloves, to fresh red fruits, chocolate and a snap of bracken. A hearty sip is rewarded with a rounded, full bodied wine, still-fresh fruits, white pepper spice and soft tannins. First Class Pinot Noir 2015 (14.5% abv, PS7.99 or PS5.99 in a buy six deal from Majestic): This pinot noir from the Bio Bio Valley in Chile is great value. A light pinot noir is perfect for a summer's day.

Characterful red fruits and pepper spice cloud out of the glass and in the mouth they combine to race across your tastebuds without being overpowering.

| Email jane@onefootinthegrapes.co.uk

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 13, 2016
Words:547
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