The kind of natural, skin-contact wine that’s a pleasure to drink – not always the case, alas – this is a four-way, pan-Romanian assemblage of Fetească Regală, Muscat Ottonel, Riesling and Pinot Grigio, showing admirable freshness for a wine that was made without added sulphites. Musk, brioche and white flower aromas are a scented introduction to a palate of orange zest, rose water, citrus and quince and a touch of tannic grip.
Altos de Torona’s impressive Albariño hails from the O Rosal sub-region of Rías Baixas, close the River Miño and Spain’s border with Portugal. Aged on its lees for six months, it shows the intensity and concentration of the 2022 vintage balanced by plenty of acidity, zip and minerality. There are aromas of wet stones and lemon zest here, complemented by lime, kiwi fruit and white peach flavours and a salty, refreshing finish.
This is one of three Viogniers that Louisa Rose makes at Yalumba, and it’s my favourite of the trio, despite being the mid-priced offering. Wonderfully pure, enticing aromas of orange blossom and stem ginger segue into a palate of cream, white peach and citrus zest. This has lovely freshness and zip, subtle texture, understated oak and a spicy finish.
One of the most exciting Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs I’ve had in a long while, Matt Thomson and Sophie Parker-Thomson MW’s brilliant white is a nuanced, layered single vineyard expression from Dillons Point. It has lime, gooseberry and pink grapefruit flavours, subtle, stony reduction and sappy, mouth-watering acidity. Satisfyingly dry, focused and long on the palate.
There are so many native grapes in Italy that it’s easy to forget that the place makes really smart Chardonnay too. This example from Alpine Trentino is bright, fruity, tangy and refreshing, with a touch of the appealing bitterness that you often find in the country’s whites, citrus, pear and clementine fruit, lots of vibrant acidity and a faint hint of vanilla spice.
I had to do a double take at the price of this wine (it’s on offer until next week), given that it’s a Riesling from one of the Mosel’s best producers and vineyards. But ours not to reason why and all that. This is the perfect summer apéritif, all crunchy green apples and peachy sweetness. Wonderfully refreshing at just 8% alcohol, it has spicy undertones, slatey minerality and a beautiful embrace between tangy acidity and 38 grams of residual sugar.
Basic Italian white wines can be pretty neutral. Indeed, you could argue that blandness is a huge part of Pinot Grigio’s success. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This stylish cuvée of Verdicchio – one of the country’s most characterful white grapes – with 15% Malvasia tastes every bit as good as it looks. Pear, citrus peel and aniseed flavours are supported by lip-smacking acidity, a hint of jasmine and a stony, mineral-etched finish. An incredible bargain.
Burgundian winemakers used to be a bit sniffy about Aligoté, but climate change has prompted a shift in attitude to the tangy, famously acidic grape variety, exemplified by the Aligoteurs movement of which Sylvain Pataille is a leading figure. This is a brilliant wine from an outstanding producer that could sell at twice the price, showing a touch of older oak, citrus, wet stone and green apple flavours, nice texture and weight and the concentration that often seems to come from old vines.
I’ve just spent the best part of a month in South Africa and I’m more in love with Cape Chenin Blanc than ever. This is not the cheapest example in the high street, but it’s worth spending a little more to buy a wine of this quality. Sourced from 40-year-old vineyards, it’s a rich yet refreshing white that shows the cool elegance of the 2021 vintage. Honey, peach and citrus fruit flavours are framed by scented oak, green apple acidity and a dusting of patisserie spices.
Jean-Claude Mas is making some of the best wines in the south of France right now and is next to unbeatable for value under £10. This brilliant white blend is a more or less equal cuvée of Vermentino, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc with a splash of Viognier for extra perfume. Lightly but stylishly wooded, it has jasmine and rose petal aromas and a palate that combines flavours of peach, pear and citrus and a twist of Mediterranean herbs.
New World countries like Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are so good at making Sauvignon Blanc that it’s easy to forget about the variety’s home base in the Loire Valley. And yet, at their best, wines from place like Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are unbeatable. This example from long-term Tesco supplier Fournier Père et Fils is well worth trading up for. Pithy, nettley and mouth-wateringly fresh, it has good texture from time on lees, stony minerality and flavours of elderflower, lime, celery and white pepper. Delicious.
Made with the Trebbiano di Lugana grape, sometimes called Turbiana in the region, this tasty, refreshing, summery white hails from vineyards close to the shores of Lake Garda. Floral and enticing, it has aromas of jasmine and honeydew melon, plenty of acidity and zip, lemon zest, peach and pink grapefruit flavours and a slightly bitter, nutty twist. Perfect for a picnic.