(2013) Made by Apostolos Thymiopoulos in the central Greek mainland, this is a blend of the native Malagouzia (70%) and Roditis (30%) that weighs in with a featherweight 12% alcohol. It seems to me that it could well be Greece's white wines that are its aces in the pack - especially those from the islands, but also wines like this. It is a powerfully aromatic, floral and ripe pear-scented wine that has some delicately herbal and exotic aspects that remind me of Torrontés and Gewürztraminer. It bursts with fruit and flavour on the palate, a piercing note of green-streaked acidity bracing the wine, and leading to a crisp, clean and elegant finish with a hint of sweetness in the background.
(2012) This very pale lemony-green Chablis weighs in with a feather-light 12.5% alcohol and has a beautifully clear and pristine nose, with firm green apple and a hint of waxy lemon rind, but all very taut and precise. On the palate there is delightfully fresh, mouth-watering fruit. Citrus and that cool apple for sure, but just hints of greengage even a faint touch of gooseberry, with abundant fruitiness sliced through by the lemon and mineral acidity. Classic Chablis style and lovely indeed.
(2012) The gently toasty and nutty oak influence is immediately obvious on the nose of this Côte de Beaune Chardonnay, along with a real ripeness of fruit and oatmeally sense of richness. It is much more honeyed and open than the Chablis. On the palate it is delicious I must say: those hazelnut and buttery, toasted crumpet nuances are there, but the ripe and quite fat core of apple fruit comes through powerfully, but then so does a decisive lemony acidity which, along with hints of spice and a full texture, leaves this a very rounded, very impressive white Burgundy at its moderate price.
(2010) This has tiny proportions of Viognier, Merlot and Syrah in the blend too, though the nose is classic, earthy Pinot, with a touch of mushroom and truffle, soft red berry fruit and something quite sappy. On the palate there is a nicely rounded fruit quality, but that green-tinged, sappy character continues with some savoury, cedary notes and plenty of crisp tannin and acid to give it real bite through the finish. A nicely-pitched style, with a bit of complexity.
(2010) Champagne house Deutz is behind this bottle-fermented Kiwi fizz, which is one of New Zealand's best. It has a very pale lemony-green colour and plenty of tiny bubbles, and an authentically yeasty, Champagne nose with bread dough scents and a touch of toast, a nettle streak and plenty of crunchy apple fruit. On the palate it is bone-dry in character, but not tart or thin. It is tight and juicy, with a fine mousse and those crunchily vivid red apple flavours and lemon zest acidity. Stick a few bottles in the cellar and this will no doubt be even better in a couple of years. Terrific stuff.
(2010) A Pinot Noir-dominated blend of the three main Champagne grapes, a proportion of the base wine is fermented and aged in barrel, and the dosage is low making this a dry style of Champagne. Finesse seems to imbue this wine, from the pin-prick bubbles to the gently floral, Acacia and citrus aromas to the delicate mousse. It is undoubtedly a lighter style of Champagne without an excess of toast or tartness, but with lovely delineation and a long, gently fruity finish.
(2010) >From the cool, Atlantic-influenced Rias Baixas in northwest Spain, this has a brilliantly vivid nose, the crunchy, tropical fruit notes much more punchy than in many examples, with tiny floral hints and plenty of luscious, ripe stone-fruit aromas. On the palate this has the typical salty tang and edge of the Albariño grape, but the slightly exotic fruit - even hints of banana - plays on the tongue and the core of crisply-defined citrus acidity never waivers. A lovely wine this, and a banker for seafood and lighter fish dishes.
(2010) From the Choapa valley, south of Limari but still 200 kilometres north of Santiago. De Martino is the only producer with fruit from this valley. 100% Colluvial (volcanic formed) soils on mostly clay, 845 metres above the sea in the Andes foothills. There is a touch of resinous, almost balsamic quality, with rich, thick raspberry and darker plummy fruit notes. The palate has lots of sweetness, but a roasted chestnut richness and plenty of body, though the freshness is there, with good acidity and a bit of spice.
(2010) This Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is now in fairly short supply. From the Awatere Valley, it is one of the 'new' style Marlborough Sauvignons, with around 10% barrel fermentation adding an extra complexity. The nose has classic, deep-set aromas of elderflower and mango, with a cut of vivid asparagus greenness and plenty of aromatic fireworks to go round. On the palate this is a decisive wine, with good concentration of those punchy, vibrant, tropical fruit flavours and a piercing clarity. Pithy lemon and grapefruit acidity is nicely integrated, in one of the best New Zealand Sauvignons I've tasted from this vintage. Worth trying to find it if with a hunt around local Oddbins stores.
(2010) A blend of two clones - one from Davis and one from France. The former gives tropical aromas, the latter gives citric and finesse, The nose has a rich, ripe, almost liniment-like quality, with some soft herbs and seeds and a background of mango-like, tropical fruit. The palate has a powerful, skinny weight and texture, with plenty of acidity, but a richness of flavour and bit of phenolic grip. "Made with a philosophy of being drunk with a nice plate of food - iodine flavours of seafood".