Jean-Claude Mas is making some of the best wines in the south of France right now and is next to unbeatable for value under £10. This brilliant white blend is a more or less equal cuvée of Vermentino, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc with a splash of Viognier for extra perfume. Lightly but stylishly wooded, it has jasmine and rose petal aromas and a palate that combines flavours of peach, pear and citrus and a twist of Mediterranean herbs.
New World countries like Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are so good at making Sauvignon Blanc that it’s easy to forget about the variety’s home base in the Loire Valley. And yet, at their best, wines from place like Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are unbeatable. This example from long-term Tesco supplier Fournier Père et Fils is well worth trading up for. Pithy, nettley and mouth-wateringly fresh, it has good texture from time on lees, stony minerality and flavours of elderflower, lime, celery and white pepper. Delicious.
Made with the Trebbiano di Lugana grape, sometimes called Turbiana in the region, this tasty, refreshing, summery white hails from vineyards close to the shores of Lake Garda. Floral and enticing, it has aromas of jasmine and honeydew melon, plenty of acidity and zip, lemon zest, peach and pink grapefruit flavours and a slightly bitter, nutty twist. Perfect for a picnic.
Has summer finally landed in the UK? Fingers crossed. If so, this wonderful organic Frappato from the Vittoria area in south-eastern Sicily is just the thing to serve straight from an ice bucket. Pale and ethereal, it has aromas of rosehip and Turkish Delight complemented by a light, tangy, refreshing palate with gentle, savoury tannins and flavours of pomegranate and wild strawberry. Perfect for Pinot Noir drinkers on a budget.
I had to check the price of this amazing Cape bargain twice to make sure that it was correct. Made by the talented Riandri Visser of Cape Point Vineyards, who also spends a lot of time producing wine in the Loire Valley, it’s a brilliant Fairtrade certified cuvée of Sauvignon Blanc and 14% Semillon. Sappy, crunchy and mouth-wateringly fresh, it has lemongrass, gooseberry and grapefruit flavours and a waxy, herbal undertone.
Albariño is Galicia’s most famous white grape, but Godello from the same part of so-called green Spain can be every bit as good. This appealingly packaged number from Martín Codax is engagingly fresh and perfumed, with jasmine and chamomile scents, tangerine and pink grapefruit flavours and thrilling freshness and minerality. Amazing value for a tenner.
Ricardo Baettig produces this stunning Chardonnay with grapes from two sources in Malleco – Baettig (owned by his brother, Pancho) and Kofkeche – both of whom grow the 95 clone. It’s a brilliant first release from Morandé, making the most of one of the most exciting cool climate regions in Chile right now. Chiselled, scented and refined, with effortless balance, concentration and focus, flinty minerality and a pure, tapering citrus and aromatic spice finish. Amazing value.
Greek Assyrtiko has become so trendy these days that even Aldi are doing an own-label. The top wines, especially from the volcanic island of Santorini, have crept up in price, so it’s a pleasure to find a very drinkable example of the grape on the high street. This one hails from Macedonia in the north west of the country and was judiciously blended with 10% Chardonnay. Crisp and unoaked, with citrus, wet stone and chamomile flavours complemented by a hint of peach.
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.
Part of a very tasty line up of Savoie wines that have just arrived at Tanners, this is the just the kind of wine I’d like to drink if I ever ended up on a skiing holiday again. Here in the UK, it tastes pretty good as we prepare for British summer time to start: a light, graceful, floral Jacquère with jasmine and honeysuckle aromas, racy, stony, green apple and citrus peel flavours, subtle minerality and a slight lift of spritz.
The Voor Paardeberg is sometimes described as “Swartland Lite”, to distinguish it from the wines made on the other side the mountain, but the region has come into its own in the last five years. This is one of a growing number of stand-alone Grenache Blancs being made around the world, especially in warm regions where the variety retains its acidity. Tangy, pithy and well-structured, with layers of complexity from ageing in barrel, terracotta and stainless steel, as well as 30% malolactic, it has citrus, camomile, aniseed and wet stone flavours and thrilling minerality.
I missed the recent Chenin Blanc conference in South Africa, but I was there in spirit. The French grape has made its home from home in the Cape, where it is responsible for many of the country’s best whites. This one comes from Stellenrust, a winery that makes several different interpretations of the variety, and represents wonderful value. Green apple and pear flavours are framed by vivid, sappy acidity, with just a hint of oak spice as a backdrop.