92

2021 Pepe Mendoza Pureza Moscatel, Alicante

( £15.50, 12.5%, The Wine Society )

Pepe Mendoza is one the best producers in the Alicante region, using old methods – fermentation in amphoras in this case –  and local grapes such as Moscatel de Alejandría to produce wines of great character, elegance and refinement. This engagingly scented white has jasmine and orange peel aromas, good concentration and structure and flavours of quince, lemon zest and tangerine, complemented by a tangy, dry finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2023-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Spain, White, Moscatel de Alejandría
93

2021 The Foundry Grenache Blanc, Voor Paardeberg

( £15.50, 14%, The Wine Society )

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.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-27Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, South Africa, White, Grenache Blanc
92

2021 Little Giant Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills

( £12.99, 13.5%, Waitrose )

Australian Chardonnays have been through a revolution over the last decade, emerging as fresher, brighter and better balanced wines that work really well with food. This example from the cool climate Adelaide Hills is a real find at the price, with aromas of gunflint, lemon butter, and layers of peach and citrus zest. Beautifully balanced.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Australia, White, Chardonnay
91

2021 M&S Found Weißburgunder, Pfalz

( £9.50, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer )

Gerd Stepp, the winemaker behind the very tasty Found Pfalz Pinot Blanc (aka Weißburgunder) used to be a buyer at Marks & Spencer but is now back in his native Germany sourcing wines like this one. Creamy and textured, with some weight from lees contact in tank, flavours of pear, quince and wet stones and a fresh, palate-cleansing finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Germany, White, Pinot Blanc
90

2021 Tesco Finest Chenin Blanc, Bottelary Hills, Stellenbosch

( £7.50, 13.5%, Tesco )

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.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-25Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
93

2019 Pegasus Bay Main Divide Riesling, Canterbury

( £10.99, 13%, Majestic )

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is what (almost) everyone seems to want to drink from the so-called Land of the Long White Cloud these days, but why not try this amazing Riesling from Matt Donaldson’s Pegasus Bay Winery in the South Island instead? Rich, textured, perfumed and slightly exotic, it’s a medium-dry style with flavours of honey, lime juice and nectarine, lots of racy acidity and wonderful structure and depth. Brilliant with spicy food.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-29Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, New Zealand, White, Riesling
92

2021 Waitrose Loved & Found Loin de l'Oeil, Gaillac

( £8.49, 12%, Waitrose )

Waitrose’s Loved & Found range is a great value source of lesser known varieties. This one is made from the very rare French grape Loin de l’Oeil – easier to drink than it is to pronounce – and packs a lot of flavour for a sub-£10 white. Tangy and juicy, with layers of pink grapefruit and nectarine, some weight from ageing on its fermentation lees and a bright, chalky finish. Delicious stuff from Jean-Noël Barrau.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-25Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, France, White, Loin de l'Oeil
93

2021 Balassa Bor Marty McFly Furmint, Tokaji

( £11.95, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

“Wow!” was my one-word tasting note when I initially sipped this remarkable dry Furmint from Hungary. The Tokaji region is best known for its delicious sweet wines, but that’s changing thanks to producers like Balassa Bor. Intense, stony and lightly wooded, this jauntily named white has citrus, fresh dough and aniseed flavours, wonderful purity and focus and racy, palate-cleansing acidity.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Hungary, White, Furmint
94

2020 Black Book Painter of Light Clayhill Vineyard Chardonnay, Essex

( £20, 12%, Black Book Winery )

Painter of Light is a superb expression of one of Essex’s finest vineyards, made by the talented Sergio Verrillo. With aromas of struck match and popcorn, it’s fresh and elegant, with racy acidity and a cheesy, salty, nutty palate with subtle stone fruit undertones. Weighty without being fat, it’s what great pre-climate change Chablis used to taste like. One of England’s finest whites.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-27Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, White, Chardonnay
93

2017 Quinta da Silveira Colheita Branco, Douro Valley

( £16.95, 12.5%, Davy's )

It’s something of a paradox. How can a region as hot as Portugal’s Douro Valley, home of full-throttle Ports, also produce elegant, graceful white wines? The answer lies in site selection, picking dates and the acidity of the local grapes. This cuvée of Rabigato, Gouveio, Viosinho and Arinto is a delicious example from winemaker Rodrigo Martins. It’s both lightly tropical and refreshing, with notes of caramelised pineapple, pear and green apple, fresh, almost salty acidity and a hint of kerosene that’s reminiscent of an aged Riesling. Remarkable at the price.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, Portugal, White, Arinto, Gouveia, Rabigato, Viosinho
90

2020 Taste The Difference Coteaux du Giennois, Loire Valley

( £10.00, 12%, Sainsbury's )

Coteaux du Giennois is not as famous as Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, the two great Sauvignon Blanc-producing appellations of the Loire Valley but it often offers better value for money, partly because of its lower profile. This one from Vignobles Berthier, sold under Sainsbury’s reliable Taste The Difference label is tangy, stony and refreshing with a lovely interplay between citrus and passion fruit flavours.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, White, Sauvignon Blanc
92

2020 Weinhaus Sauvignon Blanc Kalkstein, Pfalz

( £7.49 until July 12th, 12.4%, Waitrose )

A white wine for Pouilly-Fumé lovers on a budget, especially at the reduced price until next month, this brilliant Sauvignon Blanc comes from the German Pfalz region of all places. Combining aromas of elderflower and nettles, it has a stony, gunflint-scented nose, flavours of kiwi fruit and gooseberry and a dry, racy, low-alcohol finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2022-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Germany, White, Sauvignon Blanc