Drink: Rhône whites - full-bodied wines that add a feminine charm to any occasion
The white wines of Southern France's Rhône Valley have a gentle softness to their character and a lazy indulgence rather than seduction, more linen in texture than silk. The colour white defines the wines' style too - white lilies, jasmine, palest peaches and white currant fruits. These are full-bodied wines that add a feminine charm to any occasion.
The Côtes du Rhône dry whites are made from a blend of grape varietals including Grenache Blanc and Clairette giving a delicately floral character. However, premium wine Crozes-Hermitages has a dynamic duo of Marsanne for hazelnut richness and Roussanne's honeysuckle fragrance. The ultimate Rhône white is arguably the rare Condrieu with only 100pc Viognier permitted, famous for its legendary honeyed perfume and musky apricot palate. A hint of the challenge of cultivating this difficult but delicious grape lies in the name; Viognier is derived from a corruption of the Latin for "road to hell". Heavenly!
1) Condrieu 2013, Maison Nicolas Perrin 13.5pc
Intense fragrance of Lily of the Valley. Concentrated fruity palate with an exotic jasmine and acacia honey note. Dry and a very long lingering finish. Tasty served cool but not chilled with ripe brie or poached salmon in a creamy onion sauce.
€49.99 in Dublin at Clontarf Wines and Mitchell & Son, IFSC, CHQ and Glasthule.
2) Chais du Grillon 2014, Ventoux 13pc
Ripe peach aromas. Delicious tangerine citrusy flavours highlighted by refreshing acidity and an orange zesty finish. Try with prawns in garlic and chilli.
€11.99 at Eurospar, Spar, Mace and Londis nationwide.
3) Resérve Grand Veneur 2014, Alain Jaume, Côtes du Rhône 13pc
Fruity fragrance and a palate of ripe melon and peach flavours. Lovely balance between the acidity and moderate alcohol, finishing with lemon sherbet. Delicious with a smooth chicken liver and garlic paté.
€15.99 at Mitchell & Son, IFSC, CHQ and Glasthule.
4) Guigal 2013, Côtes du Rhône 13.5pc
A pretty wine, perfumed with white fruits. Musky and white peppery and peach flavours. The palate is assertive with spiced peach fruit and floral notes. Partner with baked cod topped with a breadcrumb crust and lemongrass.
€17.50 at winesoftheworld.ie
5) Les Cassanges de la Nerthe 2014, Côtes du Rhône Villages 13.5pc
Concentrated peach fruit and skins. Very complete and well-rounded flavours of soft white fruits. Feminine and floral with a juicy, mouth-watering peach finish. Perfect with grilled pork chops topped with apple, sage and breadcrumb.
€18.50 at Wines on the Green, Dawson Street and The Gables, Foxrock.
6) Domaine du Columbier 2011, Crozes-Hermitages 12.5pc
Intriguing toffee apples and caramel bouquet. Delicious salted caramel richness. Mellow and mature. Serve with roast chicken and a pumpkin and hazelnut stuffing.
€25.50 at Searson's Wine Shop, Monkstown and searsons.com