By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 26 June 2021
My favourite dozen bargain picks from lesser-known grapes now sold by leading supermarkets – most ideal for serving as crisp summer dry whites to keep you cool in the heat.
France: WAITROSE & PARTNERS PETIT MANSENG 2019 Cave de Gan Jurancon (12.5%) ***STAR BUY***
Grape: Petit Manseng
Clear winner in the tasting for quality (pictured above) – it was one of the higher priced wines in our tasting – but definitely worth the money. Loved its attractive peachy fruits, juicy lime and honey notes, hints of spice and fleshy succulent well-rounded palate. From the beautiful region of Jurancon near the Pyrenees in south west France. Very good.
Portugal: VINHO VERDE 2020 Consulvinus (12%) ***STAR VALUE***
Clear winner in our tasting for value. Loved its subtle melony nose, vibrant zesty limey palate, refreshing spritz (just a touch), sweet sour notes with dry finish. Made by Joao Maria Ramos – all very attractively packaged with a colourful label in flute bottle - from 20 yrs old vines close to Ponte de Lima in the southern part of Vinho Verde in northern Portugal where Loureiro grows well.
Portugal: LOVED & FOUND ARINTO 2019 Casa Santos Lima (13%)
Arinto is one of Portugal’s oldest white grapes, which originated from Bucelas near Lisbon. Ideally suited to warmer regions as it has a great capacity to retain acidity – and we may see more of Arinto in future as it copes well in drought. Very lemony, lime and grapefruit flavours, pronounced high acidity with a bright fresh finish – from Lisboa region.
Greece: ASSYRTIKO 2020 Filos Estate (13%)
For the price this is an interesting introduction to Assyrtiko. I have certainly had plenty of better Assyrtikos from Santorini island, but not at this price. This comes from high altitude 625 metre vineyards in Amyndeon in north west Greece – grassy herby, sweet sour notes with a clean dry finish.
Italy: PECORINO 2020 Castellore (12.5%) ***STAR VALUE***
Most popular in a line-up of supermarket Pecorinos from the Chieti province of Abruzzo in central Italy. High scorer for its crisp zippy dry style with taut lemon fruits, vibrant acidity and clean dry finish.
France: PICPOUL DE PINET 2018 Paul Mas (12.5%)
Acceptable example of Picpoul de Pinet from Languedoc in southern France from well-known producer Paul Mas - although there are plenty of better examples at higher prices. Peachy fruits, clean, zippy and moderate finish.
Italy: PECORINO 2020 Botte dei Conti (12%)
Lidl’s Pecorino from Chieti province is very different from Aldi’s with less crispness and zip, but sold at the same price. It would suit those who like a slightly softer sweeter style, zesty juicy smooth, an ideal summer white with moderate alcohol.
Italy: SOAVE 2020 (11%) ***GOOD VALUE***
The cheapest in our tasting, a wine which stood its ground amongst higher priced bottles, it won the great value under £8 award at the International Wine Challenge. Certainly no awards for its awful label, but tastewise it is acceptably lemony, sherbet notes lightly creamy nutty palate, moderate finish.
Spain: ALBARINO 2020 Paco & Lola (13%)
£12 Tesco (£10 clubcard)
From a relatively new co-operative in Salnes valley founded 16 years ago. They buy from numerous tiny plots across 200 hectares in the Rias Baixas region of Galicia. Packaged with an eye-catching fun polka-dot label, initially very citric with pear-skin notes, rich succulent palate, good finish.
Germany: JUNGE WINZER PINOT BLANC 2020 Frank Est (13.5%)
Grape: Pinot Blanc
From the southern Baden region of Germany, this Pinot Blanc has more breadth of texture than you would find across the Rhine in Alsace where it also grows. Appley, rich mouthfeel with a hint of spritz to freshen the palate.
Italy: MASSERIA PIETROSA VERDECA 2020 Cantina San Marzano (12.5%)
£7 reduced from £8.25 until 27 June at Morrisons
Verdeca is a rare white grape from Taranto in Puglia which deserves to be more widely planted. Loved its floral hints, creamy texture and such vibrant acidity, considering its southerly origin from the heel of southern Italy. Made by the excellent San Marzano co-operative.
France: ALSACE GEWURZTRAMINER 2020 (14%) ***STAR VALUE***
Good price for an Alsace Gewurztraminer – a gentle introduction to the style. Sweet spicy flavours, lychee and mango fruits, rich mouthfilling characterful wine – but do note this is not so suitable as an aperitif as it has some sweetness. At its best well chilled to enjoy its freshness - served alongside spicy Chinese noodles & prawns, salmon or light fruit dessert.
Join Rose’s Hidden Gems of Hungary virtual wine tastings on Saturdays 10 & 17 July 6.30pm www.rosemurraybrown.com