I haven’t tasted a generic Chablis as good as this in years, so bérets off to Canadian producer, Patrick Piuze, who rents vineyards in the region to make his hand-crafted wines. This has a little bit of added texture from older oak ageing, but it’s the fruit that sings on the palate: focused,tangy and lemon zesty with a chalky, minerally undertone, a savoury note from wild yeast fermentation, some cream from lees contact and incredible palate length. Imagine a Chablis mixed crossed with a dry Riesling and you have some idea of how good this is.
A delicious, unoaked blend of two under-rated Mediterranean varieties, Roussanne (80%) and Vermentino (20%) from a little known area in the Languedoc. It’s fresh and tangy with notes of wet stone, green olive, fresh herbs, stone fruit and lemon peel. Crisp and refreshing but with underlying weight and concentration in reserve.
2009 Vasse Felix Semillon, Margaret River (£13.99, 12.5%, Marks & Spencer). If you find some Hunter Valley Semillons a little austere, especially when they’re young, try a bottle of this western Australian example instead. Made by the talented Virginia Wilcock, it’s got lovely notes of toast, honeysuckle and cream soda, with zesty acidity and subtle vanilla oak. It’s very enjoyable now, but I suspect this will reward cellaring too.
If you’re not aware of the remarkable Chardonnays that Michael Brajkovich is producing north of Auckland, you’re missing out on some of the New World’s best white wines. This is very Burgundian indeed with fresh, mineral, butter and citrus fruit flavours, delicate oak and a long, harmonious finish. Great now but will age for at least another five years.
My cellar is full of wines from this legendary producer, so I can confrim that they age beautifully in bottle. This one is no exception. It’s impressive now, but will be even better in a year or two. Delicate, restrained, medium sweet, yet balanced by palate-tingling acidity, this is the sort of thing that makes Riesling lovers shudder with pleasure.
After an impressive tenure at Rustenburg, Adi Badenhorst is doing some really exciting things at his new project in the Swartland. This fruit salad white blend of mostly Chenin Blanc with Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Verdelho, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc is a stunner. There’s a sheen of French oak, but what distinguishes the wine is its fruit depth and complexity: perfumed and blossom-scented with notes of honey, ginger spice, fresh apples, peach and a crunchy, refreshing finish. A producer to watch, given his track record.
Is Mount Etna Italy’s greatest secret when it comes to whites? It certainly makes some amazing wines from the Carricante grape: taut, minerally and refreshing. This is stony and crisp with notes of white flowers and lime blossom and a tangy finish. Sicily’s answer to Chablis. Drink now to 3 years.
This looks and tastes suspiciously like Vat 1, Tyrrell’s sublime Hunter Semillon. It’s light and unoaked, but with lovely aged aromas and flavours of toast, cream and citrus fruit. On past performance, these wines age for decades, but you’ll have trouble keeping your hands off the screwcap here. Wonderfully complex. A bargain on the 25% off deal, so hurry.
You might want to wait until this excellent, entry point Grüner goes on special offer at the end of the month, but it’s a really good wine with which to celebrate the arrival of summer. It’s taut, minerally and complex, with pure fruit flavours, no oak, and lovely aromas of white flowers, white pepepr and wet stones. The kind of thing that makes you want to sing in the (Viennese) woods.
It’s easy to forget about Alsace Riesling in the rush to buy examples of the grape from Germany and Australia, but they can be some of France’s best whites, especially if they are made in a dry style, like this one. The wine is fresh and delicate, with lovely lime-like flavours, some stony minerality, a hint of the complex bitterness that is so typical of the region and a fine, lingering finish.