As Drink Me has become more and more global, I’m happy to announce that we’ll be bringing a monthly instalment of recommended wines to our readers across the United Kingdom. I’ll be telling you exactly where you can find these wonders, how much they go for as well as all the information you need to pick up some conversational tidbits along the way. In this first monthly top list, I seek to share 5 brilliant white wines with you, which I’ve encountered thanks to an array of UK suppliers.
This single vineyard offering is a blend of 70% Gargagena which is the predominant grape in all Soave, and 30% Trebbiano. It’s wonderful complexity comes from one year aging on the lees in concrete, then a further year in bottle before release. The nose produces a waft of sage and lemon grass. There are flavours of lime, apricot, hazelnut and dried herbs that dance with grace when swirled. Persistent bone dry finish. Lean, elegant and precise. Streets away from the mass-produced Soave of the 80’s that gave the variety a bad rep.
Edelzwicker (translation: noble blend) wines have been made in Alsace for hundreds of years. This charming example is 46% Pinot Blanc, 22% Pinot Gris, 18 % Riesling, 12% Gwertztraminer and a squirt of Muscat. The fragrant, perfumed aromas are undeniably gorgeous. The initial hit is apple, but tropical kiwi and passion fruit come soon after, finishing with floral notes and touch of saffron. Pleasing purity and tremendous length. A vibrant and edgy acidity dictates the style of the wine. There’s a trend of similar blends coming out of New Zealand where these fragrant grapes perform very well. This style is the original though, and is a classier affair.
Origin: Alsace, France
Where To Buy: The Drink Shop
How Much: £11
Lousy Chilean SB is becoming common place unfortunately, especially on supermarket shelves. This however, is a goody. The sizable (and reputable) Vina Errazuriz produce it for the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range with fruit from Casablanca which is amongst the most exciting White regions in Chile. It’s cool climate works wonders with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. This one was zesty, zippy and zealous. It’s all grapefruit and exotic fruits upfront, then lime leaf carries you through to slight saline in the lingering finish. It’s quite nimble, so try to drink it cold to retain the structure and refreshing bite.It’s £8, but often discounted as part of sales promotions. Anything else which catches your eye in the Taste the Difference range is probably a safe bet also.
Origin: Casablanca, Chile
Where To Buy: Sainsbury’s
How Much: £8
This is Fiano of the absolute highest quality that is interesting enough to drink all day! Most Fiano hails from Campania but Planeta of Sicily make this example, which is revered across all of Italy and further afield. It exudes ripeness with nectarines/tangerines and red grapes all laced together perfectly with a generous streak of minerality. There’s a bit of honeysuckle filling out the flavours and bringing some weight to the party. Strikes a good balance by combining a dry style with natural sweet flavours from the early-season (August) ripe pickings.
Origin: Sicilia, Italy
Where To Buy: Great Western Wines
How Much: £23.50
Loire is famous for producing superb Sauvignon Blanc, but Anjou is one of the handful of AOC’s that uses Chenin Blanc. Loire CB is legendary for aging potential. The longer you leave these beguiling bottles, the better the reward with more layers than your Gran wrapped up warm in winter. At 2011 this is still young, but it’s beginning to develop a richness with honey, toffee and sesame showing in between the freshness of green apple skin, lime and white flowers. The soft edges, lingering finish and general grace only add to the delight.
Origin: Loire Valley, France
Where To Buy: Waitrose
How Much: £14