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Look out for the rhino on the label

All the La Spinetta wines can be easily spotted by the distinctive label, which features a rhinoceros, based on a woodcut by the artist Albrecht Dürer

I like to look at the per capita consumption of wine as it gives me an idea of what percentage of the market Burrows Lightbourn has here.

Figures from February of this year put us in 18th place out of about 200 countries.

The 69,000 folks in Andorra take top spot and, for the first time that I have seen, take this place from the 840 inhabitants of the Vatican. Not per capita, but in actual gallons, the 2,912 people in the Falkland Islands consume more than the 192,826,502 citizens of Pakistan. Not much future for me there!

I could write about the wines that drive the growth here, but I fear that if I mention red blends, fine rosé or prosecco again so soon I may be banned from my office. So today I will focus on outdoor cooking and I am thinking duck and La Spinetta Barbera Ca di Pian 2011 from Piedmont.

I had this match-up earlier this week and it worked very well. All the La Spinetta wines have an approachable and voluptuous style. They can be easily spotted by the distinctive label, which features a rhinoceros. The rhinoceros has no real connection to the wines, except that the owner loved the drawing and woodcut by the artist Albrecht Dürer.

Barbera is a high-yielding grape and La Spinetta practises “green harvest”, or cutting off grapes during the growing season, which allows the rest of the fruit to utilise all the resources of the earth and ensure higher quality. Barbera likes less fertile soil and the calcareous Italian soil (lime/chalk) at La Spinetta is ideal. This wine has notes of black cherry, violets, raspberries and even earthiness and a touch of leather. $33.30.

Recollections of Cattle Country and the Pampas of Argentina remind me of the perfect match for many of this country’s wines with beef.

Memories also of a wine list in downtown Mendoza and asking the sommelier to select, from about 400 local wines, one of his favourites.

We were introduced to Fabre Montmayou and can offer you Fabre Montmayou 2013 Gran Reserve Malbec. In the early 1990s a French couple emigrated from Bordeaux and bought vineyards with some of the oldest vines in Mendoza. I will share a review from the Wine Enthusiast magazine: “92/100. Opaque to the eye, this is rich, heady and full of inky blackberry aromas and notes of graphite, balsam wood, tobacco and coconut. A lush, mile-deep palate offers chocolatey flavours of blackberry, roasted meat and salt. Ripe black-fruit flavours dominate a lush finish. Drink through 2020.”

James Suckling gives it an even higher 93/100. $23.50.

Let’s say that you have marinated chicken and are assembling shish kebabs and you have chardonnay on your mind. I know that sauvignon blanc rules the roost, but you should consider Oyster Bay Marlborough Chardonnay that truly captures the character of this appellation with pure, incisive, ripe fruit flavours. A combination of barrel and tank fermentation and the stirring of yeast lees achieve maximum softness, integration and texture. To retain all the natural assertiveness and flavour, no malolactic fermentation takes place. The result of all of this is delicious Oyster Bay 2015 Chardonnay with concentrated aromas and flavours of ripe citrus and stone fruit, balanced with subtle oak, and a creamy texture to finish. A sublime expression of fruit purity from Marlborough’s unique cool climate and soils. $19.95.

Some food and wine critics even suggest these kebabs and a red from Languedoc in the south of France and now that I have planted that thought you may well ask, “Do you happen to have Gerard Bertrand’s Corbieres Terrior GSM 2015?” As luck would have it we do, and for only $20.20. Grenache, syrah and mourvedre team up to give us flavours of ripe fruit with subtle hints of spices and liquorice and, although it is very full, it does have remarkable elegance.

As much of our world is marvelling at our beautiful clear waters, let me share a statement from the winery: “Gérard Bertrand has made a strong, voluntary commitment to sustainable development, responding to the growing demand from consumers as well as the global need to reduce the adverse effects of greenhouse gases on the climate. Establishing partnerships with organic farmers, acting to preserve our landscapes and wine-growing terroirs and promoting biodiversity are priorities for Gérard Bertrand and his winemaking teams.

“We adhere to responsible agricultural specifications within our estates, applying Terra Vitis (a group of several hundred vine-grower-winemakers protecting natural resources in France) and organic farming standards. Some of our vineyards are managed following biodynamic guidelines, certified by Demeter.”

This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm.