We ship directly some of the greatest wineries worldwide and therefore we hope we have some of the most thrilling and exciting white wines amongst our range. If we have not yet discovered a particular style of white wine that we want to ship we work closely with
We ship directly some of the greatest wineries worldwide and therefore we hope we have some of the most thrilling and exciting white wines amongst our range. If we have not yet discovered a particular style of white wine that we want to ship we work closely with the local specialist wholesalers so that we can offer you a complete and exemplary offering.
Let us give you a flavour of some of the glorious whites we have to tempt you with. France is a great place to start with and the obvious starting point are the glorious Chardonnays of Burgundy.
We have a very wide range starting at the top of Burgundy in Chablis and of course finishing in the Maconnais. We are delighted to ship the Chablis of Domaine du Colombier whose wines offer truly great value and of course deliver much pleasure.
Domaine du Colombier is a thoroughly family affair. It sprang into life in 1887 and still continues under the stewardship of the Mothe family. This traditional Chablis house owns 55 ha of vineyards from which they craft some truly thrilling examples of Chablis. It is not surprising that this Domaine produces the Berry Bros. house label Chablis.
Domaine du Colombier Chablis Grand Cru Bougros 2018
This indulgent wine, of which 20% was matured in French barrels, has glorious white flower aromas with notes of citrus, honey and of course an intense flintiness. The oak is not evident on the nose. The palate is intense with a wonderful texture, vibrancy and of course incredible length. This is racy, thrilling and exactly how a great Grand Cru Chablis should present. Tim Atkin rates this vintage 92 points.
We also of course carry some other exciting reference Chablis including the Jean Marc Brocard premier cru Chablis Vau de Vey 2018 and the championed Chateau Grenouilles 2016 from la Chablisienne. The Chablisienne Grenouilles 2016 attracted the following review:
The 2016 Chablis Grand Cru Château Grenouilles is a very impressive achievement in this challenging vintage, wafting from the glass with aromas of lemon oil, white flowers, crisp green apple and wet stones. On the palate, it's full-bodied, layered and pure, with a satiny attack, excellent concentration and an elegant, complete profile. It's a decided overachiever.
“La Chablisienne is a force of nature in Chablis, vinifying and bottling fully one quarter of the entire appellation's production and offering 13 premiers crus and six grands crus. Sometime winemaker and long-time ambassador Hervé Tucki, joined by director of winemaking Vincent Bartement, characterized theirs as "a somewhat traditional idea of Chablis." Tucki stressed that La Chablisienne works with their growers throughout the year, offering advice on farming and prohibiting certain chemical products that are permitted by the law. Musts are tasted and analyzed to determine their quality and are fermented in numerous small lots. While some 80% of La Chablisienne's wines come into contact with oak, there is no notable new oak influence. In general, the wines see between 12 and 18 months on their lees before bottling, with one single bottling for each cuvée to minimize variation (something that's surprisingly uncommon in Chablis). Both 2016 and 2017 represent below-average harvests, with 2016 some 50% less and 2017 down by some 30%. I was impressed by this tasting, finding the wines classical in profile, with good cut and concentration. Certainly, some cuvées are better than others. But it's clear that La Chablisienne is comfortable with their scale and in control, their size arguably imparting advantages in terms of consistency in heterogeneous vintages such as 2016. There are definitely wines in the portfolio that are well worth the attention of serious Chablis lovers, especially those with an eye to value, and I look forward to covering La Chablisienne in future issues.” Parker 93 points
Moving into the Cote de Beaune where to start of course the spotlight has to go back on to Jean Marc Vincent and his brilliant Auxey Duresses, the premier cru les Hautes. The Jean Marc Vincent Auxey Duresses les Hautes 2018 attracted the following review:
“TheJean Marc Vincent 2018 Auxey-Duresses Blanc Les Hautés has turned out brilliantly, offering up aromas of crisp Anjou pear, blanched almonds, white flowers, pastry cream and struck flint. Medium to full-bodied, it's deep and layered, built around an elegantly muscular chassis of chalky dry extract and underpinned by lively acids. Its almost tannic grip lends it supplemental freshness and structure in this warm vintage. This is another brilliant wine from Jean-Marc Vincent.” Parker 91 points.
