The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Bright whites

‘That’s the smoked salmon sorted with this beauty aged in old bar­rels on the lees for tex­ture’

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PIEMONTE CORTESE 2018

Italy (12%, The Wine So­ci­ety, £6.50)

If you’re af­ter an allpur­pose kitchen white then this sim­ple north­ern Ital­ian wine would be a good pick. Made from cortese, the gavi grape, it’s pert, dry and lemony. A good aper­i­tif or party wine that also goes well with the likes of herb chicken, feta salad, fried sage leaves and fish.

DO­MAINE DE VILLARGEAU COTEAUX DU GIENNOIS SAU­VI­GNON BLANC 2018

France (13.5%, Ma­jes­tic, £10.99/£12.99 mix six/sin­gle bot­tle price)

Coteaux du Giennois isn’t as catchy a name as sancerre, but it does also make lovely Loire sau­vi­gnon blanc. Think le­mon pos­set and goose­berry curd.

TESCO FINEST SAINT MONT 2017

France (13.5%, Tesco, £6.50)

Time and again this Pyre­nean white turns up in my best of lists. Made from gas­con va­ri­eties – gros manseng with pe­tit courbu, ar­ru­fiac and pe­tit manseng – it is sur­pris­ingly se­ri­ous with grown-up flavours of berg­amot, pink grape­fruit, star fruit and quince.

KUMEU VIL­LAGE CHARDON­NAY 2017

New Zealand (13%, Booths, £12; Lea & Sandeman, £12.50/11.50 sin­gle bot­tle/ mixed case price; The Wine So­ci­ety, £10.95)

The dif­fu­sion line from the revered Kumeu River on New Zealand’s North Is­land is just as im­pres­sive as its more ex­pen­sive sib­lings. It has a lu­mi­nos­ity that should please bur­gundy fans.

DO­MAINE DE MAN­DEV­ILLE VIOGNIER 2018

Langue­doc (13%, M&S, £7.50 or £5.63 on buy 6+ in­store/12+ on­line get 25% off deal, un­til Dec 2)

Be­hind its ugly la­bel this viognier is one of M&S’s best wine as­sets. It’s so tricky to find a good viognier but this is a beauty: dry, with a fra­grance of peaches, cit­rus and white blos­som.

AUZELLS COSTERS DEL SEGRE 2018

Spain (12.5%, The Wine So­ci­ety, £11.50)

A flavour-kalei­do­scope of a white that comes from a mix­ture of macabeu, al­bar­iño, chardon­nay, sau­vi­gnon and ries­ling. Limpid and suc­cu­lent, with notes of lime peel, peach, star fruit, fen­nel and blos­som with a herbal fin­ish. New-wave Spain at its best.

FIEF GUÉRIN MUS­CADET SUR LIE CÔTES DE GRANDLIEU 2018

France (12%, Waitrose 195 branches, £6.99 down from £8.49 un­til Dec 3)

Mus­cadet has be­come un­fash­ion­able, which hap­pily means it is also good value; great news for those who crave the dry, sa­line yeast­i­ness of th­ese lees-aged wines, which al­ways re­mind me of a win­ter sea.

WAITROSE & PART­NERS NO 1 AS­TRO­LABE SAU­VI­GNON BLANC 2019

Marl­bor­ough, New Zealand (13%, Waitrose, £12.49)

As­tro­labe makes glo­ri­ous sau­vi­gnon blanc and it’s quite a coup for Waitrose to have signed it up for this new own-la­bel. Redo­lent of nec­tarines and le­mon grass, it’s vivid and mouth­wa­ter­ing.

VIN­CENT CARÊME SPRING VOUVRAY SEC 2018

Loire, France (12.5%, Berry Bros & Rudd, £14.95; Waitrose 220 branches, £14.99)

Vin­cent Carême and his wife, Ta­nia, are lead­ing lights among a new gen­er­a­tion of Loire chenin blanc pro­duc­ers. This is lu­mi­nous vouvray, just off-dry and made to drink young. It has the faint flo­ral smell of raw quince and a lithe cur­rent of acid­ity. Good with hard cheese, seafood or as an aper­i­tif.

G DE CHÂTEAU GUIRAUD 2017

Bordeaux, France (13.5%, Lea & Sandeman, £16.75/17.95 mixed case/ sin­gle bot­tle price; Booths has the ’18 at £16; and The Wine So­ci­ety the ’15 at £16, both good in dif­fer­ent ways)

Well, that’s smoked salmon sorted. This so­phis­ti­cated beauty is 50-50 sémil­lon­sauvi­gnon blanc, and aged in old bar­rels on the lees for tex­ture. Think roasted white grape­fruit with dis­tant glim­mers of pine and tar­ragon.

