Green it was

shamrockIt's good to be green, unless that involves consuming large quantities of E142 that is. This readily available green food colouring, known invitingly as Green S, puts the colour back into canned peas and also dyes the gallons of beer and lemonade drunk in honour of Saint Patrick during his day of festivities on March 17th. But being Irish for the day needn't involve pushing a chemical banned in Scandinavia through your system - why not pour out some naturally green refreshment instead?

green grapesThe alarming green of freshly pressed Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grape juice calms down into a lighter hue following fermentation into wine. The inherent greenness of these top selling varieties make them a good choice for an Irish themed day and their versatility means they'll match all manner of party snacks and meals. Try the Co-op's Ferngrove Australian Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (£7.49) if you want a wine with an inviting pineapple aroma nicely balanced with pear and melon flavours.

Perhaps getting in a bottle of Douglas Green Chardonnay (SAWinesOnline £6.29) is a bit of an overkill on the green theme. But this South African wine smells so invitingly of melon and tastes wonderfully sweetly-sour that we'll forgive it: gooseberry juice with a dash of butterscotch makes a pleasant change from the many forgettable Chardonnays.

If you're planning on serving an Irish stew then the accompanying drink choice must really fall into one of two choices: wine or tea.

teaLemon tasting wine (with a green coloured tinge of course) will cut through some of the stew's meaty richness and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc almost always works, but to be a truly Gaelic meal it really ought to be tea. Irish tea at that. Blended to be slightly stronger than English breakfast, Irish tea brews into a malty beverage that needs the addition of milk to tone down the tannins. Buy Barry's Original Green Label blend from www.youririshshop.com for authenticity.

PG Wine Tips

Douglas Green South African Chardonnay

£6.29 SAWinesOnline

Aromas of melon with wonderfully sweetly-sour flavours of gooseberry juice with a dash of butterscotch.

Gallo Californian Sauvignon Blanc 2012

£6.99 Tesco

Pale green colours with gooseberry flavours.

Ferngrove Australian Semillon Sauvignon Blanc

£7.49 Co-op (down from £9.99 until March 12)

Inviting pineapple aroma nicely balanced with pear and melon flavours.

Bankhouse New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2011

£7.49 Co-op

Light gooseberry and melon flavours with just enough sharpness to get the tastebuds going.

The Optimist Australian Old Vine Semillon

£7.99 Laithwaites

A light green coloured wine with aromas of pineapple and white roses. Flavours of light peach and lemon.

Villa Maria RieslingVilla Maria New Zealand Dry Riesling 2011

£9.49 Majestic

Rhubarb crumble with a dash of old-fashioned rose. Very nice indeed.

Blason de Bourgogne Saint Veran 2010

£10.99 Tesco

A pale greenish-yellow wine with attractive aromas of peach and melon followed by flavours of apple cobbler. Nice.

This article has also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk