65+ great whites
This is a longer version of an article also published in the Financial Times.
We drink just as much white wine as red but for some reason the red gets all the attention. This is a shame, because there are so many great white wines being made today - and in general you don't have to wait long before they're ready to drink.
Here are around 65 of my favourites, listed in ascending price order, along with my score out of 20 and suggested drinking dates - plus some background detail in some cases.
Please note that some stockists insist on minimum orders of 12 assorted bottles. See wine-searcher.com for more stockists.
Tiago Cabaço, .com 2009 Alentejo 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Estremoz. Really fun and fruity! Roupeiro and Antão Vaz. Low acid but masses of flavour. 13.5%
De Martino, Cascara Chardonnay 2010 Limarí Valley 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Marcelo Retamal. 100% Chardonnay. The vineyard is located only at 20 km from the Pacific Ocean which has a tremendous influence by cooling the temperatures thanks to its fresh breezes. The soil in this area posses clay and limestone. The grapes are crushed with the stems and the wine is vinified in steel tanks.
Clean and fresh. Crystal clear. Good open easy Chardonnay but with good minerality on the finish. Wonderful value compared with the white burgundies I have just been tasting. VGV 13.5%
£7.99 Marks & Spencer
Song & Dance Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2010 Margaret River 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Remarkably pale. Rather limpid smell somehow. Very tangy and refreshing with good fruit concentration actually on the palate. Nicely balanced. Not too herbaceous. Complete. QGV 12.5%
Lavradores de Feitoria 2010 Douro 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Lavradores de Feitoria is a 15-producer co-operative in the Douro, based at the impressive Mateus palace. The winemaker here is Paulo Ruao, formerly of Ramos Pinto, with Dirk Niepoort acting as consultant.
Much cooler than most Douro whites. Malvasia Fina, Síria and Gouveio grown on high cool slopes and fermented in stainless steel according to the informative back label. Very successful and distinctive. GV 12.5%
£8.50 The Wine Society
Leasingham, Magnus Riesling 2009 Clare Valley 16 Drink 2011-2015
100% Riesling from the Clare Valley, South Australia. The grapes are hand and machine-harvested from vines aged between eight and 40 years old. The grapes are destemmed and pressed via a tank press and fermented in tank at 10-12 °C. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and is aged in stainless-steel tanks. No fining is used. RS 4.7 g/l. 104 stores.
Let's see how they're doing at this old haunt of Kerri Thompson. Sulphidey nose brings back memories of maturing Oz Riesling. Nice to taste a wine with a little bit of bottle age at last...! Very fine development and great balance. This is a bit of a bargain. Lightly sherbetty but not sweet tasting. GV 12%
McWilliams, Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Semillon 2006 Hunter Valley 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
100% Semillon from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. The wine is fermented using natural yeasts and, after one month, the wine is stabilised and filtered. No oak treatment is used to ensure pure fruit expression. The wine is then bottle aged to gain complexity. RS 1 g/l. 223 stores.
Glowing straw colour. Nice amount of character for such a low-alcohol wine. Great to see such age at this price. From one of the great names of the Hunter. Tangy lemon and beeswax. I suspect we are benefitting from the sluggish domestic market with this wine. Really refreshing but no hurry to drink! GV 10.5%
Moraitis, Sillogi 2010 Cyclades 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
From 50% each of organically grown Assyrtiko and Malagousia on the island of Paros. Sillogi means 'collection'.
Marine and very satisfying. Beginning, middle and end to the tasting experience. Lightly nutty and with lots of fruit and interest. GV 12%
£9.95 The Wine Society
Ch Rouquette sur Mer, Cuvée Arpège 2010 Languedoc, La Clape 16.5 Drink 2011-2012
60% Bourboulenc, 40% Roussanne. No oak.
