Some good whites to celebrate the start of spring

AFTER a cold and very windy winter when good big red wines seemed the thing, here are some good whites to herald spring.

First a couple of English whites, starting with:

Bowler and Brolly English Bacchus from the Lyme Bay Winery in Devon 11.5% (Aldi £9.99) Winemaker Sarah Massey has produced an aromatic,

crisp, dry, citrus and elderflower wine with mouthwatering acidity.

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Chapel Down Flint Dry 2022, Kent 12.5% (Sainsburys, Waitrose, around £14) Josh Donaghay – Spire Head winemaker. Crisp, fresh apple and pear, citrus and a little smokiness. Goes perfectly with chicken, seafood and salads.

Sauvignon Blanc is probably the most popular white wine. Here are a couple of good ones:

Villa Maria Earth Garden Sauvignon Blanc 2022, Marlborough, New Zealand 12% (Tesco, Booths) Organic with fresh passion fruit and lime.

Taste the Difference Sauvignon Blanc, Western Australia 2022 14% (Sainsburys £9) This is blended with 14% Semillon. Winemaker David Hohnen – ex Cloudy Bay - has produced a grassy, clean and crisp wine, citrussy, grapefruit and lime.

Pinot Gris is probably at its best in Alsace. Try:

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Pinot Gris Reserve 2021, Cave de Beblenheim 13% (Waitrose £11.99) From a good cooperative, this is soft and round.

There are many good ones from New Zealand:

Giesen Pinot Gris, Vineyard Selection 2020 Marlborough, New Zealand 12% (Lightfoots £12) Pear, peach and almond aromas with a textual

mid-palate, rich fruit and lovely persistent finish.

Ned Pinot Grigio 2022, Marisco Vineyards, Waihopi Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand 13.5% (Sainsbury’s £9). Naturally slightly pink, with a nose of quince and stone fruit. The palate has juicy nectarine and apple flavours and a ripe, off dry finish.

Still with New Zealand, try:

Zephyr 6. Marlborough Riesling 11% (The Wine Society £14.50) Lemony, fresh and fruity. A delight.

Not to be outdone is:

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Blind Spot Riesling 2022, South Australia 11% ( Waitrose £8.99) From the cooler Clare Valley, this is a crisp, vibrant, classic Australian Riesling with juicy, fleshy fruit, nectarine and apple.

Villa Wolf Gewűrztraminer 2020, Ernst Loosen, Pfalz, Germany 12% (Lightfoots £14.25) Highly fragrant and on the palate the wine has a lush and creamy texture and a slightly sweet finish. It pairs well with spicy dishes such as Thai and Indian cuisine and rich cheeses.

Compare the above with:

Waimea Gewűrztraminer 2022, Nelson, New Zealand 12.5% (£12.99 mix 6 Majestic) A tropical-fruit-laden wine, off dry, full of floral notes and flavours of orange zest and lychee. Again a marvellous match for spicy foods such as Thai curry.

On to the Chenin Blanc grape. Both France and South Africa have excellent ones. Try:

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22 Families Chenin Blanc 2021 South Africa 12.5% (M&S £10) Floral, peachy, citrussy.

M&S Classics No 33. Vouvray Demi Sec 2022 12% (M&S £9) Off dry with delicate floral nose, palate of sweetish cooked apple, hint of lime.

Now for a couple of good Italian whites:

Roversi Pecorino 2022 12% (Asda £7.75) From the Abruzzo in central Italy. Fruity, light and fresh. Great with fish. ”Happiness in a glass.”

M&S Expressions Ribolla Gialla 2022 12% (£8) An increasingly popular wine from Friuli-Venezia Giulia in northern Italy bordering Slovenia. Flavours of nectarine, fresh herbs, grapefruit and a little almond.

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Finally, we can’t leave out Chardonnay and other Rhone varieties:

Journeys End Lions Ear Chardonnay 2023, Gabb Family, Coastal Region, Western Cape, South Africa 13% (Morrisons £8.50) Named after a local shrub. Loaded with delicious citrus and stone fruit characters, followed by some richness from delicate oak aging.

Robert Oatley Semaphore Series Chardonnay 2022, Australia. 12.5% (Coop £10.50) Ripe citrussy fruits and gentle oak.

Macon Villages 2022 13% (M&S £12) This South Burgundian wine has flavours of apple, lemon and a hint of peach.

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Coop Irresistible Macon Villages Chardonnay 2022 Cave de Lugny 13% (£10.50) This delicious Chardonnay has a palate of refreshing lemon citrus and hints of crunchy green apple. Good with fish, chicken, salads or cheeses, or on its own.

Familie Perrin Cotes du Rhone Blanc 2023 13% (Sainsburys £12) A blend of Grenache, Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier. From the owners of Chateau de Beaucastel, this is a very fruity and light, dry wine. Great with fish, poultry, cheese, and fruity desserts.

Paul Mas Languedoc Blanc 2022 13% (Tesco £10) From a blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Vermentino, this has white peach and lemon flavours, a floral nose and mineral finish. Winemaker Jean-Claude Mas.

So there we are. Some good whites to celebrate the start of spring.