Joelle Thomson's Amazing Value Picks: Deliciously drinkable unique whites
by Abby Jones
This week’s tasting pack includes six wines and seven different grape varieties because one of them is made from two grapes, the Rio Anejo Macabeo-Chardonnay is a creamy, full bodied Spanish white blend.
Like all the wines in this pack, it’s deliciously drinkable, even if one of the grapes in this wine is off the beaten track for most New Zealanders, who tend to drink wines made from a small handful of mostly French grapes, which is the focus of this country’s wine industry.
It’s tasty to explore outside of our own borders and this week’s pack is the perfect place to start.
It includes whites from Spain, Italy, France and South African wines. The star wine of the week is a southern French Viognier, a wine that makes a regular appearance in our top tasting packs thanks to its full bodied, aromatic peachy flavours and dry style. Enjoy. Star wine of the week - 2018 Domaine de Sainte-Cecile Viognier Pays d’Oc
17.5/20, 4 stars
Viognier is one of the great white grapes of the world, originally from the Rhone Valley in France where it was on the brink of extinction in the mid 1980s when it shrank to just 32 hectares. It is now having a new lease of life both in France and further afield, as this full bodied, Mediterranean coast Viognier shows. The impressive packaging of this wine is suggestive of the promise to come in the bottle, namely, ripe peachy aromas and a fleshy, full bodied style. A decadent and delicious white. View here.
2016 Lirum Verdejo Rueda
17/20, 4 stars
Verdejo is Spain’s great white grape that was under appreciated until the 1970s when it was given a new lease of life by winemakers who recognised its high quality potential and began making fresh zingy white wines, such as this stellar bargain buy. View here.
2017 Bel Colle Roero Arneis DOCG
17/20, 4 stars
Arneis is one of the great white grapes of Piemonte in north west Italy; a region better known for serious big reds and light fruity bubbles. This wine has great character. It’s dry, medium bodied and has intense lemon flavours, which linger in every memorable sip. Talk about a refreshing dry white. Great with seafood. View here.
2017 BelColle Langhe Favorita
17.5/20, 4 stars
Italy is most famous for its red wines but its whites can be equally as amazing, as this evocatively named “Favorita” shows. It’s the same grape (different name) as Vermentino, which makes sense because it has those characters - dry, full bodied and zingy with vibrant fresh flavours of fennel and lemon zest. Talk about a tasty dry Italian white that totally over delivers. Favorita is also known as Vermentino in Sardinia, Pigato in Liguria and Rolle in southern France. View here.
2018 Rio Anejo Macabeo-Chardonnay
16/20, 3 stars
This dry Spanish white blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay has a soft mouth feel, light body and flavours of fresh green herbs and citrus. It’s a great lunch time wine in summer and is good quality. It’s labelled producto de Espana, which means the grapes in the wine were grown in a number of Spanish wine regions. View here.
2018 Cape Spring Western Cape Chenin Blanc
16.5/20, 3.5 stars
Here’s a cheeky little Chenin Blanc to add diversity to Chardonnay lovers’ lives. This is a light bodied, dry and incredibly refreshing white wine made from the world HQ of the Chenin Blanc grape, namely, South Africa. It’s fruity and full of flavour, finishing with the crisp fresh acidity of Chenin Blanc making this wine a fantastically refreshing drink. It’s made with grapes grown in the Western Cape. Sealed with a screwcap. View here.
Joelle Thomson is a wine writer, journalist and author. She’s an avid lover of wine and currently writes for Capital magazine, Good magazine, NZ Winegrower, Drinksbiz, and her own site,www.joellethomson.com.