It’s back by popular demand, my round-up of the best budget wines from the Wine Society. This time I’m looking at whites and sherry.
Apologies for the delay since the reds post, the Society warehouse closed down for a bit because of that thing that’s in the news. The marketing department, however, didn’t seem to be affected. So many emails when all we wanted was one saying that they are once again taking orders. Well, now they are (though only in cases of the same wine, or pre-mixed cases) so it’s a good time to round-up some of my favourite whites. I notice that I’ve chosen a lot more Wine Soc own labels this time. I’ve been thinking about why this should be: perhaps I drink a lot less white wine than red which means I don’t know the range so well so I order more conservatively. Or perhaps because it’s much harder to make an interesting cheap white than a cheap red so under £11 one needs every watt of the Wine Society’s formidable buying power. Anyway, the own label range is excellent so it’s not such a problem. So without further ado, here they are. Please let me know any that I have missed in the comments:
Fino sherry is for me the Pringles of wine, once I’ve popped a bottle, I find it very hard to stop. It was a toss up between this and the excellent own label fino (£6.95!) but I’ve gone for this as it offers so much. It’s a very mature style of fino (look at its colour above) so the nuttiness and creamy texture have been turned up but without losing the sheer drinkability that a fino should have. The price is an absolute joke. I’d buy it at £15.
I find the answer to almost all wine/ food problems can be solved by either Beaujolais or a nice drop of white Burgundy (or similar). Creamy, leesy and lemony, this Macon is a stalwart wine and seems particularly good in the latest vintage. If I’m going a bit uprmaket in Burgundy, I find the Domaine Cordier range unbeatable for the money.
My parents used to drink a lot of Muscadet in the ‘80s but it was nothing like this. Another deliciously creamy wine from lees contact with a salty saline tang and green apple. Ridiculous value too for a mature wine from one of the region’s top producers. The name’s a bit of mouthful, though isn’t it?
And this is what my parents drink these days instead of Muscadet. And damn good it is too. Has that lip-smacking quality that I love in Picpoul (the name of the grape apparently means something like ‘sting lips’) but there’s also some weight and honey there too. My late aunt used to have a house in the Pinet region so I always think of her when I drink Picpoul.
I once went on a wine trip to the Mosel and despite three days of pretty much solid tasting, drinking and feasting, I never once had a hangover. That’s the magic of these wines, low alcohol and masses of flavour. This is made by Von Kesselstatt, one of the region’s great estates, it majors on limes and apple blossom with just a touch of sweetness. Great aperitif wine.
Portugal green wine, named as it’s drunk young rather than the colour, is another lowish alcohol charmer. I don’t know how the Wine Society do it for the money, it’s ripe and lemony with a slightly chalky edge and just a little spritz of carbon dioxide. Great summer garden sipping.
Much of the excitement around South African wine comes from Rhoney reds grown in Swartland but for my money the country’s best wines are the chenin blanc-based white blends. Alongside the chenin this contains viognier, roussanne, grenache blanc, clairette and just a soupcon of kitchen sink. It has a honeyed, nutty sort of texture alongside its peach and apple fruit.