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White Bordeaux

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 shell„sh dishes

as well as goats' cheese salads.

Cuvée Francis Courselle Bordeaux

Blanc 2008, Château Thieuley

(£15.99, Laithwaites)

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

what to

drink now

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, botrytisaŽected,

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 oŽer 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,

Dönnho€, Nahe

(£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.

Hungary

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

(£26/50cl, Waitrose)

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 de„nitely 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

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