Mighty whities: Four great white wines for €20 or less
Staycation with these and you’ll have such a good time, you won’t feel you’re missing out
White wine tastes so much better if it isn’t served too cold
This week, four great white wines, (almost) all costing less than €20. As with the red wines featured last week, these fall into my all-purpose category: wines that you can enjoy solo before a meal, or with a wide variety of foods. All of these would make great staycation wines to bring on holiday. In general, look for unoaked wines with 12.5-13.5 per cent alcohol and plenty of fruit.
The recent warm weather has really brought home to me how white wine tastes so much better if it isn’t served too cold. Served straight from the fridge, it may seem refreshing, but let it warm up a little if you want maximum flavour.
The El Angosto was one of my lockdown rediscoveries, a wine that I hadn’t tried for a while. It is a seductive, fruit-filled wine that charmed everyone who tried it. At 12 per cent, it might not fit into my definition of all-purpose, but we tried it with various dishes as well as and it worked perfectly.
I don’t drink enough Alsace wine. I’m not sure why. Riesling from this part of the world can be one of the greatest wines of all and prices are generally reasonable. At the less expensive end, there is a tradition of using various grape varieties to create blends. The wine below is made up of 30 per cent sylvaner, 15 per cent muscat, 15 per cent pinot grigio, 10 per cent gewürztraminer 20 per cent pinot blanc and 10 per cent chasselas. While you are in O’Briens, you could also try out the delicious Ascheri Dolcetto d’Asti (€16.95) to make up your staycation case.
Sometimes the Rueda region gets forgotten about among all the great white wines of Galicia and Catalunya, but here the Verdejo grape can produce very good wines. Some winemakers make it in a highly aromatic style with tropical fruits that I find overpowering. The better versions tone down the aromas and allow the pure, more natural fruits to shine through. The Pariente below is one such example.
I have written before about the wines of Domaine des Nugues. Its red Beaujolais-Villages is a textbook example of a thirst-quenching Beaujolais. The Fleurie is excellent too. Most of the Chardonnay grown in Beaujolais is labelled and sold as Bourgogne Blanc, a pity as there are a few excellent white wines being produced here (less than 2 per cent of Beaujolais is white), usually from grapes growing on outcrops of limestone. The wine I feature here is a personal favourite.
Lastly, I recently got my hands on a bottle of sherry to accompany me on my holiday – if it lasts that long. Tio Pepe en Rama 2020 (€23 from Bradley’s, Field’s and Manning’s in Cork, and winesoftheworld.ie, is a lovely, tangy, fresh wine to sip as an aperitif or eat with fish and shellfish.
Bodega El Angosto Blanco 2019, Valenica
12%, €14- €14.95
This is such a lovely summery wine – only 12 per cent ABV – bursting with floral aromas and brimming with fresh juicy fruits, that I couldn’t leave it out. Great before dinner, with summery salads and anything fishy.
From: Searsons, Monkstown, searsons.com; Sweeneys, Dublin 3, sweeneysd3.ie; Baggot Street Wines, Dublin 4, baggotstreetwines.com; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, blackrockcellar.com; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.com; Green Man Wines, Dublin 6, greenmanwines.ie; Morton’s, Dublin 6, mortons.ie; The Wicklow Wine Co, Wicklow, wicklowwineco.ie.
Mosaik 2019, Alsace, Kuentz-Bas
13%, €14.95 down from €16.95
The muscat and gewürztraminer bring lovely summery aromas; the other grapes fresh rounded pear and peach fruits. A lovely summer wine to try with lightly spicy or herby salads.
From: O’Briens, obrienswine.ie
José Pariente Rueda 2019
Lightly aromatic with succulent, ripe, textured exotic fruits and impeccably balanced acidity. Pairs well with all manner of fish and shellfish, white meats, lighter pasta dishes and creamy goat’s cheese salads.
From: Wines Direct, Mullingar, and Arnotts, Dublin 1, winesdirect.ie.
Beaujolais Blanc 2018, Domaine des Nugues
This has a lovely weight of fruit – fresh, clean green apples and pears cut through with citrus. The perfect aperitif, with grilled plaice, or summery salads.
From: siyps.com; 64wine, Glasthule, 64wine.com; Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Dublin 2, Kells, Galway, sheridanscheesemongers.com.