When it comes to Puligny Montrachet we needless to say have a huge fondness for what this great appellation can deliver with it’s whites. Our glorious Jean Marc Vincent Puigny Montrachet Corvees des Vignes 2018. The heralded wines of Etienne Sauzet. The Etienne Sauzet Puligny Montrachet La Garenne 2018 attracted the following review:
“Etienne Sauzet Puligny-Montrachet Premier Cru La Garenne 2018 . “A cuvée produced with purchased grapes from a parcel farmed and harvested by the Sauzet team, the 2018 Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru La Garenne wafts from the glass with scents of pear and green apple complemented by nuances of hazelnut and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, it's satiny and enveloping, with a pretty core of fruit, lively acids and chalky back-end grip.
Benoît Riffault, who has directed this important estate since the 2002 vintage, describes the 2018 vintage as "surprising"—both for the wines' abundance and for their fresh, lively profiles. While the year can't match the concentration and energy of 2017, it is shaping up very nicely, and these wines merit a place on even the most fastidious of shopping lists. I also took this occasion to revisit some of the domaine's 2017s from bottle (for already published reviews of Sauzet's lower appellations from bottle, see our End of November 2019 Issue) which roundly confirmed that this is a great vintage at this address, indeed it's arguably Riffault's best to date.
What are the rudiments of winemaking at this address today? In short, hand-harvested fruit is pressed without crushing, the press cycle lasting around three-and-a-half hours and performing "quite a few," which is to say more than 20, rotations. The must is sulfited at the end of the press and settled for 24 hours, but Riffault retains most of the lees, fermenting in wood with ambient yeasts. The wines are racked to tank in July-August before the new vintage, whereas the premiers and grands crus spend as much as six months on their lees before bottling. All Sauzet's wines are closed with high-quality unbleached and unwaxed cork.”
Also topping the list in Puligny are the wines of Jean Louis Chavy. The Jean Louis Chavy Puligny Premier Cru les Folatieres 2017 attracts the following review:
Jean Louis Chavy Premier Cru les Folatieres 2017 : “Seems more closed than their village Puligny on the nose, but the palate is loaded with powerful green-apple fruit and delicious burnt-sugar character on the long finish. There’s great length too – this is just a trailer for the main feature, coming soon…” Jancis Robinson 18 points
For lovers of Meursault, fear not as we have the glorious wines of Domaine Latour Giraud, a real Meursault star. But a little inside tip don’t overlook their Bourgogne Chardonnay.
A quick by the by: Domaine Latour-Giraud is a family run estate in the Côte de Beaune. The current wine-maker is Jean-Pierre Latour, alongside his sister Florence. Their production is 80% white wines. Domaine Latour-Giraud Bourgogne Chardonnay 2018 “2018 was the hottest vintage in Burgundy since 2003, as well as one of the driest ever, with 55% of the average annual precipitation over the last 30 years. The word in region, at least in public, is that Burgundy 2018 is one of the greatest ever vintages. One local négociant, Philippe Pacalet, compared it to the mythical 1947 harvest and the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) described the year as ‘ideal’. A thrilling white made from fruit grown very close to the village of Meursault. This is a delicate supple wine, showing many of the qualities of an excellent Meursault.
Before we move towards the Maconnais the wines of our very own Irish Roisin Curley demand a look in. Roisin Curley MW is one of the shining lights of the Irish wine industry and has managed to do almost the impossible work in Ireland and also craft some exceptional wines in Burgundy. We particularly love the Roisin Curley Saint-Roman 2017.
We have some really interesting offerings in the Maconnais and are particularly pleased to import the wines of Domaine Guerrin & Fils. This domaine produces thrilling Pouilly-Fuisses and Saint Verans. Domaine Guerrin attracted these glowing words about their wines from Parker: “As I wrote last year, Vergisson-based Domaine Guerrin et Fils still flies under the radar, but it's an estate on the rise. Harvested by hand, fermented in stainless steel and oak barrels according to the cuvée and matured on the lees for a year, these are beautifully balanced, concentrated wines. Bastien Guerrin has been working with ambient yeasts, correspondingly longer fermentations and extended élevages, refining the domaine's barrel program too. These endeavors, among others, are bearing fruit in the form of wines of greater cohesion and quality. The 2017s are fleshy, generous and sun-kissed wines, typical of this vintage in the Mâconnais.” All the 2017’s are sold out but the 2018’s are arriving next week, 1st week of February 2021.
