Top holiday wines 2 - whites
7 Dec 2013 by Jancis Robinson

This is a longer version of an article also published in the Financial Times.


White-wine bargains are always rarer than their red counterparts but there are 29 truly fine wines here, from all over the world. See last Saturday's article for my festive fizz selection.

I have cited the best UK price and stockist of which I'm aware; apologies if stock has sold out since my researches. Use wine-searcher.com to find prices and stockists elsewhere. I've tried to give single bottle prices (two-bottle prices for some Majestic deals) but each retailer has slightly different terms and conditions. Delivery charges and minimum order requirements may be applied by retailers without bricks and mortar outlets.

Wines are listed in ascending order of lowest known price in the UK.

Vigné-Lourac, Cuvée Classique 2012 IGP Comté Tolosan
Blend of south-west France (Mauzac, Loin de l'Oeil, Muscadelle) and Sauvignon Blanc grapes make an intensely 'local' and comfortable wine with a certain smoky perfume and only moderate acidity. 12%
£6.95 Great Western

Jérôme Choblet, Le Fief Guérin Vieilles Vignes Sur Lie 2012 Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu

Relatively full bodied Muscadet but definitely saline and fun. Very juicy and salivatory with real depth of flavour. 2012 was a great Muscadet vintage. 12%
£7.99 Waitrose

Thymiopoulos Malagousia 2012 Náoussa
Full marks to M&S for seeking out a fine example of the Greek Malagousia grape that is responsible for this clean, fragrant wine with an attractive undertow of molten honey and lively vegetation. Very good balance and interest. Old vines triumph yet again. 12%
£8.99 Marks and Spencer

Kumeu River, Village Chardonnay 2010 Kumeu
Very lively and jewelly. Admirably precise and appetising from one of New Zealand's most experienced Masters of Wine.
£9.50 The Wine Society, also Haynes Hanson & Clark

Maison Roche de Bellene, Cuvée Spéciale 2011 Bourgogne
Most Bourgogne Blanc comes from Mâcon but this barrel-fermented, keenly priced example made by Nicolas Potel is very pure and tastes very Côte d'Or. Creditably long. This would make a great house white. 13%
£10.95 The Wine Society

McWilliams, Mount Elizabeth Semillon 2006 Hunter Valley
This fine example of a uniquely Australian wine style took top gold at the Sydney show. Feather-light with super-racy lemony fruit, lots of refreshment and just a hint of varnish. To be drunk any time this decade. Light but not weak. 10.5%
£11.49 Wine Rack

Miguel Torres, Cordillera Chardonnay 2011 Limarí Valley
Half the fruit grown in this new, cool region was fermented in new French oak barrels. With its vaguely stony nose, it tastes more like Chablis than any other European style. Not the utmost in sophistication but very good value. 13.5%
£11.50 Hoults, Amps, Portland Wine, Thos Peatling, Wilks & Co

André Pigeat 2012 Quincy
Quincy can offer great value compared with its more famous neighbour Sancerre; much older vines too. Amazingly rich nose for a Sauvignon Blanc. Really seriously broad, floral and fun but sufficiently fresh too. 13.5%
£11.95 Jeroboams

Ridgeback Chenin Blanc 2012 Paarl
Mildly nutty nose with some flowers, honey and tension on the palate. No hurry to drink this. It's unusually easy to see a relationship with Chenin Blanc's roots in the Loire. Lovely tangy finish. Good stuff. 14%
£11.99 Real Wine Co

Finca Viñoa 2012 Ribeiro
Smart, heavy bottle. Made from a blend of four Galician grape varieties - mainly Treixadura. Satisfyingly complete, refreshing and persistent. 13.5%
£13.50 H2Vin

Dr Bürklin-Wolf, Wachenheimer Riesling trocken 2011 Pfalz
Unusually exuberant for a 'village' rather than single-vineyard wine. Perhaps prolonged biodynamic viticulture has imbued extra zip and flavour.
£13.50 Tanners

Dom Vincent Dampt 2012 Chablis
Very pale. Quite intense and sculpted. Good aperitif. A fine emissary of the superior 2012 vintage in Chablis. 12.5%
£13.95 Corney & Barrow

Ch Roquefort, Roquefortissime 2012 Entre Deux Mers
An all-Sauvignon dry white bordeaux from a family estate. Excellent price for a creamy wine aged in new French oak barrels. Bright-fruited and seductive. Good balance and already drinking well with no obvious oak. Green fruit flavours. 13.5%
£13.99 Waitrose

Luigi Maffini, Kratos Fiano 2012 IGT Paestum
Full, scented and one of the most concentrated and sculpted Campanian Fianos I have encountered recently. For classicists? 13%
£13.95 Lea & Sandeman

