Sizzling summer sundowners with a taste for ladies

fiverSPRING being just around the corner seems as good a reason as any to try out some fun and frothy new offerings that could become new summer favourites.

Spier has joined the ranks of producers offering a still Chardonnay-Pinot Noir blend – traditionally the blend used for bubblies, these offer a pinkish alternative to Rosé and Blanc de Noir, with some of the complexity and creaminess of Chardonnay balanced with the fresh red fruits of Pinot Noir. They’re usually off-dry and pinky-golden, and squarely targeted at the “ladies who lunch”.

This one is a clear salmon pink, dry and crisp with strawberry flavours, and would make a happy partner to salads, especially the likes of avocado and seafood.

Squaring up against the perennially popular Tranquille and Krone’s Chardonnay Pinot Noir (arguably the better wine of the lot), it comes in at a budget-friendly R39.90 at Preston’s vs R49.90 for the Krone and R44.90 for Tranquille.

Bubbly-masters Krone have added a slightly sweeter option to their range of MCC’s with the launch of Night Nectar Demi-Sec 2011 (R84.90). The name is a reminder of the night-harvesting once practiced at the Twee JongeGezellen estate in Tulbagh that is home to the House of Krone – and it would happily lend itself to romantic sipping under the stars.

Creamy and golden, it’s not sugary-sweet but rather crisp and elegant with the sweetness coming from subtle honey, apricot and marzipan flavours balanced with a hint of lemon. It would be a good call for weddings and other special occasions where a wide range of tastes need to be catered for.

And now for something completely different – the Retief family behind Van Loveren’s popular Four Cousins range are never slow off the mark with new ways of getting wine into the consumer’s hands. They’ve joined the burgeoning ready-to-drink market with Four Cousins Fiver – a range of five fruity, fizzy wine-based drinks.

Low in alcohol and in flavours of pomegranate, ginger, strawberry and litchi, apple and pear, and apple, lime and cucumber – at about R80 for a six-pack, they’re lightly sweet and refreshing.

–  A Vine Time, with Sam Venter

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