By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 10 December 2022
A dozen classic whites for serving with the Christmas meal:
Western Cape, South Africa: CAMBALALA SOUTH AFRICAN WHITE RHONE BLEND 2021
Cracking price for this white Rhone blend from Voor Paardeberg in the Cape made by talented winemaker Trizanne Barnard in this up-and-coming region. Soft appley notes, melony fruits with a zippy fresh palate made from a blend of white Rhone grapes: Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Marsanne. Very versatile wine for aperitif, smoked salmon or serving with Boxing Day cold meats or fish pie.
Tokay, Hungary: DRY FURMINT 2021
£8.95 The Wine Society
Dry Furmint is a relatively new phenomena within the last 20 years as sweet wines were always the focus in Tokaj in the past. This classic grape which originates from the region makes superb spicy dry whites with bruised apple notes, zippy minerally streak and moderate alcohol at 12%. Exceptionally good value example made by French-owned Pajzos estate at Sarospatak castle in north east Tokay – perfect on its own or with turkey and trimmings.
Rias Baixas, Spain: ALBARINO 2018 Bodegas Pascual
£15.99 Raeburn Fine Wines
You don’t often get to taste mature Albarino as so much is drunk in its youth as a crisp vibrant aperitif. Instead we have something very different here with golden colour, rich honeyed notes and soft creamy mouthfeel this shows that this grape is certainly capable of longevity and developing rich texture with age for matching with roast goose.
Loire, France: POUILLY FUME LIMITED EDITION 2021 Chassaux
Pricey for Aldi, but good value for the Pouilly Fume appellation. A sleek Sauvignon Blanc for those who enjoy extra pungent green fruits, creaminess and smoky notes – it hails from a blend of limestone, clay and flint soils with a hint of minerality expected from this famous region. Good as aperitif or with smoked salmon.
Jerez, Spain: EL MUELLE DE OLASO 2021 Luis Perez ***STAR BUY***
£16 The Sourcing Table
Winemaker Willy Perez is the current guru in Jerez. He makes superbly stylish focused unfortified Palomino wines. This comes from Barajuela albariza soil and using 20% sundried grapes fermented in seasoned oak the result is superb. Slightly nutty, rich peachy fruits, salty minerality with savoury finish with enough richness and texture to match with turkey (bottle pictured above).
Loire, France: QUINCY UNE PROMESSE 2020 Domaine de l’Epine
£17.50 Corney & Barrow
From a tiny 3.8 hectare domaine owned by winemaking star Elodie Vilpellet which shows all the style and quality of its more famous neighbour Sancerre. Classy Sauvignon Blanc with beautiful ripe fruits, vibrant acid and minerally undertones. Easy to drink on its own or match with smoked salmon.
Burgundy, France: CHABLIS 2020 Sebastien Dampt ***STAR BUY***
£19 Berry Bros & Rudd
Sebastien Dampt is one of the new generation in Chablis making brilliantly focused terroir based wines. This comes from a blend of five old vine parcels near the Dampt domaine in Milly village – and shone out in a recent Chablis tasting. Lovely citric fruit, grassy with spice and succulent fruit on palate with fine acidity. Very impressive example of 2020 Chablis.
Loire, France: MONTLOUIS SUR LOIRE ‘REMUS’ 2017 Domaine de la Taille aux Loups
£22.68 Justerini & Brooks
Winemaker Jacky Blot set up his domaine to raise the profile of Montlouis out of the shadows of its neighbour Vouvray. Blot does not use malolactic fermentation which makes his Chenin Blancs so racy, vibrant and long lived - he also uses barrique ageing which adds depth and complexity. This is glorious bottle aged Chenin with honeyed richness, mouthwatering fresh acidity and a lingering finish.
Burgundy, France: GIVRY 1ER CRU LA GRAND BERGE 2019 Domaine du Clos Salomon
£29 The Wine Society
For those in search of a gentle oaked white Burgundy to match with turkey, this is exceptionally good. From a single hectare of Chardonnay in south-east facing La Grand Berge vineyard – the rest are Pinot Noir vines here. Subtle citric fruit, melony, minerally undertone – lovely balance of fruit and acid.
Tokay, Hungary: KASSAI SINGLE VINEYARD HARSLEVELU 2018 Kikelet ***STAR BUY***
£20 Wanderlust Wine
Loire-born Stephanie Berecz came to Tokay to work for the French owned Disznoko winery. She set up their own winery in 2002 with just 5 hectares specialising in Harslevelu grape. One of the best Harslevelu examples with rich peach spicy notes, lush succulent palate with bitter almond hints from south facing 220 metre altitude Kassai vineyard – with enough richness to serve with goose.
Marlborough, New Zealand: DOG POINT CHARDONNAY 2020
£24 Hic!Winemerchants; Woodwinters, Edinburgh & Inverness; The Wine Society
One of the best Kiwi Chardonnays made by the well-respected Sutherland and Healy family Dog Point team. Hand crafted Chardonnay from the southern valleys this has a lovely breadth of flavour, zesty citric fruits and gentle oak notes. Great match with rich fish dishes or roast goose.
Burgundy, France: BOURGOGNE TERROIR D’EXCEPTION 2016 Chateau de Meursault
£50 Justerini & Brooks
Serious classic white Burgundy from a plot of 40 year old vines close to the premier cru site of Perrieres. As this plot was a quarry until 1977 it missed out on classification. So labelled as a simple Bourgogne, this is exceptionally good with buttery notes, stony fruit flavours, smoky oak, smooth rounded texture.
Join Rose’s Up & Coming Wine Producers Masterclass on Thursday 2 March at The Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh www.rosemurraybrown.com