Toni Jost, Bacharacher Hahn Riesling trocken 2011 Mittelrhein
Opulent floral and orange peel nose. There's a great explosive bunch of flowers and fruit on the palate. Lovely! Not bone dry by any means but excellent value in terms of crisp but fruity delivery. 13.5%
£14.50 The Wine Society

Dom de l'Écu, Expression de Gneiss 2011 Muscadet
This wine designed to showcase the soil type of the vineyard is chock full of personality. Edgy, dense and pungent. A real mouthful - so unlike many Muscadets. 12%
£14.50 H2Vin

Dom Chavy-Chouet, Les Femelottes 2011 Bourgogne
A bit pinched but a very well priced for a wine grown in Meursault, even if on the fringes. Light and tight. 13%
£14.95 Roberson

Errázuriz Chardonnay 2011 Aconcagua Costa
From a new vineyard close to Chile's Pacific coast and really very fine indeed. Satin-smooth texture and flavours of lime, damp stones and with an appetising dry finish.
£14.95 Winedirect.co.uk

Zind Humbrecht, Heimbourg Gewurztraminer 2008 Alsace
Very broad, peachy, intense nose and then a firm, grippy palate from one of the star winemakers of Alsace. No fat, just structure. Great to find a mature, single-vineyard example of this heady grape at a specially reduced price. 14%
£14.99 if 2 are bought from Majestic

Ch Depeyre, Symphonie 2011 IGP Côtes Catalanes
One of Roussillon's great blends of Grenache Gris with about a third Grenache Blanc, from grapes once grown to produce the local strong, sweet wines. But this is bone dry, tense with tingle and real interest. Lovely undertow and layers of flavour. No hurry to drink this. 14.5%
£15.95 Stone Vine & Sun

Lyrarakis, Thrapsathiri 2012 Crete

Thrapsathiri is the grape. Some skin contact. Exciting grip on the palate and some refreshing aromas of vegetation. Produced in tiny quantities and offering real substance and interest. Neat finish. 13.5%
£16.95 Berry Bros

Schug Chardonnay 2011 Carneros
Very nice balance between the delicacy of Carneros and the ripeness of California. A complete wine that is by no means overpriced. Lovely texture, just a hint of malolactic fermentation. Very open and easy to appreciate. Bravo! 13%
£16.99 Marks and Spencer

Dom Grand, Tradition Savagnin/Chardonnay 2010 Côtes du Jura
Pale gold and very nutty on the nose - this tastes like pure Jura with a hint of varnish as well as walnuts. Real excitement without a sky-high price. Very clean, super-tangy finish. Ready to enjoy. 14%
£17.95 Berry Bros

Rolly-Gassmann Gewurztraminer 2002 Alsace
Fun to see such maturity! Very pungent and concentrated yet still lively. It is quite unlike a young Gewurz but is truly educational. Certainly doesn't taste past it - just a tad more paint-like than some. Quite a bit of sweetness and a hint of ginger. 13%
£17.95 The Old Bridge Wine Shop

Robert Oatley, Finisterre Chardonnay 2011 Margaret River
Rich start, very flattering and mouthfilling. No evidence of the anorexia that has been afflicting Oz Chardonnay recently. Made by Larry Cherubino, this was much more satisfying than any of the white burgundies in the same Waitrose line-up - even those far more expensive. 13%
£18.99 Waitrose

Dom Hubert Lamy, Les Frionnes Premier Cru 2011 St-Aubin
Light and fresh - masses of acidity and some mealiness, lemon and fresh. Classic nervy white burgundy. 13%
£24.30 Lay & Wheeler

Louis Jadot, Les Narvaux 2009 Meursault
Proper, recognisable smoky Meursault. Very juicy and substantial on the palate and already quite developed aromatically. 13%
£25 if two bottles are bought Majestic

Sabinares, Blanco de Guarda 2011 Arlanza
Special personal project of the winemakers at Laithwaite's Rioja supplier Gomez Cruzado in a DO near Burgos. Field blend that is mainly Albillo. Excitingly heady nose that is on the verge of sourness but is chock full of flavour. Honeyed start and then wonderfully broad, nutty flavours plus freshness. Very serious wine. For food and with a great expansive finish. 14.5%
£25 Laithwaites

Dom Thomas Morey 2011 Chassagne-Montrachet
Smoky nose. Quite a standout! Lots of fruit and it's very accessible. Mid weight and just the ticket. ⁞13%
£34.75 H2Vin

Dom Tessier, Les Charmes-Dessus Premier Cru 2010 Meursault
Quite heady and with lots of fruit concentration on the palate. Easy and fun. Early maturing. 12.5%
£49.95 Flint, also Uncorked, Prohibition Wines

Next week - reds