The Roussillon region, which forms part of France’s border with Spain, is best known for its reds and fortified wines, but can make surprisingly impressive whites, too. Jérôme Collas makes small amounts of this deliciously characterful white blend from a combination of old-vine Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc and Macabeu, grown at a cool 350 metres. The result is a taut, herbal, savoury white with refreshing acidity, a nutty, salty tang and hints of white flowers and fresh pears. One of number of great Roussillon selections from Joie de Vin.
Cairanne whites are something of a rarity – even more so than in nearby Châteauneuf-du-Pape – but when they are as impressive as this blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier and Roussanne, you wonder why. Textured, complex and oatmealy, this shows deftly interwoven oak, subtle pear and apricot fruit and a mineral flourish.
At only £15.95 a half bottle, this has to be one of the best value fortifieds on the market at the moment. It’s a mature, salty, rancio-style wine made from Grenache Blanc and Macabeu that’s mid way between a Sherry and a Tawny Port in style. Try it poured over vanilla ice cream or with a walnut tart.
Made entirely from Garnacha Blanca, this delicately oaked white is creamy and herbal, with lovely texture, pear and honeysucke fruit. a touch of aniseed and a taut, minerally finish.
There’s a touch of Muscat in the blend of Macabeu and Garnatxa Blanca here, adding a floral, grapey top note to the wine’s minerally, almost saline core. Fresh and floral with flavours of pink grapefruit and wild herbs.
From the flatter, clay rich soils of the lower Emporda region, this is a blend of Malvasia, Xarel-lo, Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu. Richer in colour with some tannin and grip, this is almost bitter sweet, with honeyed notes and a dry finish. Needs rich food to show at its best.
An oak-fermented blend of Ganatxa Blanca, Cariñena Blanca and Muscat from one of the region’s better co-ops. The oak is quite assertive here, with some marmalade-like notes from the Muscat and a bitter finish.
A blend of two Garnatxas (Blanca and Gris), fermented in barrel together. It’s a tangy, grapefruity white with stylish oak integration, medium colour and impressive depth. Modern and stylish, with a minerally finish.