Springtime Whites Mixed Case
Springtime Whites Mixed Case
2 bottles of each of the following whites:
Adega de Pegoes, Selected Harvest, Setubal, Portugal 2017
They say that you should try everything once, except incest and Morris dancing. It’s probably fair to assume that you haven’t tried a blend of Arinto, Verdelho, Antão Vaz and Chardonnay before, but if this wine is anything to go by, then you shouldn't waste another moment. It's a blissful combination, bearing a striking resemblance to Pierre Gaillard’s wonderful Cotes du Rhone Blanc ‘Les Gendrines’ with its delicate and dainty aromas of honeysuckle, cream soda, jasmine and apricot. There’s a suggestion of Viognier both on the nose and palate, which shows a delicate ripeness of yellow- and orange-fleshed stone fruits, lemon meringue and a wisp of vanilla thanks to the 3 months spent in French and American oak. The packaging is as elegant as the wine itself and we strongly recommend buying this by the case. 13% alc. Drink now-2016.
Assyrtiko, Lyrarakis, Crete, Greece 2017
There’s a cracking joke at this end of this tasting note, so bear with it, the pay-off is well worth it. Although Assyrtiko is more famously associated with Santorini, where the wines take the concept of ‘minerality’ to the extreme, it also does well in the high-altitude vineyards on the eastern side of Crete. This is one of those lovely, crunchy white wines bursting with citrus and white-fleshed fruits, as well as a dusty, chalky quality, as if you were driving up a gravel track through a lemon grove. What do you call an expert in the wines of eastern Crete? A Knosseur. 13.5% alc. Drink now-2020. Told you!
Albariño 'Saras', Adegas Entre Os Rios, Galicia, Spain 2015
Refreshing Albariño from Rias Baixas is as abundant as the oysters that populate its coastline, but interesting Albariño from Rias Baixas is a much rarer species. We approached this one, standing proud in its traditional, tall bottle, expecting the usual breezy pear and apple flavours and not much else and were about to move on when our heads swivelled back to their starting point. Here was an Albariño with layers of intrigue, with textural depth and a real sense of the salt-crusted Atlantic shoreline of Galicia. Flavours of chopped mint, apple, lime sorbet, blanched almonds and broken chalk finished the story that the aromas had begun to tell. We were sold. It has the billowy, linen-in-the-breeze, uplift of a great maritime Albariño, but there’s a real stamp of minerality on the palate too, not to mention a hint of that fine-grained, dry extract that you find in good organic wines. 12.5% alc. 2 years ageing in stainless steel. Drink now-2023.
Viognier 'Granit' Jean-Francois Jacouton, IGP Collines Rhodaniennes, France 2016
The Viognier grape is a bit of a maverick. It’s low in acidity, which is unusual for a white grape, so harvesting time is critical. It can literally come down to a matter of hours. Pick too early and the aromas won’t have developed, pick too late and the wine will taste blousy. Its sugars develop unevenly too, spiking suddenly around harvest time, so it must be picked before they risk converting into a high alcohol content in the wine (Jacouton’s is a refreshing 12.5%). Also, when Viognier is vinified as Condrieu, it is one of the few ‘luxury’ white wines that should be drunk young, typically within 3 or 4 years of vintage.
Jean-Francois has clearly picked his grapes with military precision, because the aromas are beautifully delicate, yet there’s no lack of ripeness or hollowness. It’s so fine in perfume, suggesting honeysuckle and jasmine in its top notes, as well as apricot and honeydew melon in its lower registers and a dash of whipped butter that adds a luxurious note, but the key to a great Viognier is a cut of lime both on the nose and on the palate. Without that green streak of acidity, it becomes frumpy, but this has that all-important zing, as well as a cool backing of bedrock minerality from the granite soil. Drink it in the sunshine with hard cheeses like Comté or Gouda or Emmental, but don’t drink it ice cold or you will lose the subtle aromas. 12.5% alc. Drink now.
Bourgogne Chardonnay, Decelle-Villa, Burgundy, France 2016
A domaine’s Bourgogne Blanc is their calling-card and should be like an Indian restaurant’s poppadum. Not in flavour, of course, but in the way that it should make an early statement about the intent and the care that goes into every aspect of what they produce. If you get a stale poppadum, it usually follows that the food isn’t great either. This is one quality poppadum! The fruit glistens on the palate, with a shimmering purity that you only find in cool climate Chardonnays. The incisive citrus flavours are counterpoised by fruits with a sweeter nectar, like peach and apricot, laced with notes of brioche, hazelnut and crème fraiche. A beautiful white Burgundy that is ready to drink, but will keep for 4-5 years. All hand-picked fruit. No battonage. Natural yeasts. 12 months in oak, of which 25% was new.
Quincy Domaine de Chevilly, Yves Lestourgie, Loire, France 2017
With its juicy citrus fruit, gunflint and nettles, this racy Quincy (pronounced ‘Can See’) is a great substitute for a Pouilly-Fumé or a Sancerre, but at a considerably less-ouchy price. Grapefruit and blackcurrant leaf bring extra liveliness to the palate and there’s also a hint o quince. In fact it’s really very quincy. Just the ticket for cooling your brow in the dog days of summer. I Quincy clearly now the rain has gone. Sorry. 13.5%.
Jancis Robinson (Tamlyn Currin): “Gunflint and apples. So crisp and dry and flinty and focused that it's practically a razor carved from stone. Yet it fills the mouth (perhaps more with the rattle of sabres than seduction), and it lifts the palate like a shot of wasabi. Precise and long range. Quincy with a call to arms. Good Value. Drink 2018-2022” 17 points