Smoky nose and off-dry palate with great Bourboulenc scent and flattery. Great stuff! GV 13.5%
£9.95 The Wine Society
Laurent Miquel, L'Atelier Vermentino 2010 IGP Pays d'Oc 16 Drink 2011-2012
100% Vermentino from very stony soils in the Languedoc with a hot and dry Mediterranean climate. The vines are 11 years old, short pruned and harvested by machine at night in late September with an average yield of 70 hl/ha. The grapes were gently pressed then fermented with selected yeast for four weeks in stainless-steel tanks at a cool 14-16°C. No malolactic and matured for six to eight months in stainless-steel tanks. Winemaker Laurent Miquel. Bentonite fined. TA 3.45 g/l, pH 3.57, RS 0.26 g/l.
Lots of fresh fruit and zippiness. Mouthfilling. But £3 too expensive. Definitely buy in December only! 12.5%
£9.99 Waitrose (£6.66 from 07/12/11 to 03/01/12)
Dom de l'Aumonier, Cuvée Henri Chenin Sec 2009 Touraine 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Wonderfully broad yet zesty nose. Chock full of impact, even if not the finest, most austere dry Chenin. Tastes as though there were quite a bit of skin contact. Long with real creme patissiere on the finish. Yet overall this is a dry wine that should stand up very nicely to all sorts of savoury dishes with a creamy sauce. GV
£10.74 Domaine Direct
Haskell, Dombeya Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Stellenbosch 16.5 Drink 2011-2012 Vibrant and well sculpted. Really racy. Much more guts and structure than the average Kiwi. Attractive dry finish. GV 13.5% £10.75 Lea & Sandeman
Bellingham, The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2010 Coastal Region 16.5 Drink 2012-2016
Tight green molten honey character on the nose. Lots of bright fruit. Enjoyable now but I bet it will age into something even more subtle and rewarding. This is very young indeed. 14.5%
£10.99 (buy 2 bottles at £8.79 each) Majestic
Morgenhof, Estate Chenin Blanc 2010 Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
100% Chenin Blanc from Morgenhof, owned by Anne Cointreau since 1993, a boutique estate, producing just 25,000 cases per year. This Chenin Blanc comes from a single 9.85ha vineyard, vines 42 years old, planted on W-NW facing slopes at 280-300m. Grapes harvested by hand at 4 tonnes/ha in Feb 2010. Crushed, destemmed and pressed then the press juice underwent 20 hours cold settling. Half the juice racked to oak barrels and the other half to stainless-steel tanks for fermentation. No malo and matured for eight months in 225l French oak barriques. Winemaker Jacques Cilliers. TA 5.8 g/l, pH 3.63, RS 2.7 g/l.
Quite rich and grown up. Definitely more than a nod to the Loire. Rich and racy. By no means overpriced. 14%
Les Eminades, Montmajou 2010 St-Chinian 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Grenache Blanc, Marsanne. Funky smoky nose with real energy and tension on the palate, plus a hint of honey, and much less rich than most whites made from these varieties. A teensy bit reduced and certainly very chewy. No hurry to drink! 13%
£11.45 Aubert & Mascoli
Cave de l'Abbé Rous, Cornet & Cie 2010 Collioure 16.5 Drink 2012-2014
Jauffrey Canier. 60% Grenache Gris, 20% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Vermentino, Roussanne and Marsanne. Picked by hand in September, and sorted before going to the membrane press where they are pressed whole for Grenache Gris and benefit from a maceration pelliculaire for Vermentino. Juices are then chilled at 10°C. Fermentation will happen in barrels for 30 days. Fine lees are regularly stirred until December. The wine was bottled at the end of March 2011.
Very rich and heady with white peach aromas and some definite oak influence. A much more interesting and unusual wine than you usually find on the high street. Well done! But this needs careful choice of serving context. 14%
£11.99 Marks & Spencer (100 stores)
Jean-Marie Haag Pinot Blanc 2009 Alsace 16.5 Drink 2010-2011
Owned by husband and wife team Myriam and Jean-Marie Haag since 1982 (and started by Jean-Marie's grandfather in the 1930s), this six-hectare estate is based in Soultzmatt, 20 km south of Colmar, in the Vallée Noble.
