Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Wines of the week: Les Bénédictins Chardonnay 2009; Terres de l'Engarran Initiales Blanc 2011; Grand Heron Marc Ducournau PGI Côtes de Gascogne 2012

Terry Kirby selects the best bottles to buy this spring

Sunday lunch

Les Bénédictins Chardonnay 2009

The first of three very different French whites for spring is a speciality of Limoux in the Languedoc, an area otherwise best known for light sparkling wines. This is very different, almost Burgundian in its fullness – Chardonnay grapes are barrel-fermented, resulting in luscious, creamy fruit flavours of honey, apples and tropical fruits, yet with a spine of acidity that makes it deliciously refreshing. Match with prime white fish such as turbot or a herb-roasted chicken. £12.99, laithwaites.co.uk

Midweek meal

Terres de l'Engarran Initiales Blanc 2011

At the other end of the Languedoc region, the hillsides around Montpellier are normally home to robust, earthy reds, but also to this contrasting white - as wonderfully elegant as the château on the label. This is very different to a normal Sauvignon Blanc: characteristically full of citric fruit flavours, but richer and more full-bodied. With a lingering, almost spicy finish, it will happily partner any substantial shellfish or crustacea and cut through a strong goat's cheese. £9.25, Oddbins

Bargain basement

Grand Heron Marc Ducournau PGI Côtes de Gascogne 2012

Let us hope that we have some warm evenings ahead to enjoy bottles such as this, from Gascony's Plaimont Co-operative, which has become a great source for well-priced wines made from distinctive local grapes, each with singular, individual tastes. Made from Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes, this is really grassy and refreshing, with touches of citrus fruits, and is a perfect aperitif or a partner for lightly spiced fish dishes. £5.99 (each for two bottles as part of a purchase of six mixed bottles; normally £6.99 each), majestic.co.uk