NEW­TON JOHN­SON FAM­ILY VINE­YARDS CHARDON­NAY 2018

Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa (13%, Lay & Wheeler, £20.68)

Lo­cated in the rel­a­tive cool of the Hemel-enAarde (heaven on earth) val­ley, New­ton John­son makes spell­bind­ing pinot noir and gor­geously limpid, very pre­cise chardon­nay. I’ve yet to try the cur­rent re­lease of pinot but can tes­tify that the chardon­nay looks good.

ALPHONSE MEL­LOT LE MANOIR SANCERRE 2018

France (13%, Waitrose 240 branches in­clud­ing wait­rose­cel­lar. com, £22.49)

A text­book sancerre, mighty and broad like the Loire river it­self, and yet also very finely de­lin­eated – bone dry, with sub­tle flavours of freshly cut grass and min­er­als riven through it. A real treat. Waitrose have some of the 2017 still in stock at the same price, but I haven’t tasted that.

LA VIEILLE FERME BLANC 2018

France (12.5%, Waitrose 289 branches £6.49 down from £8.79 un­til Dec 3; Tesco, £7.50; Booths, £8.50; Co-op, £7.50)

Like a sum­mer breeze from the south of France, this mix­ture of grenache blanc, bour­boulenc, ugni blanc and ver­mentino opens with a warm, al­mond-blos­som swell then fin­ishes freshly. Great with tur­key and stuff­ing sand­wiches.

JAC­QUES SAU­MAIZE MÂCON-VERGISSON SUR LA ROCHE 2017

Bur­gundy, France (13.5%, The Wine So­ci­ety, £12.95)

The in­creas­ing qual­ity of wine from the Mâ­con­nais, in the south of Bur­gundy, is ev­i­dent in this el­e­gant and re­fined chardon­nay. Un­oaked, with lively notes of ap­ple and le­mon and a sub­tly creamy tex­ture that comes from lees-age­ing. Ex­tremely mor­eish.

DO­MAINE DE LA MORDORÉE CU­VÉE DE LA REINE DES BOIS BLANC 2018

France (14.5%, Lea & Sandeman, £27.75/24.75 sin­gle bot­tle/ mixed case price)

White rhône blends de­serve more ap­pre­ci­a­tion. This one is a heady mix­ture of marsanne, grenache blanc, viognier, picpoul, clairette and rous­sanne – think roasted peaches and apri­cots with marzi­pan, white flow­ers, nut­meg and a sheen of pear juice.

BERRY BROS & RUDD RE­SERVE WHITE BY COLLOVRAY & TER­RIER 2018

France (13%, Berry Bros & Rudd, £8.95)

Find­ing a good can­di­date for a sub-£10 house white is al­ways tricky, but I love this. Based on chardon­nay grown in the cool of Li­moux, it has par­tial bar­rel-age­ing and a bit of mauzac, chenin blanc and sau­vi­gnon blanc bring a soft, lemony tang and fresh­ness.

RA­MON BIL­BAO EDI­CION LIMITADA LIAS VERDEJO 2017

Rueda, Spain (13% Noel Young Wines, £15.95; Great West­ern Wine of Bath, £15.50)

Verdejo is Spain’s an­swer to sau­vi­gnon blanc, and here it has been aged on the lees (yeast cells) to give some tex­ture. It’s re­ally lovely – lifted and breezy with a tum­bling re­fresh­ing flow, yel­low and green cit­rus and hints of peach flesh.

DO­MAINE JEANBAPTIS­TE PONSOT RULLY BLANC 1ER CRU MOLESME 2016

Bur­gundy, France (13%, email or­ders@ stan­nary­wine.com, £29.50)

Jean-Bap­tiste Ponsot has been run­ning the fam­ily do­maine since 2000 and is mak­ing some very good wines, in­clud­ing this ex­cel­lent rully – the per­fect young bur­gundy for Christ­mas. Stan­nary St Wine is the re­tail arm of Flint Wines, the dy­namic bur­gundy im­porter.

LEITZ RHEINGAU RIES­LING 2018

Ger­many (12%, Aldi on­line only, £8.99)

Part of Aldi’s new range of more up­mar­ket wines be­ing sold on­line only, this is an off-dry ries­ling from blue-chip pro­ducer Leitz.

Suc­cu­lent and pierc­ingly bright, like ap­ple snow with blitzed nec­tarines. Great with fatty birds like goose, or with pork with a fruit sauce.

FLORENT ROUVE VIRÉ-CLÉSSÉ 2017

Bur­gundy, France (13%, M&S, £14 or £10.50 on buy 6+ bot­tles in store/12+ on­line and get 25% off deal, which runs un­til Dec 2)

An­other ex­am­ple of the good value to be found in the Mâ­con­nais; this wine has been aged for al­most a year in oak and is nut­tier and toastier than the Jac­ques Sau­maize shown left.

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