Wine Filter: White

Benufet, Herencia Altés 2011

Situated South of Barcelona, near the city of Tarragona, Herencia Altes is a small family estate that produces just 5 wines. Everything is done in the vineyard and winery to enhance the quality of the finished wine, including early harvesting to preserve the acidity of particular parcels planned for blending, through very gentle vertical pressing and judicious oaking and lees ageing. The resultant wines are rich, aromatic and fruit-driven and show the best side of both white and red Garnacha.

The vineyards that produce the Garnacha Blanca grapes for this delicious wine come from vineyards that are 450 metres above sea level: here the grapes are cooled by mountain and sea breezes prolonging the ripening period. Gently pressed, the juice was fermented at low temperatures and the wine spends two months on fine lees to gain texture and complexity. Aromatic, the wine shows floral notes and white fruit such as melon; the finish is long and fresh.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on this great white, we just wish we could have got more. It’s really up there in the world of white wine!

Fish Hoek Chenin Blanc 2014

Consistently good value, you can’t go wrong with half a dozen bottles of this in your house for a mid-week glass after a hard day. South Africa means new world fruit of quince and apple, mixed with old world restraint, freshness and an elegant lift. A great wine with fish, a lovely wine with chicken and delicious wine on its own with a recorded episode of The Wine Show. Where you’ll probably learn that the glass seal on the bottle is called a ‘prunt’.

Orto Venezia 2011

Orto is part of a small (but growing) movement to bring winemaking back to the Venetian archipelago. It’s a blend of Vermentino, Fiano and Malvasia grown on the island of Sant’Erasmo and the producers are experimenting with ageing bottles under the lagoon to create complexity without nuttiness. Fresh, aromatic and slightly savoury, it’s perfect with shellfish dishes.

Grek Palazzone Grechetto 2014

For years this interesting, slightly nutty grape has been hidden in the traditional Orvieto blend. But now people want to let it sing on its own. It’s taken some work as this is a full-flavoured variety and with a slightly bitter twist at the end, but that actually makes it a perfect food-matching variety. Keep the food simple, but go with roast chicken or firm-fleshed fish.

Fontanasanta Nosiola 2013

You won’t find Nosiola anywhere other than in this corner of North Eastern Italy, where it thrives in small pockets, perfectly suited to the climate and making zippy, fresh wines. Elisabetta Foradori also brings out the grape’s fragrance, so you don’t want to serve it with anything that masks the wine’s gentle aromas. Simple fish dishes or chicken, perhaps served with a light salad.

Dalrymple Estate Chardonnay 2011

Many years ago I discussed climate change with Robert Hill-Smith at Yalumba in the Barossa and he talked about the importance of Tasmania in finding a cool site. And this is it. Making elegant, cool, linear chardonnay with citrus aromas, refined acidity and a lingering minerality on the palate. Match with food like a Chablis or Macon.

Mantinia Tselepos Classic Moschofilero 2014

Moschofilero is sometimes called Greece’s answer to Gewurztraminer – it’s floral and scented, with aromas of roses and sweet, muscat grapes. Like the best aromatic wines it keeps that sweet fruit in check with a refreshing palate, so that it smells sweet and tastes dry. It’s the perfect wine to have with salads and lighter dishes.

Gaia Wines Wild Ferment Assyrtiko PDO Santorini 2015

I ADORE this wine. It’s mad. Imagine a Chablis that’s been to the gym and then gone hiking in the woods. A Bear Grylls of a wine. The steely, citrus tang of Assyrtiko has an added savoury complexity and depth. It’s still got that focus and clarity of the grape, but with more complexity. Perfect with grilled shellfish, baked whole fish or Pacific Rim dishes.

Ktima Biblia Chora Ovilos Barrel Fermented Semillon/ Assyrtiko PGI Kavala 2014

Anyone who enjoys white Bordeaux will (a) love this wine and (b) be utterly astonished by this wine. It shares the same production idea and half the same grapes, but with the eye-opening refreshment of Assyrtiko. Look for a peach and mineral fruit with lovely vanilla spice. Richly flavoured fish dishes and creamy sauces are perfect matches.

Ktima Alpha Axia White Malagousia/ Sauvignon PGI Floriana 2014

There’s a wonderful spirit of experimentation among Greek producers, like matching the familiar zest of Sauvignon with adventurous aromatic and heady aromas of Malagousia. This is a richly textured wine, a foodie not a drinkie. Herby roast chicken or fish stew are perfect combinations.