Really quite opulent for this variety. Very rich indeed. What a charmer! Because there is lovely tension too. Really exciting. But I would drink it sooner rather than later. A little spicy. Enough acidity. But only just. It is not that concentrated but for a Pinot Blanc it is quite exceptional. 13%
Le Rocher des Violettes, Le Negrette 2009 Montlouis-sur-Loire 17 Drink 2012-2019
Chenin Blanc. Dense and polished. Very racy - bone dry with masses of acidity. Nerve and structure. GV 13% (They will be moving on to the 2010 very soon.)
£12.45 Aubert & Mascoli
Marco Sara Pinogris 2009 Friuli 16.5 Drink 2010-2011
Very pale orange. Complex almost cabbagey aroma. Then quite a sweet, silky palate. Very flattering, off dry. Lots of character here. Sultry. Not sure it'd for the long term but it offers a lot now. 12.5%
£12.80 Aubert & Mascoli
Saparale 2009 Corse Sartène 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Herby and broad. Dry farmed and herby and lots of fun. Distinct lack of juice but no lack of character.
Dom Guilhem & Jean-Hugues Goisot, Exogyra Virgula Sauvignon 2010 St-Bris 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
I like producers who give me the alcohol so precisely... This wine has a much richer nose than most young Sauvignons. In fact it already seems quite open and expressive. Attractive tension on the finish but aromatically it's quite evolved. You really can see more of a relation to Chablis than Sancerre in the structure of this lightly chewy wine. Solid and bone dry. Serious Sauvignon! 12.7%
£12.96 Domaine Direct
Julien Brocard, Dom de la Boissonneuse 2008 Chablis 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
The Boissonneuse vineyard is tended organically by Julien Brocard who is now in charge of viticulture at the Brocard estate.
Completely mainstream and correct. Racy and green and fresh. Razor sharp. 12.5%
£13.95 The Wine Society
Casa Silva, Paredones Cool Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Colchagua Valley 17 Drink 2011-13
From the super-cool Paredones area. Very cool and pungent. Super refreshing. Smoky. Dry finish. PHI style. Well done! You could enjoy it now but I suspect it will be better in a few months... 13.5%
£13.99 Wine Rack
Vasse Felix Semillon 2009 Margaret River 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Virginia Willcock. 100% Semillon. The season started with a very cool spring and consistent rains which slowed the vines' development leading to an extended flowering period. January saw some lovely sunshine which remained for the rest of the season, ripening the fruit perfectly. The proportion of Semillon which was fermented and matured in new oak provides an amazing complexity to the pure fruit characters of the Semillon; with a delicate influence of very fine grain oak tannins coupled with the unique, spicy vanillin characters of high-quality French oak.
Fine, green, racy, lots of fruit. Dry finish with the greenness the dominant character on the end. Some development already on the nose! Chewy but with real texture and interest. 12.5%
£13.99 Marks & Spencer (50 stores)
André Vatan, Les Perriers 2010 Sancerre 17.5 Drink 2011-2014
Clay and limestone. Blend. Now this is really vibrant with quite a bit of struck-match character, then masses of sleek, satisfying fruit. And great persistence. This is the sort of wine that would, nay should, get me drinking Sancerre again. In fact I may even have fallen in love with its shiny pale green foils. Very complete. Lip smacking!
Winery of Good Hope, Land of Hope Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010 Stellenbosch 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Edouard Labeye and Jacques de Klerk. The Land of Hope wines are the product of a joint venture between The Winery of Good Hope and the Land of Hope Trust. 100% Chenin Blanc from Helderberg. The vines grow in stony decomposed granite soils on a sea-facing slope which catches a cooling breeze off False Bay during the ripening season. No trellising or irrigation is used on these 30-year-old vines which yield small but concentrated crops. The grapes were all picked and sorted by hand, with the free-run juice fermented then matured on the lees in small burgundian barrels for 11 months (only one-fifth new). Part of the pressing was whole bunch, the rest de-stemmed. The pressed juice was fermented and matured apart from the free run. A small portion of tank fermented Chenin was added for the final blend, to enhance the fresh and mineral focus of the wine. Residual sugar 5 g/l, TA 5.9 g/l.
