Flavours of summer

WINE
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Australia was the first to put a cuckoo in the Beaujolais nest with Hardy's Early Bird releases. Now Chile has pinched the nouveau banner with a 1995 Santa Carolina Sauvignon Blanc Nouveau, pounds 3.99, Thresher, Wine Rack, Bottoms Up, a zingy, summery, gooseberry-fruity white. In case any readers were still in doubt, this is Chile's year. The Nouveau is just the first of a clutch of exciting 1995s to look forward to in the autumn.

There is plenty of life left in the 1994 vintage. The 1994 Caliterra Casablanca Chardonnay, pounds 4.99, Tesco, Fuller's, Oddbins, from Ignacio Recabarren, Chile's most creative winemaker, is an astonishing value chardonnay from Chile's relatively cool Casablanca Valley. Complex and highly aromatic, it comes with a light touch of oak and a mouthwateringly pithy, grapefruity tang.

There is more than a touch of the New World, too, in Englishman James Herrick's southern French chardonnay. The 1994 James Herrick Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, pounds 4.99, Oddbins, Somerfield, Davisons, Fuller's, Unwins, Victoria Wine, Sainsbury's, Wine Cellar/Berkeley Wine, Russell Cellars (Belfast), is his best effort yet, a freshly buttered chardonnay with a shade of New World ripeness, but still that elegant citrusy streak of acidity that stamps it as distinctly French.

Australia's giant Penfolds group is best known for its richly oaked, full-throttle red wines, but the quality of its whites is catching up. The "traditional" style is still evident in the 1992 Penfolds Padthaway Chardonnay, pounds 5.99, selected Gateway/Somerfield, a golden, full-flavoured chardonnay. Without sacrificing flavour, their 1994 Rawson's Retreat Bin 21 Semillon Chardonnay, around pounds 4.49, widely available, is a more elegant blend.

Penfolds are also offering an endangered species: the pounds 2.99 Aussie wine. Stockman's Bridge White and Stockman's Bridge Red, both full of fruit and normally pounds 3.99, are on offer at pounds 2.99, Unwins, until 24 September.

Assuming that summer's lease still has a few weeks to run yet, I will chance my arm and recommend the perfect summer rose, the 1994 Bardolino Chiaretto, from Cavalchina, pounds 4.99, Majestic Wine, a refreshingly dry, redcurranty Italian rose.

And so to red, and the 1993 Sterling Winery Lake Pinot Noir, pounds 6.99, Oddbins, a California pinot which could easily bring on burgundy amnesia. Alliteratively embodying the three As, it is authentic, aromatic and affordable, deftly oaked and with velvet-soft, raspberry fruit flavours

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