So much to write about Burgundy but we better move on. Next stop the Loire Valley. A UNESCO world heritage site, home to France’s longest river this is a must visit area. Dreamy chateaux, a myriad of wine styles and we would suggest some extraordinary value.
The Loire Valley is really one of our favourite wine regions. It can deliver real diversity in styles and with their grape pallet paint some real masterpieces. Home to three white grape varieties the Sauvigon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and the lesser known Melon de Bourgogne.
Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume are the go to appellations for sublime Sauvigon Blanc and also the most expensive. We have to recommend Domaine Andre Vatan for Sancerre. We ship directly the wines of Andre and Arielle Vatan and really believe their Domaine Sancerre should be top of your list when exploring this appellation. For Pouilly Fume there is the brilliant Domaine LeBrun which we also ship directly from. The Domaine Lebrun Pouilly Fume 2019 is particularly exciting and Laurent Lebrun is particularly pleased with it and talks about a particular energy in this wine which will allow it develop further in the bottle, we totally agree a Yes we do of course stock Domaine Vacheron in Sancerre and Comtes Lafond in Sancerre and in Pouilly Fume we are pleased to offer the star white of the Baron de Ladoucette the Baron de L Pouilly Fume and of course we have the Pouilly Fume of Chateau de Tracy.
If you are a Sauvignon Blanc fan but do not want to stretch to the prices of the higher appellations we unreservedly recommend the Sauvion Haut Poitou Sauvignon Blanc 2019 which we ship directly.
To explore exceptional Chenin Blanc you must try Chateau de Fesles from Anjou. An exceptional oaked Chenin Blanc from a very historic Chateau. The Irish wine press can not speak highly enough about it. The 2017 has a cult following and it comes with our top recommendation. Wine Enthusiast 93 points. 92 Points Martin Moran Sunday Times 25th October 2020, Wine of the Week Irish Times 19th September 2020.
For Muscadet enthusiasts we have to recommend the glorious wines of Domaine Luneau-Papin whose wonderfully crafted wines demonstrate the pleasure that the Melon de Bourgogne grape can deliver in the right hands.
Next stop when it comes to white of course is Bordeaux and in particular the area of Graves. We are huge fans of Chateau Crabitey and the whites of the historic Chateau Olivier in Pessac Léognan. Can we particularly suggest the second wine of Chateau Olivier, Le Dauphin d’Olivier 2016 a glorious blend of oaked Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. If you really want to push the boat out Chateau Carbonnieux 2017 could be the wine to explore. It has a long and extensive history in the Bordeaux wine appellation. In fact it’s one of the oldest estates in the entire Bordeaux wine region with a history dating back to the 12th century! The estate takes its name from the Carbonnieu family, who owned the property in 1234. The Carbonnieux Blanc 2017 attracts the following review:
“The Carbonnieux 2017 Blanc gives aromas of lemon pie, lime cordial, honeysuckles and almonds with wafts of cedar and white pepper. The palate is medium-bodied, tightly wound and crisp, finishing long.”Parker 91 points.
Next stop the Rhone Valley where the Marsanne, Roussanne and Viognier grapes can create really sumptuous and exciting wine styles. All too often in the Southern Rhone the focus is on big rich reds but our insider tip is to explore the whites.
Back up north to the wonderful region of Alsace where some of France’s most overlooked wines emanate from. The astonishingly good value of the Pinot Blanc, the spicy off dry Gewurztraminer and of course the wonderful dry style Rieslings. We carry a wide and growing range including Trimbach, Hugel and Josmeyer. The Josmeyer Riesling Hengst Grand Cru 2014 is particularly thrilling. Josmeyer is situated at Wintzenheim, near Colmar, this 28 ha owning Domaine is a reference producer for great Riesling. The average age of the vines for this stalwart is 40 years. This 2014 has a youthful, concentrated aroma of citrus fruits and hints of honey. An elegant, lush wine with honeyed citric flavours. Exotic and fragrant. Drinking wonderfully now can cellar for a further 15 years This wine attracted the following review :“Exuberant on the nose, with spicy, tangy, smoky aromas, then rich and rounded on the palate without being plump or heavy. It’s spicy, concentrated and linear with a long citric finish. A fine success from a difficult vintage. Biodynamic.” Decanter Magazine Stephen Brooks.