Vanzini Pinot Nero DOC Vinificato Bianco Azienda Oltrepo Pavese 2014

Possibly the oddest wine we’ve recommended. But it had to appear with the spirit of Italian adventure. A Pinot Noir (red grape) vinified and produced as a white wine. The wine-knowledgeable will recognise that this is the same as a blanc de noirs Champagne, and you have the same tinge to the colour and slight oddness of some red fruit among the peach, citrus and floral notes of the wine. A delicious curiosity.

Decugnano Dei Barbi Villa Barbi Orvieto Classico D.O.C 2013

Here’s a good rule. For wines you remember from the 70’s and 80’s (Beaujolais, Orvieto, Soave, Vinho Verde) spend a bit more. Because often they’re phenomenal, classic wines that are hugely underrated. Like this fresh, tangy blend that brings together the warmth of Grechetto, the zing of Vermentino and a hint of Sauvignon zest. Lighter fish dishes are the way to go or grilled prawns.

Bigi Vipra Bianca Grechetto-Chardonnay Umbria 2014

I love Orvieto, but I have to say, I’m loving what Orvieto producers are doing more. Here is a blend between the structure and citrus core of Chardonnay with the nutty, rich character of Grechetto, the ‘Greek’ variety local to the area. It’s adventurous and distinctive. That white peach fruit also makes for a great food wine, something to have outdoors in the summer, perhaps with a well-grilled piece of fish.

Catherine Marshall Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2013

This blew me away when I first tried it. A new frontier in South Africa’s distinctive style of Sauvignon Blanc, blending the exotic mango and lime fruit of the New World with the purity, elegance and great length of the Old. Don’t be afraid to pair this with flavoursome salads with coriander and lime and basil, perhaps soy-infused tuna or a spiced chicken dish. This is up there with the greats of Sauvignon Blanc.

Maison Joseph Drouhin Pouilly Vinzelles 2014

An exotic white Burgundy. This is Burgundy to have fun with, not mooch around looking for refinement or nuance. It’s exotic and peachy, there’s hazelnut (from the oak) and even a hint of cinnamon. It’s certainly moreish and 2014 was an epic vintage, especially for white wines from Burgundy. I’ve had this with herb roasted chicken and veal chops and loved every minute.

Falesco Grechetto Dell Umbria 2013

If you’ve not heard of Grechetto, remember that name. It’s the ‘interesting’ part of Orvieto, but was diluted out by other less distinguished grapes. Now it’s getting the spotlight for its nutty, ripe citrus and floral notes. Great with richer white meat pasta dishes and flavoursome paella, it has more interest than much Chardonnay, more food friendly character than Sauvignon or Pinot Grigio.

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay Vineyards Hemel-en-Aarde 2014

A wine that changed South Africa. Not just for being one of the first to be globally recognised as one of the great wines of the world. Anthony Hamilton-Russell and his family are steeped in radical politics and were pioneers in creating a post-Apartheid, equitable wine industry. Drink like a fine burgundy with white meats and firm-fleshed fish to complement the pear and citrus fruit and fine oak.

Lageder Riff Pinot Grigio 2014

You know all that woolly, bland, almond-water Pinot Grigio you’ve been drinking? Well, stop. And try this. It still has the gentle fruit and the touch of honeyed sweetness to balance the apple, but with elegance and a properly focussed flavour. It’s an aperitif style of Pinot Grigio (see Lageder’s Dolomiti for a foodie wine) but it’ll match light salads and summer fish dishes – even a mild curry.

Vignerons de Bel Air Bourgogne Blanc Grand Cadole Cuvee 2013

Get some of this in for a mid-week dinner and compare with Domaine Ferrand Pouilly Fuisse. Whilst Domaine Ferrand is ‘Le vin au feminin’ made by a mother and daughters, Bel Air is ‘a story of men’ made by 250 blokes. See if you can see a gender divide. This is the humbler wine, a solid, oak-free, citrusy white Burgundy made with traditional style. Serve like Chablis with light chicken dishes, shellfish or goats cheese.

Domaine Ferrand Pouilly Fuisse Burgundy 2012

‘Le vin au féminin’ is how Nadine Ferrand describes her estate. She believes that with her two daughters (Marine returned from the US to take a leading role here) the sensibility of the Ferrand women ‘brings a special touch’. It’s certainly elegant, with the tang of yellow plums rounded out by a buttery richness. This would work beautifully with muscular flatfish like halibut or turbot and a sauce.