Wines To Drink On A Date

by Cong Cong Bo
On a cold, bright Saturday afternoon in January, a student couple entered my Cambridge wine shop-bar, Amphora. It was early and the venue was empty. After glancing at the extensive...
92

2021 Dr Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Kabinett, Mosel

( £12.79, 8% )

I had to do a double take at the price of this wine (it’s on offer until next week), given that it’s a Riesling from one of the Mosel’s best producers and vineyards. But ours not to reason why and all that. This is the perfect summer apéritif, all crunchy green apples and peachy sweetness. Wonderfully refreshing at just 8% alcohol, it has spicy undertones, slatey minerality and a beautiful embrace between tangy acidity and 38 grams of residual sugar.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-30Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Germany, White, Riesling
92

2020 Heinrich Spindler 3 Trauben, Pfalz

( £11.95, 12%, The Wine Society )

The name of this intriguing wine from the Pfalz region of Germany – three grapes in English – refers to the unusual combination of varieties it contains – Pinot Blanc, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, which are rarely combined. The result is a fresh, tangy, perfumed white with grapefruit, lime and lychee flavours, subtle wet stone top notes, lots of acidity and zip and a satisfyingly dry finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-27Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Germany, White, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc
91

2021 M&S Found Weißburgunder, Pfalz

( £9.50, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp, the winemaker behind the very tasty Found Pfalz Pinot Blanc (aka Weißburgunder) used to be a buyer at Marks & Spencer but is now back in his native Germany sourcing wines like this one. Creamy and textured, with some weight from lees contact in tank, flavours of pear, quince and wet stones and a fresh, palate-cleansing finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Germany, White, Pinot Blanc
92

2020 Weinhaus Sauvignon Blanc Kalkstein, Pfalz

( £7.49 until July 12th, 12.4%, Waitrose )

A white wine for Pouilly-Fumé lovers on a budget, especially at the reduced price until next month, this brilliant Sauvignon Blanc comes from the German Pfalz region of all places. Combining aromas of elderflower and nettles, it has a stony, gunflint-scented nose, flavours of kiwi fruit and gooseberry and a dry, racy, low-alcohol finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Germany, White, Sauvignon Blanc
93

2018 Stepp Riesling S, Kallstadter Saumagen, Pfalz

( £15, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp used to work at Marks & Spencer before he went back to his native Germany to make wine again. Our loss was the Pfalz’s gain, as this is one of the best dry Rieslings on the market for £15 or under. Sourced from the Kallstadter Saumagen vineyard on soils with a high percentage of limestone, it’s wonderfully racy, taut and complex with some creamy weight from six months on its fermentation lees, pithy minerality, lime, jasmine and wet stone notes and a thrilling finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Germany, White, Riesling

The Taste of Smoke

by Harry Eyres
I write in a time of ashes. Not only have certain political dreams and projects recently gone up in smoke; the destructive fires have been raging more literally, all across...