Christine Austin's wines of the week from Booths, Waitrose, Morrisons and Sainbury's

Christine Austin is looking towards the summer as she brings us the latest from the world of wine in Yorkshire and beyond – plus her top bottles of the week.

No.1 Astrolabe Awatere Sauvignon 2023 13%, Waitrose, down from £12.99 to £8.99 until May 7: From a small family winery, where yields are low, and flavours are concentrated with crushed nettles, lime and passion fruit.

​The Best Vinho Verde Rose 2022, 11.5%, Morrisons, down from £8 to £7.50 until April 28: Made from the Espadeiro grape, which is normally used for the relatively rare red Vinho Verde. As a rosé, it is terrific, with cranberry and raspberry fruit and a touch of spice.

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​Cune Rioja Crianza 2021, Spain, 13.5%, Booths, down from £10.50 to £8.50 until April 9: A youthful style of Rioja full of cherry and red berry fruit, a hint of vanilla and cocoa on the finish. Consistently good.

Christine Austin's wines of the weekChristine Austin's wines of the week
Christine Austin's wines of the week

​Bosman Nero 2021, Wellington, South Africa, 14%, Sainsbury’s, down from £11.50 to £10 until April 23: Nero d’Avola usually comes from Sicily but it does terrifically well in South African sunshine, giving red berry and cherry fruit, good supple structure and a sprinkle of herbs.

Bon Coeur tasting

With summer drinking very much in mind, Bon Coeur will open new arrivals, rosés and latest vintages of wines at Moor Park in Melsonby on May 9. There are two sessions, from 12 noon to 3.30pm and from 5 until 8.30pm. Tickets cost £25, with a £10 rebate on orders. Not only will there be over 50 wines to taste, there will be nibbles made by Bon Coeur’s in-house chef, Hugh. While you are planning your diary, make a note of Bon Coeur’s cheese and wine tasting on June 6, from 6.30 to 8.30pm. Tickets cost £45. Ring Bon Coeur on 01325 776446 for details and tickets.

Masons at Martinez

Martinez Wines in Bingley will host a Masons of Yorkshire Gin tasting on April 11 when Ben Greaves, from Masons, will talk about and lead a tasting of these excellent gins. Tickets cost £15. Call Martinez on 01274 565000.

Rack your brain

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It seems that training to be a sommelier can reshape your brain to link aromas and flavours into complex verbal descriptions. A study at the Basque Centre for Cognition, Brain and Language gave identical wines to trained sommeliers and casual drinkers while they were linked up to MRI machines and asked them to rate the complexity of each wine. The sommeliers were not just able to pick out the complexity of each wine but were able to translate the differences into verbal descriptors. Sommeliers also engaged several different parts of their brains when tasting. So tasting wine, and describing it, may exercise your brain more than just knocking it back.

Zest test

The 2024 crop of grapes in New Zealand is around 10 per cent less than last year because of Cyclone Gabrielle and a dry summer. The UK market is dependent on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to provide us with the classic, zesty flavours of Sauvignon. Smaller Kiwi harvests in 2021 and in 2015 opened the door to Sauvignons from Chile and South Africa. If you have a favourite New Zealand Sauvignon, maybe you should stock up with 2023 vintages as they work their way onto the shelves. They will happily keep and develop for the next year or so.

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