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Brian Elliott: Great seasonal sauvignon blanc

Scotland on Sunday wine columnist Brian Elliott reviews some of the best seasonal sauvignon blancs

Published: December 17, 2015
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Since Christmas lunch often opens with seafood, today’s review of seasonal white wines starts with sauvignon blanc. That variety’s citrus-based acidity works like a squeeze of lemon on any fish dishes, so where better to start than with the equally assertive, fruit-forward sauvignon of Marlborough in New Zealand?

"White wines can be robust enough to accompany turkey"

An ideal example is the fresh and grassy 2015 Definition Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc (£8.99 at Majestic). Just like more expensive versions, this enhances its bedrock acidity with tangerine depth and even a savoury twist – yet still keeps its tingling grapefruit, asparagus and gooseberry fruit light and delicate.

Step up the richness and white burgundy comes into its own – often proving robust enough to accompany a turkey main course as well. That ability is certainly no problem for the soft yet rounded 2012 Château de Meursault, Meursault Clos des Grands Charrons (£36 from The Wine Society). This delivers delightful apple, banana and white peach fruit, but neatly integrates it into the wine’s toasty hazelnut and vanilla texture which is supercharged with lime-influenced acidity.

If, however, your fish is accompanied by a substantial sauce, then perhaps the creamy texture and buttery depth of 2014 Innocent Bystander Chardonnay (£15 at Oddbins) would work even better. It adroitly counterbalances any required sturdiness with floral flintiness, gentle suggestions of vanilla and the muted but crisp lemon acidity that cooler areas, like its Yarra Valley homeland in Victoria, do especially well.

For something equally floral and substantial – but a bit of a wild card – head towards Southern France and 2014 Clos Bagatelle Blanc Saint Chinian (£13.15 at Great Grog, Edinburgh). The roussanne part of this blend brings you flavours of quince, baked apple and grapefruit marmalade, but neatly intermingles them with pithy lemon acidity and attractive textured orange elements.


2014 Eschenhof Holzer Roter Veltliner
Wagram, Austria, 12.5 per cent

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Luvians Roter Veltliner Best Buy 13 Dec
Really distinctive wine from a grape unrelated to grüner veltliner, yet still containing a vague minerality behind its melon, white peach and ripe pear fruit. To that is added a gentle lime and apple acidity and appealing sweeter touches to embellish the finish.
£11.99 at Luvians Bottle Shop, St Andrews and Cupar

2013 Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon
Puente Alto, Chile, 14.5 per cent

Asda Marques Cabernet Sauvignon Best Buy 13 Dec
Ace winemaker Marcelo Papa changed the wine’s style slightly for this vintage. Bigger oak casks have lightened the tannins and allowed more raspberry-centred acidity to shine through without compromising the smooth and intense blackcurrant fruit or the clove and mocha touches that accompany it.
£8.98 instead of £11.98 until 31 December at Asda

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