Is Mount Etna Italy’s greatest secret when it comes to whites? It certainly makes some amazing wines from the Carricante grape: taut, minerally and refreshing. This is stony and crisp with notes of white flowers and lime blossom and a tangy finish. Sicily’s answer to Chablis. Drink now to 3 years.
A high altitude blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha from the cooler Rioja Alta sub-zone, this modern blend typifies what’s happening in Spain’s most famous wine region at the moment. It’s juicy and flavoursome with sweet, spicy raspberry fruit, medium alcohol, understated oak and a tangy, refreshing finish.
This looks and tastes suspiciously like Vat 1, Tyrrell’s sublime Hunter Semillon. It’s light and unoaked, but with lovely aged aromas and flavours of toast, cream and citrus fruit. On past performance, these wines age for decades, but you’ll have trouble keeping your hands off the screwcap here. Wonderfully complex. A bargain on the 25% off deal, so hurry.
Sourced from one of the most under-rated appellations in the Midi, this old vine, biodynamic blend of mostly Syrah with 20% Grenache would blow most Crozes-Hermitages out of the water. It’s silky and aromatic, with classic Syrah scents of black olives and blackberries, supple tannins and remarkable length. There’s no oak here, so the fruit really sings.
If your impression of Sicily is of a sweltering island making chunky reds, cheap, New World-style whites and Marsala, you haven’t discovered the Nerello Mascalese grape from Mount Etna yet. Andrea Franchetti’s Burgundian-style red, sourced from vines as old as 120 years, is remarkable: perfumed and elegant, with notes of red cherry and wild strawberry, savoury tannins, refreshing acidity and impressive length and complexity.
These 2009 Beaujolais crus really are delicious, so if you are looking for a gluggable summer red to chill out with, this Régnié is the perfect candidate. It’s wonderfully bright and aromatic, with notes of raspberry and red cherry, good texture, lightweight tannins and old vine concentration, with sappy acidity and a refreshing finish. It should keep for a year or two, too.
You might want to wait until this excellent, entry point Grüner goes on special offer at the end of the month, but it’s a really good wine with which to celebrate the arrival of summer. It’s taut, minerally and complex, with pure fruit flavours, no oak, and lovely aromas of white flowers, white pepepr and wet stones. The kind of thing that makes you want to sing in the (Viennese) woods.
Moscato is one of my favourite summer aperitifs, capable of greatness as well as perfume and zing in the hands of a top producer like Gianmario Cerutti. This one comes from a sunny (“suri” in Italian) vineyard located at 350 metres, combining freshness with fruit concentration. This has 125 grams of residual sugar, but you don’t notice it thanks to the citrus fruit acidity. Grapey, frothy, filligree bubbles with a palate-cleansing finish.
Make sure you buy the 2009 vintage of this brilliant Douro red, rather than the 2008, because it’s a step up in terms of perfume and elegance. This is a harmonious blend of Touriga Nacional. Tinta Francesa and Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), showing exotic blackberry and bluberry fruit, a touch of sweet oak, plush tannins and real vibrancy. Significantly, it’s got none of that Douro bake character, just masses of gluggable fruit.
If the price of Barolo and Barbaresco leaves you spluttering into your pasta, some of the regional wines made from the Nebbiolo grape can be good value alternatives, enabling you to enjoy this most brilliant (and temperamental) of Italian varieties without raiding your savings account. This is very elegant and comparatively forward, showing considerable finesse and poise, medium-weight tannins, a core of sweet and savoury tobacco and red cherry fruit, fresh acidity and a fine tapering finish.
It’s easy to forget about Alsace Riesling in the rush to buy examples of the grape from Germany and Australia, but they can be some of France’s best whites, especially if they are made in a dry style, like this one. The wine is fresh and delicate, with lovely lime-like flavours, some stony minerality, a hint of the complex bitterness that is so typical of the region and a fine, lingering finish.