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Tastings - 24 March

Published:  23 March, 2009

Natasha Hughes selects her favourites from the SITT and Wines from Spain tastings.

SITT tasting, London, 25 February 2009

Sociedade Agricola Boas Quintas, Quinta da Giesta, Rosé, Dao 2007 (rrp £7.75-£8.25, Raymond Reynolds)
Quinta da Giesta rosé was the first to be made from Touriga Nacional a few years ago, although a number of Portuguese producers have now caught on to the idea. The 2007 is still remarkably youthful and fresh, with lots of juicy redcurrant and raspberry fruit, but we can't wait to see the 2008. A dry, full-bodied style, making it the ideal rosé for a range of dishes.

Bridge Pa, Louis Syrah, Hawkes Bay 2005 (rrp £23.95, Yeo & Co/New Zealand Wine Distribution)
Bridge Pa Vineyards, located in Hawke's Bay on New Zealand's north island, are Syrah specialists. The Louis is their top cuvée, a hand-picked single-vineyard wine aged in French and American oak. It really shows the potential of Syrah in this area, with great purity of peppery fruit.

Wines from Spain, London, 12 March 2009

Spain is a great source of fortified sweet wines, and here are two great examples from the recent Wines from Spain tasting.

Buil & Giné, Pleret Negre Dolç Late Harvest, DOCa Priorat 2005 (rrp £15+, Alliance Wine)
This blend of 90% Garnacha, 5% Cab Sauvignon and 5% Cariñena is inky black in colour and shows considerable viscosity. Incredibly concentrated, mouth-watering black fruit with more than a hint of dark chocolate. A delightfully smooth sweet wine: simply irresistible as a partner to dark chocolate puddings.

Alvear, Amontillado NV DO Montilla-Moriles (rrp £18.46, Genesis wines)
Although most Amontillado is now made from Palomino grapes in the Sherry triangle, the word literally means 'in the style of Montilla', and so this Amontillado, made from Pedro Ximénez grapes is true to the original tradition. A bright deep gold in colour, it is very dry and vibrant on the palate, with walnut and hazelnut flavours, a hint of smokiness and an elegant freshness. It's crying out for a piece of mature cheese: good Cheddar, Parmesan or Manchego.