AN interesting, and slightly out of the ordinary import well worth looking out for, is a 2006 Solar Veijo Crianza from the medieval Rioja Alavesa region of northern Spain – an area of just 300 square kilometres, but the country's most famous and prestigious wine region.
Wines labelled Crianza must be at least two years old and have spent at least twelve months in oak barrels. In the case of the Solar Veijo Crianza, the wine is 100 per cent Tempranillo and actually had fifteen months in American and French oak barrels before being matured for a further twelve months prior to release.
Aromas of red forest fruits and sour cherries follow through on the palate with blackberry fruit flavours and slightly smoky tannins as well. Pay $30 and ask your local Continental deli if they've some Iberian cured, acorn-fed jamon (ham) and a crusty sourdough that will make a perfect match for a leisurely Sunday lunch.
ONE FOR LUNCH: THE Wairau Valley is a fascinating sub-region of New Zealand's renowned Marlborough, with producers here coming up with tempting Sauvignon Blancs that are not only flavoursome, but well-priced too.
Matthew Mitchell and John van der Linden are typical of winemaker and viticultural teams in the Valley, who between them coax the best from the soil, the local micro-climate and their ultimate fruit to come up with a winning drop.
Their 2009 Braided River Sauvignon Blanc has wonderful hallmark Marlborough characteristics of upfront asparagus, red bell pepper and lime juice flavours, coupled with signature cool-climate zesty acid.
At $18.99 this is a delightful wine to enjoy with a home-made vegetable quiche, or a seafood basket of crumbed prawns, scallops, mussels and white-fleshed fish pieces.
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 A NICE choice with vegetable quiche or a seafood basket.
 PERFECT with Iberian cured jamon (ham) and a crusty sourdough.