TWELVE WHITES OF CHRISTMAS

By Rose Murray Brown MW   Published in The Scotsman 12 December 2015

Our twelve Christmas white wines will help you through the festive season from quaffing aperitifs with neighbours and friends, sipping a crisp dry tipple with the visiting vicar to matching a serious powerful white with the salmon, goose and turkey:


£10 & UNDER

Burgundy, France: MACON VILLAGES 2014 Domaine Mallory et Benjamin Talmard (£8.75 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)
Brilliant value for an unoaked Chardonnay.  Sleek, citric, elegant, pure fruits – a good value aperitif to suit all-comers.  The Talmards have been growing grapes in Uchizy and other Maconnais villages since C17.  They used to sell them off to the local co-operative, but now make their own with Paul’s daughter Mallory and her husband in charge: 13%

Stepp Riesling Germany wine reviewPfalz, Germany: STEPP RIESLING ‘S’ 2014 (£10 reduced from £15 in December at Marks & Spencer)
So zesty and vibrant with lime, mandarin and grapefruit flavours, this is a fantastic buy at its knockdown price.  Would make an unusual crisp aperitif or serve with cold turkey on Boxing Day as a snappy pick-me-up.  Check out the back label, it states it comes from Saumagen, Kallstadt’s top vineyard named after the famous Pfalz dish of pig’s stomach stuffed with pork and herbs.  This wine is made by Gerd Stepp, once wine buyer for M&S who has now returned to his family estate in Rheinfalz: 12.5% STAR BUY

Aldi Clare Valley Riesling wine reviewClare Valley, Australia: THE EXQUISITE COLLECTION CLARE VALLEY RIESLING 2014 (£6.99 Aldi)
Instead of a regular sherry, serve this crisp zingy Australian white when the vicar pops round instead and he will soon be praying for a second glass.  I remember when I first tasted this Riesling in Aldi’s new collection, I could see that they had struck gold.  Sure enough, they won a gold medal at this year’s International Wine Challenge.  This is delicious limey, dry Riesling aperitif was selected by Aldi’s buyer, Dr Mike James, recently been hailed as the number one most influential person in the UK wine trade (Off Licence News).  How times have changed: 13% STAR VALUE BUY

Languedoc, France: LE CHAMP DES ETOILES CHARDONNAY 2014 (£8.99 Laithwaites www.laithwaites.co.uk)
Winemaker Mark Hoddy has blended fruit from hillside Limoux and Pic St Loup, two áreas well known for fresh zippy wines.  The result is vibrant, creamy, rounded with a touch of oak from ageing in old barrels on its lees.  Similar in style to a Macon Villages, with a bit more warmth and ripeness.  This Vin de France would make an affordable match for rich seafood dish or stuffed poussin: 13%


UNDER £18

Desierto Sauvignon Blanc wine review Rose Murray Brown MWPatagonia, Argentina: DESIERTO 25 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 Bodega del Desierto (£11.95 Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com)
I was intrigued by the name of the bodegas, ‘winery from the desert’ and that Californian wine guru Paul Hobbs assisted with winemaking in this remote place.  Interesting wine too.  Very minerally, dry Sauvignon Blanc, not an overblown New World wine, but tight focused green fruits.  Apparently the grape skins are thick here to withstand the desert winds, which accounts for the textural quality of this wine.  It needs grilled salmon or scallops to enjoy at its best: 14%

Burgundy, France: ST VERAN CLOS VESSATS 2014 Domaine Guerrin (£12.50 Oddbins)
This comes from one of Maconnais’ top vineyards.  Maurice Guerrin owns 35 different plots between Solutre and Vergisson, west of Macon  – and this is his special Clos Vessats, a tiny 2 hectare plot with limestone and clay soils giving a lovely creamy rounded Chardonnay with nutty gentle oak notes – with enough body and weight to match with roast chicken or turkey: 13%

Bordeaux, France: CLOS FLORIDENE 2012 (£17.99 Co-op)
Not sure how Co-op managed to get their hands on this mature white Graves as other merchants are selling it online at £26 a bottle.  A beautifully made (by guru Denis Duboudieu) white Graves from mainly Sauvignon Blanc with Semillon and a hint of Muscadelle with citric fruits, grapefruit and lime with a well-defined smoky oak notes: delicious with salmon.  Very good for the price: 13%  STAR BUY

Rhone, France: CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE BLANC MONT-REDON 2014 Abeille-Fabre (£17 The Wine Society www.thewinesociety.com)
You need a weighty white to combat the turkey and its spicy trimmings, so head to the Rhone.  The key here is rich ripe fruit balanced with natural acidity to refresh the palate.  Light floral aromas, creamy texture, good length.  Might look expensive, but this is not a bad price for a white Chateauneuf du Pape, Mont Redon are the largest single property in this popular appellation: 13%


UNDER £25

Burgundy, France: CHABLIS PREMIER CRU 2012 (£20 Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh www.harveynichols.com)
This might look pricey for Chablis, but this Premier Cru is very stylish.  It manages to combine a vibrant minerality, fresh acidity with a lovely honeyed toasty undertone which would work well with the richer gamier meat of roast goose.  Made exclusively for the store by Alain Geoffroy, who shares a passion with me for antique corkscrews: 13%

Kevin Judd in Greywacke winery New ZealandMarlborough, New Zealand: GREYWACKE ‘WILD’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 (£24 Villeneuve Wines, Woodwinters, Valhallas Goat, Aitken Wines, Lockett Bros, Fine Wine Co, Henderson Wines, Luvians, Drinkmonger, Ellies Cellar)
I visited Kevin Judd (pictured right) in Marlborough this year.  His tasting was one of the most enthralling I have been to – not only were all the wines so consistently good, but he is a fascinating winemaker.  His ‘wild’ Sauvignon is unusual in being made using natural yeasts and 100% barrel fermented.  Judd believes in fully ripened grapes to get stone fruit flavours blended from seven different vineyards.  Beautifully made, textured, complex, savoury, spice, sour grapefruit, lime and almond notes with richness enough for a spicy seafood dish or baked salmon: 14% STAR BUY

Valdeorras, Spain: AVANCIA GODELLO 2012 (£24.50 Ultracomida www.ultracomida.com; wwwuvinum.co.uk)
The best Godello I have tasted – citric, curranty and smoky, this delicious full-bodied oaked white would suit white Burgundy lovers looking for something different to match with turkey or goose.  100% barrel ferment in very large 500 litre second use barrels have given this a complexity and richness.  Made by Jorge Ordonez in association with Bodegas Godeval from vines grown 1,500 ft up on slate terraces in this remote northern Spanish región: 13.5%

Pouilly Fuisse Domaine Ferret wine reviewBurgundy, France: POUILLY FUISSE 2013 L A Ferret (£24.99 Vino Wines, Edinburgh; Fountainhall Wines, Aberdeen; Aitken Wines, Dundee; Roberson Wines, London)
Cleverly combines a fresh minerality with nutty rich leesy roundness in a challenging vintage in the Maconnais.  Domaine Ferret’s fruit comes from the Fuisse amphitheatre of limestone and clay soils, all plots of picked separately – half vinified in tank and half in oak.  Suit those who like a classic white Burgundy with their turkey: 13%

 

 

 

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