Thank you, dry January you’ve been great, but now it’s time to excite our taste buds without breaking the bank and try some new and exciting wines in 2018.

I’m going to start with suggesting a sparkling white I had over Christmas which really impressed me. Emiliana Spearling Organic Brut wine from the Casablanca Valley, Chile is excellent. 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir with three months on its lees, it really over-delivers on quality, with lush ripe fruit, perfectly counterbalanced with some tight lemony acidity. Forget a cheapy champagne or expensive Prosecco this is the fizz to drink at around the 15 pound price mark. It’s lovely and refreshing, and full of tropical fruit flavours.

You ll notice there is nothing on the wine label about its ingredients? Conventional wines can contain up to 50 additives (sulphites, allergens, sugars, preservatives, colourants & flavourings). That’s why many people, including well-known chefs and nutritionists, are switching to organic and natural wines with the added advantage of rarely having a hangover. Emiliana, which is Chile’s biggest organic wine producer, with vineyards in Casablanca, Maipo and Rapel (Cachapoal and Colchagua) Valleys, is owned by the country’s biggest producer,

Next on the list we pop over the South Atlantic to New Zealand for one of their superb sauvignon blancs. But as we said we are not going to break the bank as we don’t have to with the wonderful Sileni Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc. While the Cloudy bays are up in the twenty pound plus price range this little beauty comes in at under ten pounds but sacrifices nothing on taste.

In 1997, winemaker Grant Edmonds established Sileni as a producer, committed to crafting world-class fine wines. Sileni Estates is a major vineyard and winery development in Hawke’s Bay, which is New Zealand’s oldest established vineyard area. Since the first vintage in 1998 the wines have won world wide acclaim. The vineyards and winery are based near Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. This Sauvignon blanc has exhuberant aromas of elderflower, herbs, ripe melon, gooseberry and passion fruit. Appealing, classically styled wine with a crisp finish.

Next time we are going to Italy in the summer where we will be tasting their wonderful red wines. I’ll see you then

Richie Hammond