What to drink this week

House white wines

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country Notebook -

I wrote a few weeks ago rec­om­mend­ing good-value and char­ac­ter­ful south­ern French red wines suit­able for reg­u­lar pour­ing at home. When it comes to whites with sim­i­lar virtues— ex­tremely drink­able and ver­sa­tile, not as­pir­ing to the high­est lev­els of com­plex­ity—the most promis­ing source has turned out, per­haps sur­pris­ingly, to be Si­cily. Surely Si­cily is too far south to pro­duce crisp and re­fresh­ing whites? Think again.

Harry Eyres

Why you should be drink­ing them

Some clever pro­duc­ers, aided by the is­land’s chief viti­cul­tural re­search sta­tion out­side Palermo, re­alised a while ago that Si­cily pos­sessed ex­cel­lent white va­ri­eties in the form of Grillo, In­zo­lia and Catar­ratto. These wines share the char­ac­ter­is­tics of herbal aro­mas and full-bod­ied vi­nos­ity com­bined with crisp­ness. Grillo is the crispest and cur­rently most fash­ion­able; In­zo­lia and, some­times, Catar­ratto, have a cer­tain nut­ti­ness.

What to drink

Waitrose, the only su­per­mar­ket chain that be­haves like a se­ri­ous wine mer­chant, has been sniff­ing out some ex­cel­lent Si­cil­ian whites in re­cent months. Cor­bello Catar­ratto/in­zo­lia 2015 (£7.99; www.waitrose.com) has nice, rounded vi­nos­ity and a fresh, lemony acid­ity—a bril­liant al­ter­na­tive to Ma­con Vil­lages. Rap­i­talà Grillo 2015 (right, £8.99; www.waitrose.com) is ex­cel­lent value, with ap­petis­ing notes of bit­ter herbs on the nose, good mouth-feel and a long fin­ish. My third choice, a kind of su­pe­rior house wine, isn’t from Si­cily, but from an even more un­ex­pected source: Costières de Nîmes 2015 Château Roubaud (£12.30; www.yapp.co.uk) has but­ter­cup-yel­low colour, a ripe, hon­eyed nose and lovely tex­ture and length—it’s just too good to leave out.

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