Rich and racy with an undertow of lanolin and real concentration and length. GV 13%
£14.99 Marks & Spencer (100 stores)
Moss Wood Semillon 2010 Margaret River 17 Drink 2011-2015
100% Semillon from Moss Wood, a small, family-run estate, with a total of 20 ha of vines on two properties. This was made with traditional, low-input management from their own vineyards at Wilyabrup. Vines are 39 years old, planted on red/brown gravelly loam over clay subsoil with a planting density of 1,500 vines/ha. Grapes were hand-harvested at 9 tonnes/ha, then pressed in a low-pressure membrane press. No skin contact and the juice was clarified, cold settled then fermented with cultured yeast at 18°C for three weeks in stainless-steel tank. No malo or barrel maturation. Bentonite fined and Winemaker Keith Mugford. TA 6.5 g/l, pH 3.28, RS 0.9 g/l.
An old favourite. Spreads across the palate. Textbook lanolin and lemon oil that is Semillon. Very well done. Beginning, middle and end to this wine. 14.2%
Dom Jean-Marc Brocard, Organic 2008 Chablis 16.5 Drink 2011-2016
Nadine Gublin & Odile Van der Moere. Biodynamic vineyard in Chablis-Préhy - grapes are certified organically grown. Use of medicinal plants against insects and diseases. Alcoholic fermentation with temperature control and indigenous yeasts, ages on its lees.
Bright gold. Quite intense. Lots of intensity and energy. Probably worth the premium over the regular Chablis. A little evolution and yet clearly lots of potential. 12.5%
£14.99 Marks & Spencer
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Marlborough 17 Drink 2011-2012
Infused with stones? This certainly plays the minerality card in spades, so to speak, and has a great long aftertaste. One of the most exciting Marlborough Sauvignons to have come my way. Lightness of touch. Minimal sweetness. The year was described by the laconic Kevin Judd (ex Cloudy Bay winemaker) as 'a very orderly and rewarding harvest'. Bit of elderflower blossom into the bargain. Yes, I think I probably would pay the money for this jewel that is ready to gobble already. Long and sinewy. It might last longer though I don't really see any point in cellaring it into 2013. 13.5%
RRP £15.99, widely stocked
Florian Mollet, Roc de l'Abbaye 2010 Sancerre 17 Drink 2011-2013
100% Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes are hand-picked and the wine is fermented at cool temperatures and then matured on its lees to gain extra richness in flavour. The fruity, mineral style of the wine is a reflection of the three types of flint found in the vineyards. RS <2 g/l.
Wonderfully stinky on the nose with good precision. Exciting! Well done. This is genuinely superior stuff. Flinty indeed. Long. 12.5%
£15.99 Sainsbury's (175 stores)
Valdesil Godello 2010 Valdeorras 17 Drink 2011-2012
100% Godello from 30-year-old vines grown on the slate slopes of Vilamartín de Valdeorras at an altitude of 500 metres. The 2010 growing season began with heavy rainfall during spring, followed on the third May by frost that caused severe crop damage in different areas in Valdeorras. The grapes were hand-harvested 6-18 September and the yield was 30% below average at just 23 hl/ha. A short skin-contact maceration was followed by static settling of the juice and fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Aged on the fine lees for four months in stainless-steel vats. No malo, and bottled May 2011. TA 6.0 g/l, pH 2.97, RS 3.9 g/l.
Looks a little like a rip-off of the Rafael Palacios wine. But lovely freshness and smokiness and sheer confidence - racy but not feeble. Long and neat. Creamy. 13.01%
Dom de Bellivière, Prémices 2009 Jasnières 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
From superstar and champion of forgotten vineyards, Eric Nicolas, who has revitalised this northern region.
