Get ready for Spring drinking with these incredible value wines, tasted and rated by Decanter’s team. Don’t be misled by the price tag: these bottles do not compromise on character and will offer drinking pleasure as well as many food pairing possibilities. Perfect for your spring picnics, garden parties and barbecues.
As the season changes you will want to look for wines that are expressive, versatile and perform well served at different temperatures. The sun might be shining but there is still a chill in the air…
Whites with structure
Look for whites with aromatic expressiveness, but also some body and texture. A solid structure will allow them to pair with a wide selection of dishes, from spring salads, to grilled fish or even light meat dishes.
Viognier– or Gewürtraminer-based blends meet the brief with fruit generosity, medium to full body and an oily creaminess. But you might also want to explore Greece’s Moschofilero or Hungary’s Furmint. Although mostly known for being the key variety in Tokaj’s luscious sweets, Furmint also makes beautiful dry wines, the best examples having a distinct mineral texture, perfect for spring-drinking.
Yet, the promise of summer calls for a sun-kissed wine with a salinity reminiscent of long evenings by the coast. The Muscadet below is a safe choice, at outstanding value.
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Garden parties call for rosé, no doubt. But you might want to avoid the pale Provençal style. Instead, look for deeper hued wines, with more intense aromas and, again, appealing texture. The reasons that justify their deeper colours also explain their added intensity and texture: extended maceration times allow for more colour, flavour compounds and tannins to be extracted.
Serve them a little warmer and this added complexity will truly come through.
On the other hand, there’s nothing more enjoyable than a vibrant red served slightly chilled on a sunny afternoon. A Beaujolais or a Chilean Pinot Noir might be obvious choices with their light tannic structure and crunchy fruit making them perfect contenders for the ice bucket.
We suggest venturing further though: the volcanic purity of an Etna Rosso or the mountainous lift of a northern-Alentejo field blend have an almost natural affinity with freshness. They will also be great conversation starters and will get you thinking about what minerality is all about.
The weather is still moody though and will want to have a warming red at hand for a chillier evening. These will also come in handy for a barbecue. But steer away from oaky styles; look for robust reds whose structure is built upon fruit, rather wood, tannins. Valpolicella and Navarra are two regions to look out for, both quite under-appreciated and delivering quality and robust elegance at great value.