It’s looking light a scorching summer in the UK. The smell of BBQ is in the air, and everyone is reaching for a tasty, refreshing wine. It’s perfect timing for our monthly installment of the Top 5 Whites. I’ll be breaking down the most noteworthy t bottles I’ve encountered in the last month, and letting you know where you can find them. We’re starting and ending with Chardonnay’s, sipping some aromatic varieties in the Aussie and Kiwi sunshine, and heading to Northern Spain for a weird and wonderful treat.
The friendly folk at the Oxford Wine Company hosted a Burgundy Tasting at their Oxford Wine Cafe. For me this cracking Chablis was the highlight of the night. With many lazy, boring Chablis on the market (look at any pub wine list for example,) it’s easy to forget how good the premium kit really is. And how good value for money it is… a Premier Cru for under £20 – yes please! It has a very clean citrusy nose with wet wool and medicinal scent. The wine is bone dry and razor sharp. A rich complexity (probably helped by 45 year old vines) and decent acid kick gives it further persistency. Everything a good Chablis should be.
Origin: Burgundy, France
Where To Buy: Oxford Wine Company
How Much: £19.99
Hopefully you saw our article about Vinoa and their novel approach to enabling wine exploration. June’s box was focussed on South Australia and this example of Riesling is evidence of why many say the Claire Valley region produces the best Riesling in the new world. It has a distinctive Riesling nose with kerosene and copper mingling with red grapefruit. It’s slightly off dry, but ultra clean and very linear. It’s lemon sorbet with slatey minerality with a real zing in the finish focused front of mouth pointing to high acidity. A super pleasing wine!
Origin: Claire Valley, Australia
Where To Buy: Vinoa
How Much: £14.20
I ordered this from a wine list in a restaurant. My first sniff provided a tightly wound bouquet of pineapple and floral aromatics. It also had a clear bakery scent which I wasn’t at all expecting from this variety. The label confirmed this is barrel fermented (3 months in old French oak, with lees stirring) which isn’t common for PG. The palate delivers a similar combination of fruit backed up by slight savory notes. It’s like a liquid tropical fruit tart. It’s got the brightness and freshness you’d expect, but it’s also got a richness, both in flavor and creamy texture, which is a by-product of the mild oaking. A great example of an easy drinking wine that retains complexity.
Origin: Marlborough, New Zealand
Where To Buy: Wines Direct
How Much: £11.50
One of the most mind-bending young wines I’ve ever come across. Gregory Perez grew up in Bordeaux, before falling in love with the soils and grapes of Bierzo. He makes enormously interesting wines with minimal intervention. He has quite the cult following and I can totally see why drinking this wine. It wears a peach tinted cloak which is apt as there’s lots of stonefruit on the nose which is oxidised and super funky. It clatters onto the palate with pear, peach and fennel then almond, ginger and marzipan as it develops towards a reductive style. The American oak has thoroughly permeated the wine leaving a fleshy, nutty, herby nature. Such a unique beast which I’d struggle to compare to another wine.
Origin: Bierzo, Spain
Where To Buy: Naked Wines
How Much: £13.99
As much as we all like to say we’re not quick to judge, we often do, especially when it comes to budget wines. So when a neighbor said “try this Chardonnay I bought for £3.50 from Aldi” I was fearing the worst. What I got was a peachy, lightly-oaked Chard which didn’t take itself too seriously but had enough character that it was worth paying attention to. No chemical imbalance and no manufactured feel. A genuine pleasure to drink. I’ve bought and drunk a few since and each time I’ve thought it packs WAY above its price point. A victory for Aldi and cheap Chardonnay!
Where To Buy: Aldi
How Much: £3.49