Nervy yet off dry and toasty. Such a great amalgam of smoke and honey and pungency and minerals. Good austere finish. Super clean and exciting. 12.5%
£16 The Wine Society
Sartarelli 2009 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Picked two weeks later than the Classico grapes. Scented and very firm - lots of green leaf flavour and a very dense build. Definitely superior but a bit expensive for what it is. 13.5%
£16.95 Astrum Wine Cellar
Dom Jean-Marc Brocard, Mont de Milieu Sainte Céline Premier Cru 2008 Chablis 16.5 Drink 2013-2020
100% Chardonnay grown in Fleys, a small village near Chablis, on limestone and kimmeridgian clay soils covering steep south-facing slopes. Alcoholic fermentation occurs in stainless-steel vats to preserve the purity of fruit. Malolactic fermentation is completed and the wine is left for two months on fine lees to add complexity. RS <2 g/l. 175 stores.
Proper, exciting, true, (quite) concentrated Chablis. Still very youthful. Probably no need to buy this on the high street because it's not ready. 12.5%
Georg Mosbacher, Deidesheimer Hergottsacker Riesling Spätlese trocken 2009 Pfalz 17 Drink 2011-2014
100% Riesling from Weingut Georg Mosbacher, a family-owned estate with nearly 45 acres of vineyards in the picturesque wine village of Forst, in Germany's Pfalz region. Vines are planted on clay sand with a high percentage of stones. The grapes were hand-picked and fermented with temperature control at 18°C with selected yeast in stainless-steel tanks. Bottled in May 2010. Winemaker Juergen Dueringer. TA 7.1 g/l, RS 3.1 g/l.
Great to see a supermarket bothering with top-quality Germans! Honeyed nose. Very broad peppery palate. Lovely well-balanced stuff that is already drinking well and is chock full of fruit but not sugar. Really good! 13%
£16.99 Waitrose (8 stores)
I Clivi, Brazan 2008 Collio Goriziano 17 Drink 2011-2015
Friulano. Particularly old vines. Very intense and exciting. Nervy and great. 13.5%
£17.95 Lea & Sandeman
Dom Jean-Marc Boillot 2009 Montagny 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Smoky oak and lots of glamour and over delivery. You could accuse his wines of being too similar but to give Montagny this much appeal is quite a feat! VGV 13%
£18.50 Lea & Sandeman
Sylvain Loichet, Les Belles Filles 2009 Pernand-Vergelesses 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
One of his négoce wines. Flint and liquorice. Sleek and mineral. Racy and salivating. Well done. 13%
£18.95 Berry Bros
Dom des Escaravailles, La Galopine 2010 Côtes du Rhône-Villages 17 Drink 2011-2013
45% Roussanne, 45% Marsanne and 10% Viognier, grown on stony limestone and clay on very steep slopes at around 200 m altitude. The grapes were hand-harvested with very strict selection at a yield of 35 hl/ha. Destemmed then pressed in a pneumatic press with the elimination of the final pressing. The juice was racked and then fermented at 18 °C in fine-grained French oak barriques (25% new barrels and the others one and two years old). A single stirring of the lees took place during fermentation, and bottling took place in late January. Winemaker Gillles Ferran.
Big and bold and dramatic. Very powerful but well balanced and not flabby. Not cheap but this is one of the few wines in the selection with real artisan character. Honeysuckle. Long. 12.5%
Huet, Le Haut-Lieu Sec 2007 Vouvray 17 Drink 2012-2020
100% Chenin Blanc from 15-year-old vines grown on brown clay and chalk soils. The grapes were hand-harvested and then fermented in oak: either barrels of 225-litre, tuns of 600 litres or vats of 3,000-litre capacity. Fermentation took place at low temperatures of 14 -17 °C and lasted roughly two months. Only yeasts from Domaine Huet's own grapes and cellars were used, they never use cultured yeasts, preferring the indigenous ones that give a localised, more authentic flavour. TA 5.66 g/l, RS 7.7 g/l.
