The Daily Telegraph - Saturday
‘That’s the smoked salmon sorted with this beauty aged in old barrels on the lees for texture’
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.