Talk about March Madness. The weather has been so civilized in my neck of the country that I've been out raking some of the leaves from last fall that I've been pretending were my neighbour's.


The best thing about warm early spring temperatures is that they give you a head start on cracking open some floral white wines: ones that mirror the fresh aromas and flavours associated with the season.


Chenin blancs top my list. Long associated with France's Loire Valley and the vineyards of South Africa, the off dry wines made with the grape sadly continue to lose ground to fruitier competition created with riesling and viognier.


Produced in South Africa's Western Cape, MAN Vintners' 2008 Chenin Blanc ($11.99 - $13.99) combines tropical fruit with palate tingling acidity which makes it a nice match with fruit, fish and light chicken dishes.


Chenin blanc may be the only white grape not (I think) in the 2008 Conundrum ($24.95 - $29.29): a mysterious California blend that sports a new label to go along with this latest vintage. Big on exotic fruit flavours, it's a springtime classic.

So goodbye winter, let's just hope Mother Nature isn't getting a jump on April Fool's Day.

Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.