Dense and vibrant and off dry - like a fruit just cut open. Still quite tense. Not so unlike a Savennières. Proper wine! 13%
Éric Forest, L'Âme Forest 2008 Pouilly-Fuissé 17 Drink 2011-2015
LIft and delicacy on the nose. Really racy and juicy with impressive extract but a certain coolness overall. Firm and with some potential for development. Bracing and clean. 13%
£19 Woodwinters in Scotland, £21.95 Uncorked, £22 Butlers Wine Cellar in Brighton, Good Wine Shop in Kew, Houghton Wine Company in Cardiff
Lagar de Costa Albariño 2010 Rías Baixas 16.5 Drink 2011-2013
Fairly light nose and bone dry on the palate. Rather more substantial than most. With a real peacock's tail on the finish. Certainly worth a premium though perhaps not quite such a big one as is suggested. 13.5%
£19.50 Astrum Wine Cellar
Causse Marines, ZacMau 2008 Vin de Table 17 Drink 2010-2014
Mauzac. Exciting apple-peel and honey nose. Really exciting! Middle and fruit with chew on the end, and really long and reverberant. Chewy finish keeps it vital. GV 13%
£19.50 Dynamic Wines
Dom de la Chapelle, Hors Classe 2009 Pouilly-Fuissé 17 Drink 2011-2014
This is Domaine de la Chapelle's top cuvée, made from the best barrels of Vieilles Vignes. Hand-picked in two passages through the vineyards, with pneumatic pressing, long, cool fermentation (thermoregulation in barrels), no pumping, the wine spends six months on fine lees, and 50% is aged in new barrels. Catherine and Pascal Rollet leased this estate from 1982, but recently bought it outright. They have 3.8 ha of vineyards in Pouilly-Fuissé, and the average age of vines is 57 years.
Lightly floral nose - not desperately expressive aromatically but with great honeyed/blossomy concentration on the palate. A pretty wine with many a botanical on the palate. Lovely delicate texture. Neat finish and no great hurry to drink. Quite long. Very French. (Not a tasting note I think I have ever written before, but this could not have come from anywhere else.) Still very slightly chewy. 13.5%
Le Jonc Blanc, Acacia 2008 Montravel 17 Drink 2011-2014 Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc. Firm coppery gold. Smoky nose and off-dry palate. Very unlike most blends of these varieties - is this down to acacia wood? Tangy and blossomy. Really nice wine. Quite long. Looks a little simple and cheap (the label). 13.5% £20 Aubert & Mascoli
Salomon Undhof, Von Stein Reserve Grüner Veltliner 2009 Kremstal 17 Drink 2012-2015 2010 already released. Quite evolved on the nose and lacking the precision of the 2010 Wachtberg but delivers lots of opulent pleasure. A hedonist wine with about 4 g/l RS. Long and quite rich. 14% £20.95 Lea & Sandeman
Damien Laureau, Le Bel Ouvrage 2008 Savennières 17 Drink 2013-2020
Funky smoky apple-skin aromas - hugely attractive (to me, anyway). Real pungency and firmness of Savennières. And both cleanliness and energy. Thoroughly refreshing though still pretty chewy. You could (just) enjoy it with food now. 13.5%
£21.97 Aubert & Mascoli
Romain Bouchard, Vau de Vey 2008 Chablis 17 Drink 2011-2017 29-year-old vines, in organic conversion since 2007. Whole-bunch pressing, transfer by gravity. Settling of must for 18 hours, indigenous yeast, fermentation in stainless steel (70%) at 19-20 °C and 30% in French oak. Maturation on fine lees with pumping over and occasional stirring during 11 months. Wonderfully informative but not wordy back label. Lovely textbook Chablis sliding into its middle period. Very salivatory. Great precision and acidity. Liquefied stony cool Chardonnay. Very impressive. For lovers of classicism. 12.5% £22.45 Jascots
