Wines of the week: Les Bénédictins Chardonnay 2009; Terres de l'Engarran Initiales Blanc 2011; Grand Heron Marc Ducournau PGI Côtes de Gascogne 2012
Terry Kirby selects the best bottles to buy this spring
Sunday 28 April 2013
Les Bénédictins Chardonnay 2009
The first of three very different French whites for spring is a speciality of Limoux in the Languedoc, an area otherwise best known for light sparkling wines. This is very different, almost Burgundian in its fullness – Chardonnay grapes are barrel-fermented, resulting in luscious, creamy fruit flavours of honey, apples and tropical fruits, yet with a spine of acidity that makes it deliciously refreshing. Match with prime white fish such as turbot or a herb-roasted chicken. £12.99, laithwaites.co.uk
Terres de l'Engarran Initiales Blanc 2011
At the other end of the Languedoc region, the hillsides around Montpellier are normally home to robust, earthy reds, but also to this contrasting white - as wonderfully elegant as the château on the label. This is very different to a normal Sauvignon Blanc: characteristically full of citric fruit flavours, but richer and more full-bodied. With a lingering, almost spicy finish, it will happily partner any substantial shellfish or crustacea and cut through a strong goat's cheese. £9.25, Oddbins
Grand Heron Marc Ducournau PGI Côtes de Gascogne 2012
Let us hope that we have some warm evenings ahead to enjoy bottles such as this, from Gascony's Plaimont Co-operative, which has become a great source for well-priced wines made from distinctive local grapes, each with singular, individual tastes. Made from Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes, this is really grassy and refreshing, with touches of citrus fruits, and is a perfect aperitif or a partner for lightly spiced fish dishes. £5.99 (each for two bottles as part of a purchase of six mixed bottles; normally £6.99 each), majestic.co.uk
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