Also a go to for Alsatian Riesling enthusiasts is the Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emille 2011. Trimbach, founded in 1626 still in family hands is considered one of the truly great Alsatian Houses. Cuvee Frederic Emille Riesling is one of their out and out reference wines and considered one of Alsace’s reference Grand Crus. This dry, intense Riesling has notes of lime, peach and a hint of kerosene. The palate is incredibly racy and thrilling. The wine has incredible length. This wine is a stalwart for top wines in the world to try by the world’s leading wine journalists. The Trimbach Cuvee Fredric Emille attracted the following review: “..leads with a fantastic nose mingling quinine & smokey black tea with the more usual lime, white peach and crushed chalk. Silken-textured and generously jucy...in a superbly sustained, bell-clear and invigorating as well as surprisingly and delightfully buoyant finish.” Parker 93 points. Wine Spectator 93 points, James Suckling 94 points.
Where next you might ask. Next stop Germany where thrilling Riesling always delight with the light but intense off dry Mosel to the more robust dry Rheingau Riesling more to come here shortly.
Heading off to Spain on the white side the Albarino grape and the Godello grape are currently kingpin. We carry a wide range of both of these grape varietals. Terras Gauda O Rosal predominantly Albarino has a little Loureiro blended into it which definitely adds an extra dimension. Sin Palabras has a bit of a following with the ever popular Rula having a huge following. When it comes to Godello Bodegas Rafael Alvaro Palacios Louro is a bit of a show stopper. If you really want to push the boat out there is the Bodegas Rafael Palacios As Sortes and if you want to go into deep waters Bodegas Rafael Palacios Sorte O Soro might be the one.
The Louro Godello 2019 attracted the following review:“The 2019 Louro comes from a vintage that Rafa Palacios compares with 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016, the best vintages for him. The vines are on sandy granite soils, but there are some vineyards where there's a little more clay, and the vines are worked organically. It fermented in 3,500-liter oak foudres, where the wine matured with lees for four months. It always has a small percentage of Treixadura, around 4% this year, and in 2019, it reached 14% alcohol, so it's not a shy wine. It might seem incredible, but Treixadura is a very aromatic and balsamic grape and that small percentage is clearly noticeable in the aromatics, which gives Louro a very different profile from the AS Sortes, with a more herbal and balsamic touch. But Palacios tells me that's the freshness of the year (Godello can also be herbal), as they have regrafted a lot of Treixadura. In 2019, there is less Treixadura than in previous years, and there's only one hectare of Treixadura left in his vineyards. The wine does have very good freshness, plus a very salty finish and the granite sensation that gives it an electric touch, complex, powerful and with a profile of a serious wine with very little bitterness; Palacios says it reminds him of the 2005 As Sortes. This has to be one of the best vintages of Louro, a clear step up from previous vintages. 180,000 bottles produced”.Parker 93 points
Can’t linger here too much, so off to California and in particular Napa Valley Napa Valley is one of the World’s most exciting areas for whites. We have to particularly draw your attention to the wines of Frog’s Leap and the Wines of Failla.
Frog’s Leap Napa valley Chardonnay 2018: Frog’s Leap is one of the legendary Napa Valley wineries. Here under the careful stewardship of John Williams some of the most exciting wines of the valley are crafted. Serious wine presented with a warm sense of humour subtly sums up the wines of this winery where terroir and elegance are king. By way of an aside, John was the sole cellarmaster of Warren Winiarski of Stags Leap fame when Stags leap triumphed at the Paris Judgement tasting. This wine was held for less than 5 days in new French oak barrels, the wine is racked at the peak of its fermentation to concrete vessels, where it sits, untouched and sur lie, for up to 10 months. Grown in shale and aged in stone, our Chardonnay boasts incredible freshness and a distinct mineral edge that speaks directly to its origins. Wine of the Week Tom Doorley May 25th 2020.
Before we leave California we have to stress the Chardonnays of Failla are sensational. “Failla is a reference point winery for the Sonoma Coast. This is as good as it gets.” Robert Parker. Owned by Ehren Jordan and his wife Anne-Marie Failla the wines of this small but great estate attract very high ratings. “We’ll never be a massive winery because we’re esoteric in the sense that we make all these single vineyard wines” EJ.