Dom de la Bongran, Sélection EJ Thévenet 2004 Viré-Clessé 16.5 Drink 2009-2013
Baked apples and real interest. Firm and dense and round and a real please-all. Look at that age! It must mature at a snail's pace (as my botrytised 1983 from this address showed recently). Exceptional in every way. Fairly low acid. 14%
£22.50 Lea & Sandeman
Cottanera 2010 Etna 17 Drink 2011-2013
95% Carricante, 5% Catarratto. Solid, firm and mineral on the nose. Very juicy - really gets the saliva flowing! Complete - quite full bodied but not heavy. An interesting addition to the range of flavours available. Dry finish. 13%
£22.50 Astrum Wine Cellar
Leeuwin Estate, Prelude Chardonnay 2008 Margaret River 16.5 Drink 2014-2018
The little brother of Leeuwin's famous Art Series Chardonnay, one of Australia's most admired. Lightly salty/minerally nose. Very sweet palate entry (but then I have just been tasting Chablis...) with great delicacy of texture but slightly hot on the finish. Texture is the greatest asset here. 14.5%
approx £22.50 Domaine Direct
Trimbach, Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre Gewurztraminer 2005 Alsace 17.5 Drink 2009-2014
Very correct floral nose with a firm backbone. Not a bad price for the age and purity! Refreshing dry finish. Well done! A mineral Gewurz that has not an ounce of flab but is utterly true to the varietal. Long and a challenge to food matches. Light, fresh cheese? Fiona Beckett suggests lobster and ginger with this. Foie gras. Tense. Long. 13.5%
£23 The Wine Society
Pietracupa 2009 Fiano di Avellino 16.5 Drink 2010-2012
Creamy sweet nose - very rewarding and flattering. Lemon cream and just off dry. An easy sell, I would have thought. Some tension. 12.5%
£24.95 Astrum Wine Cellar
Dom Rapet Père et Fils, Les Combottes 2009 Pernand-Vergelesses 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Vincent Rapet. All handpicked in small boxes, not de-stemmed, use of pneumatic press. After 24 hours, racking at low temperature, the free-run juice is placed in barrels to ferment, the proportion of new barrels being 30%. Ageing on its lees and stirring lasts until July, bottling is carried out after 12 months' ageing.
Good savour. Quite delicate. Very appetising. Green fruit dominates the merest hint of butterscotch on the palate. Good to see such an authentic but approachable white burgundy on the high street. Neat. Pretty forward but useful. GV 13%
£25 Marks & Spencer (150 stores)
Reichsrat von Buhl, Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling Grosses Gewächs trocken 2008 Pfalz 17.5 Drink 2010-2016
Really good! Dried grasses on the nose and just the right amount of fruit on the palate. Great balance and already delicious. Creamy texture off-dry white that could go well with a wide range of foods. Real vibration on the finish. Hint of spice. Definitely Pfalz but the 21st century svelte version. Long. 13.5%
Cantina Terlano, Vorberg Riserva 2008 Alto Adige 17 Drink 2010-2012
Very creamy and complete on the nose. Super ripe and absolutely ready to gulp. But there is definition here and it's not fat. Good stuff for current drinking! 13.5%
£26.95 Astrum Wine Cellar
Louis Jadot, Premier Cru 2008 Chassagne Montrachet 16.5 Drink 2010-2014
Workmanlike rather than sensational but a very worthy, reliable white burgundy that is drinking well now.
