92

2020 Domaine Lafage Centenaire Vieilles Vignes, IGP Côtes Catalanes, Roussillon

( £11.60, 13%, Vinvm )

A wine of the week for you to sip while listening to my latest cork talk podcast with Jean-Marc Lafage, this remarkable cuvée of mostly Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris and 20% Roussanne is one of the most exciting whites I’ve tasted from the Roussillon region in ages. Citrus, fennel and thyme flavours are embellished by stylish nutmeg oak, with stony intensity adding another dimension of freshness to the finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-93, France, White, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Roussanne
92

2020 Domaine Caroline Bellavoine Bourgogne Aligoté, Burgundy

( £14.50, 12.5%, The Wine Society )

Aligoté used to be regarded as something of a second-class grape in Burgundy – fit for Kir Royale or impoverished white wine drinkers on a budget – but climate change is altering its status in a region where Chardonnay sometimes struggles to retain acidity in earlier, hotter vintages like 2020. This unoaked example is wonderfully fresh, taut and mouthwatering with no oak to clutter its pure, citrus and green apple flavours and some added texture from malolactic fermentation.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, White, Aligoté
92

2020 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio Serro Cielo, Campania

( £18.99-£21.90, 13%, Connaught Wines, Valvona & Crolla )

Falanghina is one of southern Italy’s oldest grape varieties – its name derives from the Latin word falangae (phalanx) as vineyards were said to resemble the military formation used by the Romans – and deserves to be better known outside its country of origin. This unwooded example comes from one of the best producers in the region and is a lovely combination of musk, white flower and wild herb aromas, racy, palate-cleansing acidity and some lees-aged derived richness.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-95, Italy, White, Falanghina
93

2019 Domaine des Deux Vallées Clos du Petit Beaupréau, Savennières, Loire Valley

( £20.85, or £18.50 by the case, 14%, Haynes Hanson and Clark )

There’s so much good South African Chenin Blanc on the market these days that it’s easy to forget about the variety’s home turf in the Loire Valley. This comes from what is arguably the best appellation in the region for dry styles – Savennières. Grown on sand and schist, this is a superb, single-parcel wine from Philippe Socheleau, with a lovely combination of weight, freshness and minerality. Very lightly wooded, it has flavours of citrus, cream, green apple and fennel and a long, engaging, bone dry finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-28Similar Wines: £20-25, 90-94, France, White, Chenin Blanc
93

2020 Nunzio Ghiraldi, Lugana

( £14.99, or £12.99 as part of a case of six, 13.5%, Majestic )

Something of a favourite with Majestic managers, apparently, and I can see why, this is a spectacularly exciting white from the Lugana region close to the southern shore of Lake Garda. Made from the Turbiana grape (the local name for Verdicchio), it’s a pithy, stony delight that’s mid-way between a Spanish Albariño and a Chablis in style. Tangy and well balanced, with notes of citrus peel and gunflint and a hint of stone fruit sweetness. Long, complex and refreshing.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Italy, White, Verdicchio
90

2020 Tesco Finest Stellenrust Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch

( £7.50, 13.5%, Tesco )

Tertius Boshoff and his team make some of my favourite Cape Chenin Blancs, offering wines of varying levels of price and complexity, right up to some of the best examples in South Africa. This lightly wooded example is a really good introduction to the joys of the variety, with notes of hay and baking spices on the nose, pear, peach and citrus on the palate and a dusting of vanilla. Stellenrust is also Faitrade accredited, tying in with the subject of Jono Le Feuvre’s article this week.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £5-8, 90-94, South Africa, White, Chenin Blanc
92

2018 Tabalí Barranco Río Hurtado Viognier, Limarí Valley

( £14.50, 13.5%, The Wine Society )

I wouldn’t normally recommend a Viognier with a few years of bottle age – it’s a grape best consumed in its blossomy, intensely perfumed youth – but this unoaked example comes from a very special site in the Chilean Andes, located at 1,600 metres, and has improved over the last 12 months. There are still plenty of creamy ginger spice and apricot flavours on offer, but they’re balanced by stony freshness and minerality. Delicious.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, Chile, White, Viognier
90

2020 Stemmari Grillo, Sicily

( £6.74, 13%, Waitrose )

I thought this seafood friendly Sicilian white was really good value at £8.99, but it’s even better on offer at £6.74. Picked at night to retain acidity and sourced from vineyards at 400 metres in the foothills of Mount Aurelian, it’s suitably tangy and refreshing with no wood to interrupt the precision or vibrancy of the fruit flavours. Salty and briney, with a stony undertone, wild herb and citrus intensity and a refreshing, tapering finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £5-8, 90-94, Italy, White, Grillo
92

2019 Domaine Jean-Michel Charton Rully Thivaux, Rully, Burgundy

( £18, 13%, The Co-op )

Is this the best-value white Burgundy in the high street? It’s certainly in with a very strong shout. Sourced from the village of Rully, which lies just to the south of the more prestigious communes of the Côte de Beaune, it would slot very easily into a tasting of more expensive wines from Puligny- or Chassagne-Montrachet. Subtly wooded, with lemon zest, crème fraîche and vanilla spice flavours, impressive acidity for a 2019 and a long, refined finish.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-26Similar Wines: £15-20, 90-94, France, White, Chardonnay
93

2020 Tesco Finest Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-Fumé, Loire Valley

( £13, 13%, Tesco )

Sauvignon Blanc can be a one-glass wine, but this is an example that makes you want to share and finish the bottle. Made for Tesco by long-term supplier Fournier Père & Fils, it’s a wonderfully perfumed, pithy, stony Loire white with notes of green herbs, elderflower and lime, zesty acidity and a chalky, almost salty tang. The best sub-£15 Sauvignon on the high street right now.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-25Similar Wines: £10-15, 90-94, France, White, Sauvignon Blanc
91

2020 Found Grenache Blanc, Western Cape

( £8, 14%, Marks & Spencer )

Part of the impressive Found range of off-the-beaten-track varieties from Marks & Spencer (most of the line up is worth trying), this is a delicious Grenache Blanc from the Perderberg winery, made with dry-farmed grapes by Albertus Louw. Showing the zingy freshness that’s typical of many 2020 Cape whites, this is intense, focused and unwooded, with green apple, citrus and aromatic herb notes and impressive underlying concentration for a wine at £8.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-24Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, South Africa, White, Grenache Blanc
90

2020 Berton Vineyards Metal Label Vermentino, South East Australia

( £7.99, 12.5%, Waitrose )

Vermentino, or Rolle as its known in France, is one of those grapes that retains acidity in warm climates, like Assyrtiko or Chenin Blanc. So expect to see a lot more of it planted as the impact of climate change is felt around the globe. This crunchy, youthful, white pepper, lime and wild herb-scented Aussie example is bracingly fresh and low in alcohol with a touch of Pinot Grigio and Fiano adding extra weight and perfume.

BuyDrinking window: 2021-23Similar Wines: £5-£10, 90-94, Australia, White, Vermentino