The tamptation with Fiano is to pick it too ripe and flacid, so it’s a joy to taste this subtle Ausse expression of one of southern Italy’s most promising varieties. This is minerally and fresh, flecked with pearskin and a hint of apple and a long, spicy finish. A winery to watch.
This is a Chardonnay-dominated blend, but it’s the 33% Pinot Noir that really comes through on the nose and palate, giving the wine a malty, raspberry fruity richness. The Chardonnay really kicks in the finish, lifting the wine and giving it frehsness and zest. Classy stuff.
Laithwaites only makes 999 bottles of this wine (spot the marketing spin), but it’s a pretty impressive English take on a Blanc de Blancs Champagne, with small bubbles, creamy autolysis and a bready, refreshing finish. The acidity is just a little raw perhaps.
It’s comparatively rare to find Sauvignon Blanc made as a sweet wine on its own (as opposed to blended with Semillon), but this value-for-money sticky from Chile suggests that the grape is well suited to these styles. Honey and quince with an undertone of pink grapefruit.
One of a series of brilliant Chablis to emerge from this domaine (or domaines) in 2010, this is a textbook example of what Chardonnay can produce in a great year in the Yonne. It’s tangy and fresh with lovely chalky minerality and purity of fruit. Deliciously drinkable.
If you’re used to PX being a sweet grape from Jerez, this wine may surprise you because it’s dry and refreshing. It’s also from the edge of Chile’s Atacama desert. It’s zesty and crisp with a mealy texture and a slight edge of bitterness, which works well with food.
Fresh, perfumed Torrontés from La Rioja in Argentina showing the classic talcum powder notes fof the variety. The wine is a little oily perhaps, but it’s full of flavour and spice, with a bright lemony finish and a hint of grapeskin.
Bonarda could be one of Argentina’s USPs if only more producers made the wine as well as this rich, savoury, liquorice and blackberry-like red, with its sweet vanilla oak, medium weight tannins and spicy concentration. Serious stuff with an Italianate twist.
Sourced from one of the best value appellations in the south of France, this varietal Syah is all about fruit purity and elegance, with notes of red cherry and blackberry and refreshing acidity.
It’s a measure of how far Aussie Chardonnay has advanced in recent years, that even a Chardonnay from warmer climate McLaren Vale is light-bodied and unoaked. This is appealingly dry with flavours of stone fruit and a bite of lemon zest-like acidity.
Pieropan makes some of my favourite Soaves. Its single vineyard wines are sublime, but its larger, entry point blend is pretty good, too. This has a white pepper fragrance, with stony minerality on the palate and a fresh, almost saline finish. Good to see it under screwcap, too.