£29.99 Wine Rack
Dom de Souch, Marie Kattalin 2006 Jurançon 17 Drink 2012-2016
Petit Manseng. Rich and cheesy with really exciting tang and life. Chewy. So much acidity that it's very lively. 13%
£30.95 Dynamic Wines
Dom Fernand & Laurent Pillot, Noyers Brets 2008 Puligny-Montrachet 17 Drink 2010-2013
Very reductive nose. Quite different from the Chassagne village wine! Creamy and rewarding. Lots of fruit and yet structure too. GV 13.5%
£30.95 Lea & Sandeman
Freestone, Estate Grown Chardonnay 2009 Sonoma Coast 16.5 Drink 2012-2015
Fine, green fruit flavours though without a real undertow of density. A delicate wine that does seem rather fog-influenced. (Unlike the much richer 2008 Pinot.) Zesty grapefruit peel character. Even a little bitter on the finish but this should age into something very satisfying. 14.1%
£165 per 6 ib Private Cellar
Dom Vincent et François Jouard, Morgeot, Les Fairendes Vieilles Vignes Premier Cru 2008 Chassagne-Montrachet 17 Drink 2011-2015
Attractive, classic, smoky/reductive nose. Very firm lemony finish. Solid, savoury, someting to get your teeth into. Just what white burgundy lovers love; all you have to do is decide whether it's worth £35. But it has none of the common faults of white burgundy. Long. Just the ticket. 13.5%
Dom Louis Moreau, Les Clos 2008 Chablis Grand Cru 17 Drink 2012-2020
Louis Moreau practices controlled viticulture using only organic products and no fertilisers or pesticides. Average age of the vines is 45 years. Traditional vinification. 50% of the blend is aged in French oak barrels for between three and six months.
Very cool and correct and dense. Racy top notes. Pretty impressive. Long and reverberant. 13%
£38 Marks & Spencer (50 stores)
Dom du Château Gris, Les Terrasses du Château 2007 Nuits-St-Georges 16.5 Drink 2011-2014
Owned by Lupé Cholet. 100% Chardonnay from a terraced vineyard on the upper slopes just south of Nuits-St-Georges, planted on clay-rich lime soils over marl. Vinified in 228-litre oak casks from Vosges, Allier and Burgundy, of which 30% were new, the balance second and third fill. Matured in the same casks on lees for 14 months. TA 4.2 g/l, pH 3.15, RS 2.0 g/l.
Nice sulphidey notes. Very chewy. But real energy here. Distinctive and a real confuse-a-crowd appellation! Well structured and just a little smoked. If someone told me there was some Pinot Beurot in here I would not be at all surprised… 12.8%
Benjamín Romeo, Que Bonito Cacareaba 2009 Rioja 17 Drink 2011-2020
Very sweet, slightly oily nose. Romeo believes his white will outlast all his reds. 48% Viura, 32% Malvasia, plus 70-year-old Garnacha Blanco. San Vicente. Complex nose that opens out on to a lovely blossomy rich palate with structure. Really interesting! More floral than the old Murrieta style. Creamy. Long. Tense. Quinine. Some of the most intriguing flavours I have encountered in a long time. Wonderful fan of flavours on the finish. 14.5%
£43.60 Corney & Barrow
Nicolas Joly, Clos de la Coulée de Serrant 2008 Savennières 18.5 Drink 2011-2020
This much discussed estate is at last making great wine again. Light honey colour. Deep flavour with some volcanic notes somehow - explosive! Great stuff. There really is a lot buried in here. Bravo! Great intensity. Long. 13%
£53.95 Dynamic Wines
Bindi, Quartz Chardonnay 2009 Macedon Ranges 17 Drink 2011-2017
Much richer than the Composition bottling on the nose. Racy and dense. Lovely wine! Really satisfying combination of mineral and fruit. 13.5%
£55 Noel Young
Cullen, Kevin John Chardonnay 2009 Margaret River 17.5 Drink 2010-2015
Tight and creamy on the nose. Very fine and delicate and focused. Masses of youthful acidity. Doesn't seem anywhere near ready. Basket press. Very fine.
£57.99 Oz Wines
Château-Grillet 2006 Château-Grillet 18.5 Drink 2010-2015
Scented and heady. Smoky too. Lovely and complete - much more interesting than the average Condrieu. Dubourdieu started as consultant in 2002. Really nerveux and dried apricots. Fresh yet replete and reverberant on the finish, so long. It will be interesting to watch the development of this estate now that it's a sibling of Ch Latour in Bordeaux.
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