FOOD & DRINK: Some brighter wines for these warmer days

IT is spring and to greet the season here are some good value white wines to herald the warmer weather.

Starting with four Sauvignon Blancs:

Identity Sauvignon Blanc 2022 , Journey’ End, Stellenbosch, South Africa 12.3pc (Sainsbury’s £9) From vineyards near the Atlantic Ocean’s cooling breezes, this has a nose of passion fruit, gooseberry and hint of citrus. Palate is slightly minerally and citrussy.

Villa Maria Private Bin 2022 Marlborough New Zealand 12pc (Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose around £10) This winery lies in the crater of a volcano. Flavours of ripe gooseberry, passion fruit and lime.

Yealands Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand (Sainsbury’s £11) Passion fruit, luscious lime and fresh herbs; a vibrant, crisp finish.

In contrast this one from the small appellation of Menetou Salon in France’s Loire Valley:

Domaine Olivier Foucher 2022 14pc (Majestic £12.99 mixed six) Crisp, grassy, herby and citrussy.

While in the Loire Valley, Muscadet, terrific with fish dishes, is now back in fashion. Try:

The Society’s Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2020 12pc (The Wine Society £8.25) From Chéreau-Carré in the western Loire, this goes well with shellfish, chicken or on its own.

On to Chardonnay. Good with fish, roast chicken and white meats. The oakier ones go well with smoked fish:

Robert Oatley Signature Series Margaret River Chardonnay 2022 New South Wales 12.5pc (Coop £11.50, Majestic £9.99, Ocado £16) From a cool climate region, ideal for Chardonnay, this has gentle oak, lemon and white peach palate. Went very well with my fish and chips.

GFW Chardonnay 2021, Gabb Family Vineyards Coastal Region, South Africa 12.5pc (Majestic £10.99 mixed 6) Lightly wooded with ripe citrus nose and some peachy notes. Flavours of apricot and tangerine. Creamy texture with a crisp finish.

Chardonnay drinkers love white Burgundy, and this offers great value. Lugny is one of the best regarded villages in the Mâcon:  

Louis Latour Mâcon Lugny 2021 13.5pc ( Majestic £16.99, £12.99 mixed six, Waitrose £16.99) Honeyed, crisp and peachy. This would go well with roast chicken.

It’s hard not to love Chenin Blanc. It is versatile in style and sweetness and has the ability to adapt to a wide variety of tastes. It makes lithe, dry summer whites and sparkling wines. It also offers oak-aged styles with similar flavours to Chardonnay.

There really is a Chenin Blanc wine for every occasion:

Les Andides Saumur Chenin Blanc 2021 (Waitrose £9.99) After bottling in the spring, the wine is kept in cellars dug deep into the limestone below the vineyards. This Saumur makes a delicious aperitif and is a perfect match for salads, poultry and spicy Thai or Chinese cuisine.

There are excellent Chenins from South Africa. Try:

Stellenrust 2021, Stellenbosch Winemaker Tertius Boshoff 13.5pc (Sainsbury £9) Aromas of ripe tropical fruit with underlying lime. A palate of peach and apple, supported by refreshing acidity, pear drop and apricot notes.

Riesling is another good grape. German wines went out of fashion after the Liebfraumilch era but good value ones are now in our shops.

Try:

Morrisons The Best Riesling 2020, Reh Kendermann, Pfalz, Germany 12.5pc (£8.50) Peachy nose and tangy green apple palate. Good with Thai fishcakes or a chicken salad.

Max Forbes Spring Riesling 2019 (The Wine Society £13.50) Limey, flinty. An ideal white for white and shellfish.

M&S Classics No 2, Riesling, Pfalz, Germany, Gerd Stepp 2021 12pc (£10) This has zesty, ripe, juicy citrus and peach fruit and a bright seam of acidity to refresh the palate.

And a Canadian bargain from Aldi:

The Falls Canadian Riesling, Pelham Family Estates Winery, Ontario 11pc (Aldi £7.49) Fruity, floral with nicely balanced acidity.

From Austria, try Gruner Veltliner, good with fish, salads and white meat:

Gruner Veltliner Johann Quest, Niederosterreich 12.5pc (Lidl £5.95) From vineyards north of the Danube. Dry with light spritz, green apple, fresh and fruity.  

Morrisons The Best Gruner Veltliner 2018. Marcus Huber, Niederosterreich 12.5pc (£9) Zingy Austrian dry white packed with lemon and apple notes. An ideal aperitif.

I enjoy Pinot Grigio — but from New Zealand:

The Ned Pinot Grigio 2020 Marisco Vineyards, Waihopai Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand 13.5pc (Sainsbury’s £10) Winemaker Brent Maris has produced a wine salmon pink in colour, with complex fruit aromas of pear, quince and nectarine, hints of citrus and a floral lift.

From Italy’s Abruzzo region, try Pecorino wine:

Tesco Finest Pecorino, Terre di Chieti 2021 Ripe and refreshing peach and apricot. It actually goes well with its namesake — salty, nutty pecorino cheese.

Pecorino 2021 Terre di Chieti Villa Pane 12pc (M&S £8) Has a lovely floral nose and nectarine and lemon palate. A good wine to drink on its own.

Next, two ‘oddities’:

Torres Vina Esmeralda 2020 Catalonia, Spain 11pc (Ocado,Tesco £9) An old favourite of my wife and her lady friends, consistently good and ideal for when the sun shines. Terrifically grapey Moscatel with a dash of blowsy Gewürztraminer, fresh and delicate in alcohol. A terrific match for Asian dishes and soft cheeses.

Saint Mont 2019, Piémont Pyrénees 2019 Plaimont 13pc (Sainsbury’s, Tesco Finest £7) From the Gers department of southwest France, old grape varieties Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu and Arrufiac and very old preserved vines. The wine has quite intense peach, melon and plum aromas, flavours of tangy pineapple, lemon, peach, apricot and nectarine.

Lastly, if you want a dessert wine try these two:

South African Nederberg Noble Late Harvest 35cl 10.5pc (Mitchells £ 13.99) Dried fruit, pineapple and citrus. An ideal dessert wine.

Brown Brothers Orange Muscat and Flora 37.5cl  9.5pc (Tesco £8.50) Late harvested Orange Muscat fruit is blended with very rare Flora grape. Sweet and rich with fine acidity. Goes well with soft blue cheese.

Just a few good whites to go with, hopefully, warm sunny days.

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