(2019) The Verdeca variety is grown both here in Puglia and in central Italy around Emilia-Romagna. Unoaked, this offers notes of fresh-sliced pear and a hint of summer meadows, the palate also showing a pear and pear juice fruitiness, but as is often the case with Verdeca, there's a herbal, green twang to this too, and a bittersweet twist of chicory to the acidity, giving it a dry, savoury and food-friendly character despite the overtly fruity opening.
(2019) From the hilltop town of San Gimignano in Tuscany, really a rather lovely Vernaccia as part of Lidl's 'Wine Tour' in January 2019. Vernaccia di San Gimignano often has something of a Chablis about it, and so it is here: an unoaked, super-fresh and delicately fragrant white with a touch of blossom to its apple and cool, mountain stream pebble character. I suspect a little lees-ageing has added a hint of creaminess to the texture on the palate, where again orchard fruits and orange-rind flavours have just a touch of saltiness and firm acids to perk them up leaving this bone-dry, bracing and really rather cool and classy. Watch the video for more information and note that, as part of the Lidl Wine Tour, the wine may sell out fairly quickly.
(2018) Part of Lidl's French wine tour of special parcel wines in autumn 2018, 'Joseph Scalzi' is presumably a fantasy label as I can find no record of a Corsican producer of that name. The blend is 45% Nielluccio, 35% Sciaccarello and 20% Grenache, and pours a medium ruby colour with aromas of pulpy, soft red fruits and a little herbal, herbaceous twang. In the mouth there is good fruit, a little plummy fleshiness, then pert, nimble cherry acidity and some grainy tannins to add a little grip and savouriness, the finish just hints at a not unpleasant sourness. Watch the video for more information.
(2018) From Campania in southern Italy, land of Vesuvius and Naples, this is Fiano, a grape that has become synonymous with the DOCG of Avellino, but this from the IGT of Beneventano. A touch of herbs and stone-fruit (apricot, peach) on the nose, but fairly subdued aromatically. In the mouth it is quite full and has some richness, more dry stone- and apple fruitiness, a nice lick of salty mineral acidity and a moderate finish. A nicely flexible food-friendly style given the bit of textural richness and freshness.
(2017) Made by Bodegas Gallegas in the Salnés zone of Rias Baixas on the extreme northwest of Atlantic Spain, this is a good, solid example that might not have attracted my attention but for the fact that is on offer at an almost giveaway £3.99 for two days in UK Lidl stores, 21st and 22nd October 2017. That embeds it even further into the 'useful everyday white' category. Fresh and fruity, it misses the mineral saltiness of the best examples, but the apple peel and citrus nose is joined by a hint of something floral. Dry on the palate (just 3g/l of residual sugar) it is balanced between the simple gluggy fruit and a good dollop of acidity. Watch the video for more information.
(2017) Made from 60% Aglianico and 40% Montepulciano grown in the volcanic Basilicata area of southern Italy, this is yet another deeply coloured, more traditional rosé. Vinous on the nose, a little cherry with a briary, herby touch, the palate is lovely: quite creamy in texture, a touch of meatiness and gastronomic dryness, savoury fruits and altogether dry, a touch rustic and grown-up, food-friendly in style.
(2017) In Southwest France the Bergerac appellation neighbours Bordeaux, and much the same grape varieties are planted, making wines in a very similar style. This unoaked white is Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps with a dash of Semillon, that is fresh, fruity and aromatic with a hint of apricot and plenty of dashing, citrus and melon fruit. In the mouth it is rounded and has a really nice balance between that apricot/peach ripeness and the clarity of its lemon and lime acidity. Good value.
(2017) A rosé from Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah that comes in a striking, screen-printed bottle in the style of Art Nouveau artist Émile Gallé, released to celebrate the domaine's 60th anniversary. It has a pretty nose of dry red fruits touched with rose-hip and pink grapefruit. On the palate it is quite a powerful wine, full and with a bit of acid backbone and hint of tannin.
(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) On a visit to Croatia a few years ago I was very impressed by a number of wines made from this Istrian version of Malvasia. Unoaked and dazzlingly fresh, this is all about cool, salt-licked mineral, citrus and taut apple freshness, medium-bodied and quite delicate, and yet there's a steeliness and a concentration about it, a sense of grip and a little spice too, making it very gastronomic.