TWELVE CHRISTMAS WHITES
By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 10 Dec 2016
TOP TWELVE WHITES FOR SERVING AT CHRISTMAS
Loire, France: EXQUISITE COLLECTION MUSCADET DE SEVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2015 ***BEST VALUE***
Hard to match this French classic on price. We might have forgotten poor old Muscadet, but this Aldi’s ‘sur lie’ version offers a brilliant inexpensive refreshing aperitif style white with moderate (12%) alcohol. It is pretty simple, but an easy crisp dry quaffer with lemony acidity and a touch of creamy lees (that’s the ‘sur lie’ bit) to get the party started.
Monterrei, Spain: GODELLO VIENTO DE OTONO 2015
If you have already discovered Albarino in Spain, now try this aromatic textural Godello. A touch more body and richness, but with a silky smooth rounded palate and good natural acidity. The small region of Monterrei in Orense province is one of north west Spain’s revitalised wine areas. Serve with smoked salmon or a creamy fish pie.
Baden, Germany: THE LOT SERIES BADEN PINOT BLANC 2015
My favourite white in Aldi’s new range. Pinot Blanc is the Cinderella grape, overshadowed by popular Chardonnay, but they have a lot in common. This Pinot Blanc has slightly racier acidity and milder aroma, but has similar apple and citrus fruits, soft creamy texture and good affinity to oak – an unusual match for your Christmas roast turkey. Some of the best Pinot Blancs I have tasted come from the warmer Baden region in southern Germany, where it is known as Weissburgunder – but they are usually far more expensive than this. Well done Aldi for branching out.
Mosel, Germany: RIESLING ALTE REBEN 2014 Carl Loewen
(£13.50 Raeburn Fine Wines, Edinburgh)
This is not only a delicious wine – but a very good price for such a well-made sleek German Riesling. Lovely floral notes, youthful blossomy fruits, mainly dry with such a refreshing acid backbone. Just shows how good Mosel Rieslings can be – so neglected by wine drinkers today. Alte Reben means old vines; all grapes here derive from Carl Loewen’s 40+ year old vines. A good match with the rich oiliness of smoked salmon.
Savoie, France: ROUSSETTE DE SAVOIE, CRU FRANGY 2015 Domaine Bruno Lupin
(£13.40 Les Caves de Pyrene www.lescaves.co.uk; Henris of Edinburgh; Highbury Vintners; www.thegrapestore.com)
Literally bursting with mountain freshness, a clever blend of Altesse grape (locally called Rousette) with a little Chardonnay and Mondeuse grown in Frangy village in the mountains of eastern France. Expect spicy gingerbread notes, a soft mellow leesy palate with vibrant natural acidity which refreshes the finish. Suit those who normally like unoaked Chardonnay. Serve with turkey, veal or pork.
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand: HAWKES BAY PREMIUM VIOGNIER 2015 St Clair
A big hit at our recent New Zealand tasting. Neal and Judy Ibbotson grow Viognier near Napier in North Island, but once picked transport the grapes to their Marlborough winery for tank fermentation. Very fragrant apricot aromas, smooth texture to the palate and a nutty spicy length. Serve with roast chicken or risotto.
Burgundy, France: ST VERAN EN FAUX 2014 Chateau de Beauregard ***STAR BUY***
(£13.50 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)
If you normally buy Pouilly Fuisse for Christmas, try this superb value single vineyard St Veran. It hails from the next door village, from a south facing vineyard at Chasselas in southern Maconnais. Chateau de Beauregard’s owner Frederic Burrier ferments half in tank, half in oak creating a beautifully balanced, zesty citric-fruited, lightly oaked match for this year’s roast turkey.
Marlborough, New Zealand: GREYWACKE DRY RIESLING 2014 Kevin Judd
(£19.80 Majestic Wine; Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry; Woodwinters; Lockett Bros, N Berwick; Exel Wines, Perth; Fine Wine Co Musselburgh)
Another popular bottle at our recent New Zealand tasting, this has such stunning tension between ripe fruit and natural acidity with Marlborough’s characteristic zippy zestiness. It is all about chasing ripeness and keeping acidity down, according to winemaker Kevin Judd, who blends 50% tank fermented fruit with 50% oak and wild yeast fermented fruit to make this superb sleek stylish dry Riesling – moderate in alcohol (12%) too. Serve with roast goose.
Campania, Italy: GRECO DI TUFO 2015 Feudi di San Gregorio
(£15.99 Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews www.luvians.com; www.winedirect.co.uk)
If you like your Italian whites aromatic and textural, with grapefruit limey fruits, crisp, dry with a streak of minerality, this Campanian wine will certainly appeal. Made just one hour inland from Naples in an area known as the Switzerland of the south with its high altitude vineyards creating racy vibrant white wines. This is made from the ancient Greco grape grown on volcanic soils – by the leading winery of the region, Feudi di San Gregorio.
Nelson, New Zealand: NEUDORF NELSON CHARDONNAY 2014
(£16.50 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)
Neudorf makes really classy elegant lightly oaked Chardonnay with a delicious zesty more-ish fruit character and finally judged acidity. This good value example comes from Rosie’s block vineyard, named after the founder’s daughter Rosie Finn. Serve with roast turkey.
Margaret River, Western Australia: CULLEN’S MANGAN SEMILLON/SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014
(£19 Cornelius Wines, Edinburgh; Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry)
A show stopper at our recent Western Australia tasting. Mangan is Vanya Cullen’s dry-farmed biodynamically run vineyard. Delicious lemony cinnamon textural blend (59% Semillon, 39% Sauvignon Blanc & 2% Verdelho) with a tiny proportion aged four months in one year French barriques giving it a biscuity nutty finish. Bold enough to serve with roast turkey.
Alsace, France: GEWURZTRAMINER GRAND CRU BRAND 2011 Turckheim
(£17.99 Drinkmonger, Edinburgh & Pitlochry; Virgin Wines)
For those who love this spicy exotic grape, this is a good Grand Cru bargain made by the excellent Turckheim co-operative. With its typical rose petal honeyed lychee aromas and a touch of sweetness this off-dry Gewurztraminer would match well with foie gras, smoked salmon or crab.
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