White wine on wooden table with cheese, grapes and nuts

From floral to fruity, sweet to dry, perfumed or mineral, there’s a white wine to suit your mood, your meal, and the time of day. Adam Lechmere dives in

There’s never been a better time to drink white wine, and not just because these early summer days are so fresh and full of promise. From lip-smackingly fruity Aussie Rieslings to aromatic Greek whites to garrigue-laden southern French Grenache Gris, to full-bodied Chardonnay, to zesty, exotic Gewurztraminer, mineral Gruner Veltliner, gooseberry-fresh Sauvignon Blanc, opulent Chenin Blanc. And that is the very tip of the shimmering iceberg that is the modern white wine world. Whether you’re on a picnic rug in the park, al fresco in the garden, or entertaining with white tablecloth and candles, here’s a white wine to satisfy your every gastronomic need.

spier-Spier_Signature_Sauvignon_Blanc_-bottleImage-Signature_-_Sauvignon_Blanc_NV-3357 65x182Spier Signature Sauvignon Blanc, Western Cape South Africa 2016

What distinguishes this wine is its perfect weight: it dances on the tongue. Lovely fresh bright palate with very fine gooseberry flavours and hints of meadowgrass and excellent bracing acidity which gives it length. Pre-barbecue zinger or – with that brisk acidity – grilled herb-crusted fish
£8 average Totalwine.com; thedrinkshop.com

 

 

2016_Vine_Mind_Riesling_1 65x182VineMind Riesling, Clare Valley Australia 2016

From the Some Young Punks group, whose famously lurid labels belie the sophistication of the wine in the bottle. Strawberries and cream aromas fairly jump out of the glass; on the palate distinctive Riesling notes of wool and lanolin, then citrus, pear and apple bolstered by dry minerality and a final wash of juice. Quality. Pair it with pretty hot Asian dishes.
£11 average allaboutwine

 

Park White 65x182Vinteloper Park White 2016 

From the inspired importer Red Squirrel Wines, one for the picnic hamper (the tear-off cap helps, as does the 500ml bottle size, which makes the whole thing seem so gluggable). This is Gewurztraminer but not as you know it. The wine spends 12 days macerating on the skins so there are tannins but they’re lubricated and lifted by classic gewurz orange-zest perfume, white flowers and mineral acidity. Lip-smackingly good. Drink with anything with a bit of exotic spice – thai food particularly
£20 average redsquirrelwine.com ; www.vinarius.london; corksout.com 

Domaine Jones Grenache Gris 65x182Domaine Jones Grenache Gris, Côtes Catalanes, France 2014

Katie Jones’s vines on the ochre, rocky slopes of Roussillon in the south of France produce small, thick-skinned grapes packed with flavour. This is weighty, intense, juicy, beautifully balanced and redolent of garrigue, that heady mix of sun-baked sage and crushed herbs that is unique to this part of France. Drink with barbecued monkfish
£13.50 The Wine Society

 

Grand Village Blanc 65x182Chateau Grand Village, Fronsac, Bordeaux, France 2014

From the owners of the legendary Chateau Lafleur in Pomerol. Fronsac may be a humbler appellation, and the price is absurdly modest, but in flavour and concentration it sings. Half Sauvignon Blanc and half Semillon, it’s expressive, with gooseberry, tropical fruits (passion fruit!), fine acidity and a most charming energy. A gorgeous wine for the price of a cinema ticket. Drink with oysters, crab, sea bass…
£14 average; armitwines.co.uk

 

flint-dry-2016 65x182Chapel Down Flint Dry, Kent, England 2016

It’s getting easier and easier to recommend still wines from England. Our sparkling’s reputation is secure, but it can be difficult to find a still white that doesn’t taste of rain, as the unkinder wits in France used to say. Chapel Down is a big operation (they also produce an excellent range of beer, the Curious Brew); their Flint Dry is a blend of Chardonnay with half a dozen aromatic varieties – Reichensteiner, Schönburger, Huxelrebe. It’s fresh with plenty of bright appley, citrusy fruit, hints of hedgerow flowers, and a backbone of acidity that carries everything through to a delicate finish. I’d have this with light spring vegetable dishes like pasta primavera, and it goes brilliantly with a classic Swiss fondue (for which the ideal is a Swiss Chasselas, but that’s harder to get hold of).
£10 Marks & Spencer

Wirra_Wirra_The_12th_Man_Chardonnay_2016_Trans 65x182Wirra Wirra, The 12th Man Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia 2016

The former UK Prime Minister John Major famously said he was an “ABC man” – Anything But Chardonnay. It didn’t dent Australia’s sales but the so-called ABC movement planted a lingering suspicion of Aussie Chardonnay in people’s minds: that it’s blowsy and overoaked. This magnificently crunchy, spicy, crisply defined Chard is the opposite. It carries a modest 12% alcohol, it’s energetic, tinglingly fresh and altogether delicious. And it’s got main-course weight: fish pie, chicken salads
£20 thedrinkshop.com; www.henningswine.co.uk; totalwine.com 

 

Vinha FriaVinha Fria Branco Ligeiro, Vinho Regional Península de Setúbal, Portugal 2015

The holy grail for any white winemaker is achieving flavour and mouthfeel with low alcohol. This fine white from Portugal does just that. Everything is in a minor key: the delicate apple and white grape flavours, the hint of white flowers. And – crucially – it has acidity, which holds everything together. Grilled fish, salt cod canapés, seared vegetables like asparagus, celeriac salad
£8.49 www.laithwaites.co.uk

Terre de Gneiss Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, France 2015

A disclaimer: this wine is made by an old colleague and friend, Christelle Guibert of Decanter magazine. So now I can be fulsome in my praise. This Muscadet is from 70-year-old vineyards; Guibert and her sister (both natives of the Loire) bought a hectare (enough for about 2000 bottles). The vines are planted on gneiss – the ancient metamorphic rock that underpins Muscadet – and Guibert produces a wine you feel would burst from the glass were there not such a sure hand on the controls. It’s intense, loaded with crisp apple fruit and shot through with lovely bright acidity. It has tremendous presence and solidity in the form of its mineral dryness, but it carries no surplus weight. It finishes almost gushing with juice. Delicious. The classic match is oysters, or sushi, but try it with light rare game like grouse.
£23 average; Philglas & Swiggot; Handford

kiryianni-ASSYRTIKO-bottleImage-ASSYRTIKO_2015-401 65x182Kir-Yianni Mountain Vineyards Assyrtiko, Macedonia, Greece 2015

We think of Greece as a country baked brown by the sun, but 700m high in Agios Panteleimon in the north, the vines are cooled by the many lakes of the region, and the nights are fresh, allowing the grapes to retain their acidic heft. There’s lovely floral perfume on the nose and hints of licorice on the palate, alongside vibrant citrus fruit. A heavenly accompaniment to barbecued squid.
£12 average. www.buygreatwine.co.uk

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