BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £15-20, 95-100, Argentina, White, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Torrontés
This pioneering white blend of Semillón with 35% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Torrontés from the brilliant Susana Balbo and her team has rapidly established itself as one of the best in Latin America. Barrel fermented in 60% new wood, it’s leesy, toasty and very fresh, with a lovely combination of beeswax, pink grapefruit and struck match flavours, a dusting of sweet spices and engaging elegance. Contact Las Bodegas for local stockists.
BuyDrinking window: 2020-24Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
Unirrigated bush vines planted in 1983 supply the fruit for this intense, focused, naturally fermented Chenin Blanc from this exceptional family-owned business in the Bottelary Hills. Elegantly oaked, it’s balanced and nuanced with pear, citrus and apple fruit and refreshingly low alcohol. Just the thing to drink on #drinkcheninblanc day tomorrow.
BuyDrinking window: 2020-25Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Germany, White, Riesling
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.
Drinking window: 2015-19Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Germany, White, Riesling
Delicious, mouth-watering dry Riesling from one of my favourite Mosel producers. The extra palate weight and the warmth of the vintage are a perfect foil for the mienralyy, cirtrus-edged acidity here. Pear and apple, with a hint of spice and a stony, bone dry finish.
BuyDrinking window: 2016-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Australia, White, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio
One for opera buffs, or possibly just bohemians, this is an Aussie take on an Alsace-style blend, based on Pinot Gris. Aromatic and appealing, with orchard fruit and spring blossom on the nose, it segues into waxy, pear and apple spice flavours and a tangy finish.
BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Austria, White, Grüner Veltliner
It’s great to see an Austrian Grüner of this quality in a major supermarket. It’s not a power packed wine, but what it lacks in weight, it makes up for in freshness. Floral and medium weight, with some pepper spice, pear and citrus fruit flavours and a zesty, tangy finish. A really good food wine – and I don’t say that very often.
BuyDrinking window: 2015-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Malagouzia
We have Vangelis Gerovassiliou to thank for rescuing the Malagousia grape from obscurity in the 1970s. This comes from his oldest plantings and it’s typically rich, textured and scented, with grapey, musky aromas, flavours of stone fruit and orange peel and a ripe, satisfying finish. At its best with spicy food.
BuyDrinking window: 2015-22Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
This is my white wine discovery of the year in my recently published South Africa report. Sourced fromthe little-known area of Montagu, it’s a brilliant Chenin Blanc (Steen) made by three friends, including the talented Reenen Boorman of Boschkloof. Formerly sold off to the local co-op, these grapes have produced something remarkable in the first vintage under their own label: saline, textured and mealy with some skin tannins, wax and spice and perfectly judged oak. One of the Cape’s best Chenins.
BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £5-£10, 91-95, Georgia, White, Rkaciteli
Fresh from a trip to Georgia, I recommended this wine on Saturday Kitchen as a way of pushing the vinous boundaries on daytime TV. I’m delighted that it was so well received. As orange wines go, this Rkaciteli from the country’s best wine region, Kakheti, is not that extreme, as only part of the blend was fermented and aged in clay amphorae (qvevri). But it’s still a very good example of the style: bone dry and slightly bitter (from the skins) with notes of orange rind and black tea and a lingering, dry finish.
Drinking window: 2015-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Italy, White, Riesling
There isn’t a lot of competition in Piedmont, but this has to be the region’s best Riesling. Nor would it look shabby in a tasting with examples from the Alto Adige. Made entirely with clone 49 on poor, sandy soils, it’s a dry, tangy style with notes of white flowers and lime zest and a crisp, tapering finish. Beautifully balanced.
BuyDrinking window: 2015-18Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, New Zealand, White, Riesling
An evocative name for a delicious wine. This full-bodied “dry” Riesling from the Waipara Valley is actually off-dry, but it’s none the worse for that. This is exotic and rich, with old vine complexity and flavours of lime, peach and nectarine. It’s especially good with spicy food, but is also delicious as an aperitif.
BuyDrinking window: 2014-20Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Germany, White, Riesling
The Riesling grapes that go into this cuvée come from a series of old vines sites in the Paul Valley close to the River Mosel. It’s another very assured performance, with a richness that’s almost remiscent of the Pfalz. Musky and faintly exotic, with lovely weight and density, sustained by tangy acidity. The balanced between slight sweetness and acidity is very well judged.