Failla Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2018 With its spine of sappy brightness and crystalline salinity, this wine displays all the dense, bright and savoury appeal of the Sonoma coast. At once textural and filigreed, this is a laser-focused expression showing citrus, coastal bay and textural depth to carry the mid-palate to a refreshing finish. This wine was reviewed by Martin Moran Sunday Times May 2020 “ gorgeous aromas of peach, nut, lime and camomile backed by an oyster-shell-like minerality” 93 points.
Next Stop New Zealand
As we all know only too well New Zealand wines are all too often talked about as though the growers are solely focused on the Sauvignon Blanc. We remember fondly the excitement when Cloudy Bay under the tutelage of David Hohnen captured the imagination of the world’s wine journalists in the early eighties and the legendary Oz Clarke, wine journalist extraordinaire, helped through the spotlight of vinous attention on the Marlborough region in New Zealand, the rest is history as the saying goes.
We are particularly proud to work with the wines of Auntsfield in Marlborough who can claim to be the smallest and oldest winery in New Zealand and believe us their estate Sauvignons and Chardonnays are exemplary. No tinned asparagus or bell pepper here rather glorious vibrant passion fruit.
Yes of course we stock the Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc and Cloudy Bay, Dog Point as they are unquestionably some of the reference wines and worthy of inclusion in our range.
Dog Point 2019 attracts the following review:
Dog Point 2019 “Very slightly reductive, struck-match nose and extra-bright fruit with strong passion fruit aromas and a certain amount of delicacy. Chalky finish. Lots of interest here. Very youthful and energetic indeed”. Complimenti! Jancis Robinson Rated 17 points.
For Southern hemisphere Pinot Noir enthusiasts, the brilliant biodynamic wines of Rippon estate Central Otago are sensational. The Rippon Emma’s Block Pinot Noir 2011 is really quite special. The Pinot Noirs of Marlborough stars Auntsfield and Greywacke are also a must to check out.
If you are a Chardonnay fan the wines of Kumeu wines from North Island in New Zealand are really worth checking out.
Kumeu River Mate’s Vineyard Chardonnay 2018 attracts the following review:
“A mix of power and detail, with concentrated peach, apricot and pear flavors at the core, featuring nuances of sesame seed, white flowers, fresh ginger and lime zest set on a smooth and extremely juicy frame. Drink now. 1,100 cases made” Wine Spectator 92 points.
Kumeu River Rays Road Chardonnay 2018 attracts the following review:
“Quite a 'stony' nose and already lots of fun. Seems more than a year more evolved than the 2019. At a very nice stage now. Fresh and minerally and super-crisp but quite satisfying and not meagre at all. Super-clean. Just right for current drinking. If only all white burgundy offered this accessibility (I'm talking both price and taste). Really quite long. A neat, complete wine. At the moment I prefer this to the more intense but unformed Rays Road 2019.” Jancis Robinson 17 points.
We must now jet over to Australia and pay due attention to some of their brilliant Semillon and pay particular attention to Hunter Valley Semillon and one of the reference wines here is the Tyrrells Semillon 2014 with its 96 point rating from James Halliday. Of course Mornington Peninsula and Margaret River can produce some exceptional Chardonnays and we particularly recommend the whites of Vasse Felix and Kooyong.
As we started in the Northern Hemisphere it seems only right to finish there and our final port of call must be Austria. Brilliant Gruner Veltliners and Riesling. We cannot recommend highly enough the wines of Weingut Turk. Franz Turk’s wines are simply exemplary.
Weingut Turk is a winery with a 300 year tradition. This means 300 years of experience in wine knowledge, which is constantly growing. This family owned winery has been passing this knowledge on from generation to generation since the 18th century. Natural growth, healthy development of the grapes and an ideal maturity are integral steps on the way to the best wine. They do this with respect for nature and the attitude to intervene as little as possible in the natural process.
The Weingut Türk vom Urgestein Grüner Veltliner 2019 has attractive notes of grapefruit, lime, yellow apple. Then tobacco notes develop. Finely honed acid structure. Pleasant course, stimulates the next sip with its delicate tartness in the finale. The tight texture clearly conveys the rock on which the vines stand.
This is a whistle stop tour leaving out some of the new up and coming areas so watch this space!