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Think of classy dry whites from France that
are full-�avoured but crisp, and often tinged
with oak, and Burgundy is probably the
region that springs most readily to mind.
But what about Bordeaux? There was a
time when the region's whites (like many
in France) were under-�avoured and oversulphured,
but there has been a huge surge
in the quality of the wines since the mid1980s.
Today, you'll nd everything from
taut, fresh Sauvignons to rich, ageworthy
blends in which the less aromatic but more
powerful Semillon grape plays a leading role.
Dourthe No.1 Sauvignon Blanc 2012
(£7.50, The Wine Society)
Clean as a whistle, tangy and grassy, and with
a touch of herbs nestling in among the citrus
�avours, this is a dainty young Sauvignon
that would pair nicely with shellsh dishes
as well as goats' cheese salads.
Cuvée Francis Courselle Bordeaux
Blanc 2008, Château Thieuley
A richer, more honeyed style, this sees the
waxy, preserved-lemon �avours of Semillon
sitting in harmony with the more precise
nettly freshness of Sauvignon Blanc. Add
in a touch of spicy oak and you have an
impressive white wine for game and white
meats in creamy sauces.
Welcome in the warmer spring weather with some classy
whites from France and Germany, silky New World Pinot
and two fantastic �nds from Eastern Europe WORDS SIMON WOODS
Dry German Riesling
Is 'traditional' German Riesling a dry wine
or not? For most of us, we tend to think of
the classic style as having at least a touch of
sweetness. However, in Germany, the past 30
years have seen a growing sentiment that,
with the exception of late-harvest, botrytisaected,
out-and-out sweet styles, the
majority of wines should be dry. Underripe,
under-�avoured grapes made in such a
style result in thin, shrill wines that oer no
pleasure at all. But with good fruit, good
winemaking and an ever-so-small amount
of sweetness to round out the �avours, the
results can be extremely tasty (to spot drier
styles, check the alcohol - anything around
11% should be on the dry side).
Prinz von Preussen Riesling Trocken
2012, Rheingau (£10.50, Oddbins)
Quite rich for Riesling, with pear and apricot
�avours alongside the more typical citrus
and green apple, and a fresh, minerally nish.
Try it with Munster cheese or lighter sh.
Tonschiefer Dry Riesling 2012,
(£16.50-18.95, Uncorked, The Wine Society)
Beautifully balanced wine - minerally (a
touch of wet slate) with elder�ower, lime and
grapefruit notes, �eshier peach �avours and
honey on the nish. Gets the juices �owing -
a seafood platter would be a ne combo.
Californian Pinot Noir
They tend to like their wines on the fuller,
�eshier side in the States. Nothing wrong
with that, but if you're looking for delicacy
in Californian Pinot Noir, you're going to be
a little disappointed. However, providing the
grapes aren't too ripe and the oak is subtle,
you'll still nd the freshness, haunting aromas
and supple fruit �avours of this grape. Enjoy
with seared tuna or proper roast chicken.
Irony Pinot Noir 2010 (£19.99, Morrisons Cellar)
Boisterous and oaky to begin with, then it
relaxes into the glass and shows its more
mellow face. Rich but fresh, with red berry,
plum and black cherry. It's a supple, spicy
wine with a warm, welcoming nish.
Lompoc Wine Company Pinot Noir 2012,
Santa Rita Hills (£29.95, Roberson Wine)
This food-friendly wine is a collaboration
between a sommelier (Indian-born Rajat
Parr) and a winemaker (Sashi Moorman).
It's jovial fodder, with plush morello cherry
and loganberry, and a touch of spice -
broad-shouldered, but slim-waisted.
It's a shame we don't see more Hungarian
wines in the UK. This is a country with a
portfolio of classy local grapes interspersed
with some famous foreign varieties, two wellknown
wines in Bull's Blood and Tokaji, and
a plethora of quality-minded producers.
Weninger Kékfrankos 2011, Balf
(£11.50, Astrum Wine Cellars)
It's called Blaufränkisch in Austria and
Kékfrankos in Hungary. Weninger is one of
very few producers growing this lovely grape
on both sides of the border, and while this is
only his entry-level version, it's still a cracker.
Gently perfumed and leafy, with crunchy
cherry and blackcurrant fruit, touches of
tomato, vanilla and white pepper, this is a
joyful young wine that would not object
to being served on the slightly cool side.
Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2007
Following the collapse of communism, a
combination of proud locals and eager
foreign investors has done a superb job to
resuscitate Hungary's most famous wine,
and indeed one of the icons of the sweet
wine world. This is an excellent example,
with tangy marmalade and apricot �avours,
notes of smoky tea and a rich, sweet and
creamy - but always fresh - nish. Crème
brûlée would denitely be in order.
The gales of winter have (hopefully) receded, the days are getting longer, and
the wines we're turning to are generally fresher, lighter and whiter. So to start
with, some Bordeaux. It's an area more famous for red wine, but the dry
whites can be excellent. So, too, can dry German Riesling, which with its dainty
freshness seems to encapsulate spring in a bottle. And just because most of
us don't want to drink white all the time, I've slipped in a couple of Pinot Noirs
- not from Burgundy but from California. The nal pair is from Hungary (an area you may
not know but deserves exploring): one a buoyant, fresh, even chillable red, the other a
decadent sweet wine. So, egészségetekre - that's Hungarian for 'cheers'!
ILLUSTRATION: ANDREA D'AQUINO