(2017) Sauvignon Blanc from Primorska in Slovenia, close to the border with Friuli, this is not nearly so pungently herbaceous or tropical as a Marlborough SB for example, just the faintest touch of green to the aromas, but mostly about dry apple and citrus, in a savoury style. There's a squeeze of orange or something a little exotic on the palate, but that's soon swept up in a raft of pithy lemony acidity into a dry but nicely long finish. £10.80 for Daily Drinker club members.
(2017) OVNI = 'Objet Viticole Non Identifié', is Mourat's playful name for wines that he labels "anti-conformist," and different from what you might expect. This Chenin Blanc from organic vineyards is vinified in concrete 'eggs' and has a beautifully precise nose, aromas of gentle flowers, crunchy green apple and a touch of straw or melon rind. In the mouth it is crystal clear too. Is there just a touch of rounding old oak? There's certainly texture and a hint of creaminess, but its the dazzling freshness of the sweet fruit and crunchy acidity that drives this terrific wine. Even better, Daily Drinker club members buy for £11.25. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2017) This organic Nero d'Avola from Sicily is immediately striking because it comes in a tall 'flute' bottle more commonly seen on aromatic white wines. It is dark and powerful stuff, almost syrupy and balsamic in its aromas, but a welter-weight of spicy berry and plum fruit too. The palate is bold and ripe, with plenty of tannin and textural fat in the mouth, a wine with a bit of real heft despite that sweet opulence of the fruit. Good value, especially for Daily Drinker members at £8.10.
(2017) A wine from Penedès in northeast Spain that strikes the red wine mood of the moment: crisp, moderate in alcohol (12.5%), and racy to the nth degree with no oak that I can detect, but a profusion of savoury, dry berry fruit and plenty of dry, tangy acidity and tannin. It's made from the indigenous Sumol variety, and majors on that liquorice, edged, tight and mouthwatering leaner style that offers such a contrast to 'blockbuster' reds. Are the tannins too rustic? Too much? Well, I enjoyed it's style. Daily Drinker members pay £12.15 per bottle.
(2017) I had a wonderful visit to Slovenia a few years ago, to the north-western Primorski region which borders Friuli in Italy, with really very similar wine styles. This is made from the indigenous Zelèn variety in an aromatic and crisp, refreshing style. The nose marries waxy limes, peach down and more exotic lychee, before the palate which has lots of texture, a rippling lemon and lime acidity and a dry, cool, fruity core. Extremely tasty, and one of those all-rounder whites from soft cheeses like chaource, to fish, to a korma chicken curry. Watch the video for more information.
(2016) Michel Chapoutier has certainly branched out from his Rhône Valley roots, now with wineries or joint ventures from Champagne to Australia, and now Portugal's Douro Valley too. This is 100% Touriga Nacional from various vineyards on the typical slate soils of the region, the nose immediately quite complex, graphite and tobacco mixing with firm black fruits and little peppery, lighter floral notes. In the mouth a lovely combination of slick, creamy fruit and a more strict, keen acid and plum-skin core that's taut and fresh (with only 13% alcohol), giving this freshness into the spicy and fruity finish. £11.25 for Daily Drinker club members.
(2016) For a long time in Puglia the wines made from the Fiano Minutolo variety were labelled as 'Fiano', and yet were intensely aromatic and very different from the Fiano of Avellino. In fact it now appears the two varieties are unrelated, and this is a good example of what's now generally known simply as 'Minutolo'. Almost Gewurtz- or Torrontés-like, it is headily aromatic. Complex, juicy and dry with fantastic grip and tang, long and packed with flavour and personality.
(2016) Greece produces some masterful crisp white wines, often with salty tang of seashell minerality allied to excellent fruit, and this example from the island of Crete does not disappoint. Gently fragrant with straw, herbs and nuts over citrus and stone fruits, the palate is really quite weighty and textured, a full and grippy style of wine with fruit skin notes (melon, citrus) a fair bit of almost peachy fat and sweetness, then that pithy and saline streak of minerals into the finish. A powerful wine, at its best with meatier, white-fleshed fish perhaps.
(2016) Eger is a town in northeast Hungary, most famous as the home of 'Bull's Blood', perhaps the only famous wine of Hungary outside of Tokaji. This is made from Kadarka, one of the grape varieties found in the Bull's Blood traditional blend. It's an expressive. modern take on the style, perfumed and aromatic with some violet and kirsch lift to the aromas, though it is a touch volatile too, a note some will like more than others. In the mouth it is dry, a touch of bittersweet chocolate against the cherry fruit, and it does have tang and juiciness. £12.15 for Daily Drinker members.
(2016) Bobal is a very widely planted grape variety here in Spain, but often confined to fairly rustic local wines. This is a bit different, the nose vinous (black fruits, a touch of spice) but the palate surprisingly smooth and fresh, a hugely juicy character, the tart skins of plums and cherries, then the sweet flesh too, a grip of tannin is there just to give a bit of definition and the dry, savoury but fruity finish makes it widely mid-week food friendly. Only £7.20 to Daily Drinker members.