UNUSUAL WHITE GRAPES

By Rose Murray Brown MW    Published in The Scotsman 11 February 2017

Fed up with your usual Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc?  A New Year resolution to try something new?  This week we have been searching for unusual white grapes to help you expand your wine horizons and choose the best white wines from around the world – and next week we focus on rare red grapes.

 

RARE WHITE GRAPES


MALAGOUSIA
Charming aromatic Greek grape rescued from extinction in the 1970’s by Professor Logothetis and winemaker Evangelis Gerovassiliou of Domaine Carras.
Thiva, Greece: Thymiopoulos Malagousia (£9.50 Marks & Spencer)
White peach, pear and basil scents with a vivid minerally palate: suit anyone who normally drinks Viognier: 12%


FALANGHINA                        
Ancient Italian variety making elegant nutty dry whites in Campania, Molise and Puglia.
Campania, Italy:  Dipaolo 2015 Terredora (£9.99/£11.99 Majestic Wine)
Take a break from Soave and Pinot Grigio, try this leafy scented dry white with its stone fruit flavours and fresh acidity: 12.5%


ENCRUZADO
Sturdy ageworthy Portuguese grape usually found in Dao and Alentejo –also known as Salgueirinho
Alentejo, Portugal:  Tiago Cabaco Encruzado 2014 (£12.99/£11.69 Laithwaites)
If you normally drink white Burgundy, give this flinty full-bodied Portuguese dry white a try, our tasters loved its hint of capsicum and hazelnut: 13%


GRINGET
Rare Alpine grape only grown between Geneva and Mont Blanc in Haute-Savoie, possibly related to Savagnin.
Haute-Savoie, France:  Gringet Les Alpes 2014 Domaine Belluard (£20 Les Caves de Pyrene www.lescaves.co.uk; www.buonvino.co.uk)
Fabulous clear fresh floral aromas, white peach, hint of herbs, minerally with a wonderful mountain freshness: 12%


GRECHETTO
Thick skinned making rich textured herby dry whites in central Italy
Umbria, Italy:  Grechetto 2013 Cantina Novelli (£9.95 Berry Bros & Rudd)
Aromatic dry and crisp with zippy grapefruit flavours, almondy notes, delicate creamy texture: 12.5%


GUTEDEL
Produces light wines to quaff in their youth – also known as Chasselas in France and Fendant in Switzerland.
Baden, Germany:  Schlatter Maltesergarten Trocken 2015 Martin Wassmer (£10.95 The Wine Society)
If you like your whites light and crisp with moderate alcohol, this version from Markgraferland in ‘Germany’s Tuscany’ makes a beautifully subtle aperitif: 11.5%
                                                                                 

XYNISTERI
A high quality aromatic grape grown at high altitude in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus
Cyprus:  Petritis Xynisteri 2015 Kyperounda winery (£11.99 www.strictlywine.co.uk)
Spicy, nutty but still fresh and delicate with a touch of exotic fruit and light oak: 13%


TREIXADURA
If you have already discovered Albarino, now try Spain’s enchanting peachy apricot scented Treixadura.
Ribeiro, NW Spain: The Flower & the Bee White 2014 Coto de Gomariz (£12-£14 Woodwinters, Edinburgh & Bridge of Allan www.woodwinters.com; Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh www.harveynichols.com)
Tasters loved the pretty label, rich creamy palate and refined taste of this Treixadura which hails from Galicia.  It has a slightly fuller flavour than Spanish Albarino, but it is zippy fresh and balanced: 14%


CLAIRETTE BLANCHE
Usually found in Languedoc and Rhone, this old southern French grape was once popular in the Cape, but many old vines were destroyed; this comes from one of the last surviving blocks of old bush vines.
Stellenbosch, South Africa:  Clairette Blanche 2014 Craven Wines (£16.20 Roberson Wines; £18.50 Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com)
Intriguingly vibrant and delicate (note the moderate alcohol) with delicious lime and apple flavours; lovely palate texture from part fermentation in stainless steel and old neutral barrels: 11%


PETITE ARVINE
A rare Alpine grape indigenous to Switzerland’s Valais region – just over 150 hectares
Valais, Switzerland:  Petite Arvine 2015 Jean-Rene Germanier (£32 Alpine Wines www.alpinewines.co.uk)
Blossomy, well structured, grapefruit flavours with a nervy mountain freshness, saline and mineral edge to finish – should age well: 12%


ZILAVKA
Spicy herby white planted near Mostar in southern Bosnia Herzegovina and in the Republic of Macedonia.
Tikves, Macedonia:  Zilavka 2013 Stobi (£8 reduced from £10 www.thedailydrinker.co.uk; Cornelius Wines, 18 Easter Road, Edinburgh)
Engaging white with nutty, spicy flavours and fresh natural acidity.  Tastes as if it has higher alcohol than its moderate 12%


MALVAZIJA ISTARSKA
From a family of grapes originating in Crete, brought to Istria in Croatia by Venetian merchants.
Istria, NW Croatia:  MALVAZIJA ISTARSKA 2015 Gerzinic (£10 Marks & Spencer)
Very lively acidity, minerally, fresh vibrant with grapefruit and citric notes made by brothers Marko and Marino Gerzinic near Vizinada: 12.5%.


Join Rose’s South Africa wine tasting in Edinburgh on Thursday 23 February £42 www.rosemurraybrown.com

 

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