WHEN you've been making wine for close-on 900 years, there's every expectation you're doing something right.
And just how right, is exemplified by Italy's Gabbiano that made its first wine in 1124 and today has an enviable reputation for a range of reds and whites, and in particular it's Gabbiano Asti – a lighter-bodied, fruity sparkler that fits well into a broad spectrum of party-room and dessert-time dining options.
Crafted from Moscato Bianco grapes grown in the Asti province of Piedmont in north-western Italy, this one's made by the Charmat method that allows for natural fermentation without the addition of sugar, so ensuring the retention of important varietal aromatics.
It's also slightly lower in alcohol (at 7%) than most sparkling wines, and being slightly fruiter as well, is ideal to share with Italian aperitifs or desserts.
At just $14.99 it's nicely priced for that next party – perhaps upcoming Mother's Day – and should be served chilled with those brunch aperitifs, or with poached pears, a strawberry tart or chewy Italian almond cookies.
ONE FOR LUNCH: Western Australia's Houghton have released a stunning 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon as part of their new Margaret River range that also includes a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2009 Chardonnay.
The '08 Cabernet Sauvignon highlights the skills of winemaker Ross Pamment in getting the best from fruit grown in the unique soils and climate of Margaret River: this one has intense plum, cassis, chocolate and cigar box aromas, with hints of cinnamon and clove spice from its oak maturation.
And with flavours of chocolate, plum, cherry and red berry fruits it's just the drop – particularly at $19.95 – with a good ol' barbecued mixed grill.
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 900 reasons why they've got this one right.
 ENJOY this one with a good ol' mixed grill.