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March 2006

Previous months' recommendations: February 2005 | March 2005 | April/May 2005 | June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005/January 2006February 2006

March’s selections are a little late appearing, but they’re worth waiting for...

Emmanuel Darnaud Crozes Hermitage Les Trois Chênes 2003 Northern Rhône, France
Very rich, pure sweet fruit on the nose with a hint of olive. Perfumed and alluring. The palate shows great concentration and weight with spicy, structured fruit. A fantastic wine in a rich style. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£13.95 Berry Bros & Rudd)

Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2005 Marlborough, New Zealand
This is one of the most complex and enjoyable Sauvignons I’ve had in a long time. It has a forward nose that’s grassy and herby with some tropical fruit richness. Nice balance here. The palate is rich and full with lovely fresh fruit and a spicy herbal edge. Quite complex. One one hand we have the slightly sweet-edged tropical fruit, and on the other there’s fresh grassiness. A striking, complete wine. Very good/excellent 93/100 (£9.99 Oddbins)

Neive Briccoserra 2001 Cigliuti, Italy
What a superb wine. It has a beautiful nose of dense, sweet, full red fruits with a lovely smoothness. The palate is concentrated and dense with lovely vivid savoury fruit. Quite chewy, but smooth at the same time. Fantastic. Very good/excellent 94/100 (£21 Berry Bros & Rudd)

Vidal Syrah 2003 Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Beautifully packaged. This is an impressive new world Syrah, and at this price a cracking bargain. There’s tight, dark savoury fruit on the nose, which is also a bit minerally. The palate has delicious savoury freshness to the fruit. Beautifully poised, expressive and minerally, with good acid. Very good/excellent 92/100 (£10.99 Sainsbury, www.sainsbury.co.uk)

Alois Ladeger Riff Pinot Grigio 2004 Tre Venezie, Italy
Lovely fresh, minerally and focused bright fruit on the nose. Hint of smokiness. The palate is minerally, savoury and subtly spicy. A delicious fresh white wine that’s good value for the quality on offer. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Tesco)

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Chablis, Domaine Sainte Celine 2004 Burgundy, France
Made by Brocard, this is a lovely full-flavoured dry white wine. A good yellow colour, it has some subtly reductive notes on the nose (smoky, burnt match) along with the trademark Brocard damp hay and wet stones aromas. The palate is crisp and full with lots of minerally freshness and savoury, nutty, hay flavours. Very good+ 89/100 (£6.99 Sainsbury)

Etchart Privado Torrontes 2005 Cayafete, Salta, Argentina
If you’ve not tried a good Torrontes, you’ve been missing something, so try this one. It has a beautifully perfumed, floral nose with grape and lychee aromas. The palate has a fresh herbal edge: it smells sweet but tastes dry, with good acid. Clean, fruity and dry. Very good 83/100 (£4.99 Waitrose)

My rating system explained. Use www.wine-searcher.com to locate a stockist in your area and my directory of UK wine merchants for details of those listed here. See also: the wineanorak's shopping list - recommended wines from each of the main UK retail outlets. These recommendations are truly independent: I don't accept payment or other favours for inclusions, nor do I sell wine.

E-mail me with your recommendations or suggestions at jamie@wineanorak.co.uk