By Rose Murray Brown MW  Published in The Scotsman 30 June 2018

Looking for something crisp and refreshing to chill out with in the hammock in the summer heat – try one of our picks from around the world:


Sicily, Italy:  BENDICO VERMENTINO 2017 (13%)
£7.99 Virgin Wines   ***STAR BUY***      
For the price, our tasters thought this herby Sicilian a brilliant buy.  If you like your dry whites with herby floral aromas, slightly salty notes and rich fat sweet fleshy fruits on the palate this really delivers for the price.  Vermentino is usually found in Sardinia, Liguria or Provence, but it can cope in Sicily’s heat.  Made by Sicilian Mimmo de Gregorio who has worked in South America and South Africa, hence the international style.

New South Wales, Australia: THE SOCIETY’S HUNTER VALLEY SEMILLON 2017 (11%)
£8.95 The Wine Society

If you are looking for a lower alcohol alternative, Australia’s Semillon ticks the box with its modest 11%.  I often find young Hunter Semillons taste like battery acid they are so tart (they are better with bottle maturity) and short on the finish, but this unoaked example made by Brockenwood in Pokolbin is a bit more approachable and zingy with a refreshing crispness – an ideal accompaniment to an oily fish starter like smoked salmon. 

Tejo, Portugal: LOBO E FACAO BRANCO 2017 (13%)
£9.99 Laithwaites

If you normally drink lightly oaked Chardonnay, you might well enjoy this expressive Portuguese blend.  Made by Casal Branco, once home to the original falconry of the King of Portugal and now a winery – from a blend of Fernao Pires, Alvarinho and Moscatel grapes – all three aromatic grapes giving it vibrant grapey aromas and a deliciously juicy gently spicy palate.  Its touch of oak and ripeness makes it taste almost like an oaked Macon Villages from Burgundy.

£5.79 Aldi   ***STAR VALUE***

This is currently Aldi’s best unoaked Chardonnay (I used to like their Limoux Chardonnay which is now sadly out of stock).  A typical rounded buxom Aussie Chardonnay with rich honeysuckle and peach notes, but an appealing freshness.  It might be sold by a huge discounter chain, but it is made by family-run winery, Wakefield.
Vinho Verde, Portugal:  CASAL DE VENTOZELA ALVARINHO 2016 (13%)
£9.99/£11.99 Majestic Wine

With its touch of vanilla and complexity from barrel fermentation alongside its bright citric appley fruits, this northern Portuguese Alvarinho is one of the best available at this price.  It is the same grape as the Spanish Albarino grown across the border.  Make sure you buy the 100% Alvarinho as Majestic sell other cheaper Vinho Verde from the same producer.

£7.99/£9.99 Majestic Wine

This might sound like a men’s outfitters, but the name derives from winemaking pair Australian Nerida Abbot and Burgundy’s Laurent Delaunay.  Part of their new Fruits Sauvage (wild fruits) selection from four different terroirs in the Gard, Herault and Aude.  An easy drinking aperitif with light passion fruit and gooseberry notes, vibrant, creamy and fresh on the palate.



Podrajve, Slovenia: SIPON FURMINT 2016 Dveri-Pax (12.5%)
£10.95 The Wine Society

Hungary’s Furmint grape makes lighter more delicate styles across the border on Stajerska’s steep vineyards in north west Slovenia.  Benedictine monks at Admont Abbey make this excellent  Sipon (Furmint’s Slovenian name).  It does have high acidity, which is the nature of the grape, but softer than many Hungarian examples.  Steely vibrant with poised grapefruit flavours and great length for the price.  Good value.
£12.50 Woodwinters, Edinburgh & Bridge of Allan

Beautifully made blend of Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon from the upper part of Hemel and Aarde overlooking Walker Bay at the foothills of Babylonstoren mountains.  Shows how good Cape whites can be with their winning combination of herby floral notes, rich honeyed mouthfeel, mineral hints and vibrant fresh natural acidity.

£11.49 Laithwaites

Picpoul used to be sent off to the Vermouth blending vats before it became trendy.  Now the lip-stinger, as this high acid grape is called, is sought after for its vibrant refreshing floral scented dry whites.  This is a particularly good example with a mid-palate of rich peachy apricot fruits.  A zesty white with its hint of the sea to match seafood.

Crete: ASSYRTIKO 2017 Domaine Lyrarakis (13.5%)
£12.95 Berry Bros & Rudd

Assyrtiko is better known on nearby Santorini island, but Crete grows a few vines.  Bart Lyrarakis is Crete’s current best producer who has rescued and rehabilitated unusual grapes growing them on his high altitude 500 metre vineyards on the mountain slopes of Alagni in eastern Crete.  Very attractive grapefruity flavours and minerally undertones.

Piekernierskloof, South Africa: OLD BLOCKS CHENIN BLANC 2016 Tierhoek (14%)
£14.25 Berry Bros & Rudd   ***STAR BUY***

Roger Burton at pioneering Tierhoek winery north of Cape Town in the rugged mountainous vineyards of Piekernierskloof makes this wonderfully minerally complex Chenin Blanc.  A delightful combination of zesty bright fruits and honeyed creamy palate – it ticks all the boxes for an easy drinking stylish summer white.  High scorer with our tasters.

Join Rose’s Burgundy v New Zealand wine tasting and buffet at Abode Hotel, Bath Street, Glasgow on Friday 13 July £42


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