Keeping it real in Friuli

"If you could see this wine now, you would be saying, 'This is seriously weird shit!' The colour of this wineis like aging copper. In fact, I sometimes call it the 'penny wine'. It is definitely not a colour that would encourage many white fans to put this in their mouths; it looks more like battery acid or apple cider than wine...

In some respects the colour is reflected in the smell: there is almosta rusty nail aroma, which is followed by some spoiled papaya. Not sold? You throw some rusty nails and papaya in my mouth and I'm excited."

Radikon, Oslavje, 2002. Friuli, Italy

A white for red lovers

"Too many people get a little bit of wine knowledge under their belt and suddenly feel like they need to start dissing white wine. So, here is a white that I think could totally bring those hard-core red wine drinkers back to reality.

If you only like red wine with your steak, I challenge you to pop this with your fillet mignon or other rich foods. You may realise how serious white can be."

Ascheri, Montalupa Bianco Viognier, 2004. Piedmont, Italy

Warming up to Riesling

"If you were starting a winery in California and asked me which grapes to plant, riesling would not be in my top 10, maybe not even my top 100. Rieslings belong in California like Germans belong on surfboards. Yet, this producer has been getting the best from grapes since 1984, making some very good, varietally representative riesling, at a price that I simply can't resist.

Show me a wine that hits my sweet spot for everyday value while expressing the true character of the grape, and I'm a buyer."

Gainey Vineyard, Riesling Santa Ynez Valley, 2006. Santa Ynez, California

The power of pink

"Part of me hates it that rosé is suddenly so trendy. The problem is that a lot of rosés are pretty basic, simple and not all that exciting. No wonder pink wine gets a bad rap. But boy, did this wine just blitzkrieg my palate."

Slowine Rosé, 2007. Overberg, South Africa