Varietal whites are so popular these days – all those Pinot Grigios, Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs – that it’s easy to overlook the charms of blended ones, especially when they’re made from an unusual combination of grapes. This wonderful, unoaked Rhône Valley example from Domaine May combines Clairette with 35% Grenache Blanc and 25% Picpoul and is engagingly fresh, stony and tangy, with citrus, quince and wild herb flavours and lovely mid-palate weight.
White Varietal: Clairette
Rock n’ roll excessby Matt Walls
Ventoux: wild wild Eastby Matt Walls
2009 The Liberator (This Bird Has Flown), Swartland( £11.95, 14.5%, The Wine Society )
This Cape blend of Chenin, Viognier, Chardonnay and Clairetter Blanche won’t be to everyone’s taste – it’s got some age to it and a developed, Sherry-like not – but I salute its ambiiton and left field flavours. Rich and honeyed, with some vanilla and nutmeg spice, fresh acidity and bags of concentration. Appealingly funky.
2010 BLANKbottle The White Black, Western Cape( £18.50, 13.5%, Stone, Vine & Sun )
Yet another name to add to the list of stunning white blends that are emerging from South Africa, Pieter Walser’s delicious cuvée of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Clairette and a splash of Chardonnay tastes as good as it looks. Honey, apple and stone fruit flavours are nicely framed by gentle vanilla oak, with richness, spice and minerality all adding to the overall complexity of the wine. Long and well balanced, this is a remarkable buy under £20.