Big chill: The perfect al fresco bottles for a summery picnic
Saturday 01 August 2009
2008 Pikes The White Mullet, Clare Valley
Moderate in body for an Australian dry white at 12 per cent alcohol, this unholy alliance of riesling, viognier, sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc somehow works, combining a floral fragrance with voluptuously textured peach and nectarine fruit flavours, topped off on the finish with the fresh, palate-cleansing citrusy undertones of the riesling. Made for the great outdoors.
£9.99, or buy 3 = £6.66, Wine Rack, around £7.99, Caviste, Hampshire (01256 770397), Dunells, Jersey (01534 736418), Noel Young Wines, Cambridge (01223 844744), S H Jones (01295 251179)
2007 Sartarelli Verdicchio de Castelli di Jesi
One of the less heralded whites from Italy's growing panoply of exciting white grape varieties, verdicchio from the Marche is on the march. Made for seafood- based barbecues, this is a delicately fresh and floral example, showing ripe, full-flavoured stone-fruit characters complemented by a touch of nuttiness, and with developing honeyed undertones.
2008 Torres Viña Esmeralda
This enduring classic from Catalonia's favourite son, Miguel Torres, has been freshened up since being given the screwcap treatment and now boasts the fresh scent of grapes dunked in cream soda, while the fragrantly Muscat-grapey fruit quality retains all the aromatic freshness and flavour of the bunches of moscatel and gewürztraminer from which it was made.
£6.99, Waitrose, Oddbins
2008 Sensas Sauvignon, Vin de Pays des Cotes de Tarn
Now is a good time to take advantage of this special offer on this stunning wine from the South West, which could almost be mistaken for Sancerre with its bright, aromatic quality and juicy fresh, moreishly goosberryish, herbaceous fruit quality. Finishing crisp and dry, it's just the ticket for al fresco picnics and garden parties.
£6.99, or buy 2 = £5.49, until Monday, Majestic
2008 Taste the Difference Sancerre
Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range has proved itself as one of the best own-label ranges in the country, and the Sancerre, from Loire Valley star winemaker Florian Mollet, is a benchmark for this style of Loire sauvignon – fresh aromatics combining with a crisply herbaceous, delicately spiced fruit quality.
2008 Extra Special Clare Valley Riesling
It's a real feather in Asda's cap to have sourced its Clare Valley riesling from the excellent Knappstein Wines, and this example is one of the best of the supermarket's higher-level Extra Special wines – pungently fragrant with brown lime and riesling's trademark petrolly aromas, as well as plenty of mouthwatering lemon and lime-zesty freshness and tang.
2008 Nepenthe Sauvignon Blanc, Adelaide Hills
Picking up a trophy in the under £10 dry white category at this year's Decanter World Wine Awards, this cool Adelaide Hills wine from winemaker Michael Fogarty has terrific aromatic quality and depth of fruit concentration, with all the refreshingly gooseberryish tropical fruit flavours and zesty acidity you could possibly ask for from an Aussie sauvignon blanc.
£7.99, Co-op, Majestic, Waitrose
Montana Sparkling Rosé, NV
This is a crisply refreshing and aromatic rosé sparkler from Montana using grapes from both Gisborne on North Island and Marlborough on South Island. Appetisingly dry fizz in which juicy raspberry fruitiness combines with a fine-textured mousse of bubbles and a yeasty, champagney quality.
2008 Forty Knots Sauvignon Blanc, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand
From the cool Awatere Valley in Marlborough, this is typically assertive Kiwi sauvignon blanc at its pungent best, with undertones of tropical passion fruit and green bean. The palate is rich in pink grapefruit flavours and full of the capsicumy zip and citrusy zing you expect from the grape in Marlborough. Good enough to drink on its own; even better with a goat's cheese salad.
£12.99, Marks & Spencer
2007 Errazuriz Wild Ferment Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley
A Burgundian-style Chardonnay at a non-Burgundian price, this is a finely crafted dry white in which toasty oak and the toffee and butterscotch fudge-like flavours of lees-stirring in the barrel combine to create stunning rich peachy flavours. It's complex, full-flavoured and utterly delicious stuff.
£10.99, or buy two = £8.79, Majestic, £9.99, Co-op
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