If you want a really crisp, minerally white to mark the springtime feel in the air, head to these European classics which all have one thing in common: fabulous natural acidity which make the wines taste so crisp and refreshing.
DOURO, PORTUGAL: TONS DE DUORUM BRANCO 2013
(£8.50, Tanners Wine Merchant; The Real Wine Company)
You might not associate Portugal with crisp, dry whites, but this indigenous white blend is intriguingly different and incredible value. Made inland from Oporto from the steep schist slopes where port is usually made, this combination of viosinho, rabigato, verdelho, arinto and moscatel makes an unusual cuvée with a sleek crispness to its body plus a delightful tropical fruit roundness and appealing aroma. It would suit anyone who usually likes sauvignon blanc. Serve with salt cod or rich, textured seafood like scallops or monkfish. They also make a great value red too (available from The Wine Society). STAR VALUE BUY
LOIRE, FRANCE: POUILLY FUME RENAISSANCE 2012 Domaine de la Loge
(£16.99, Raeburn Fine Wines, Edinburgh)
Across the river Loire from Sancerre, pouilly fume makes deliciously creamy sauvignon blanc with a fabulous minerally streak. Domaine de la Loge is run by David Millet – who grows vines across 19 hectares near Soumard, St Andelain. He makes five different pouilly fumes. This comes from 80-year-old vines grown on the local flint and red marl soils. STAR BUY
PODRAVJE, SLOVENIA: DVERI PAX SIPON FURMINT 2012
(£9.95, The Wine Society, www.thewinesociety.com)
From steep slopes in northern Slovenia, right on the Austrian border, this furmint makes a very unusual, crisp, dry aperitif. Dveri Pax is one of the leading lights in the current Slovenian wine renaissance. Furmint is the grape (usually found in Hungary in the Tokay region) with very high natural acid – ideal as a crisp, spring white.
SOMONTANO, SPAIN: VINAS DEL VERO GEWURZTRAMINER 2013
(£10.49, Majestic Wine)
Whenever I put this into tastings, people are always amazed and delighted by it. Not only is it a cracking price, but it has all the attractive qualities of dry gewurztraminer with a warm, ripe, fruit flavour – but without the heavier, richer tones you often find in Alsace. Located in north-east Spain, this stunning mountainous region is not far from the French border with a strong focus on French varieties (plenty of chardonnay is grown here too). Somontano should be better known for its white wines. Vinas del Vero is among the dominant producers here – this hails from its El Enebro single vineyard.
MALAGA, SPAIN: TELMO RODRIQUEZ MOUNTAIN WHITE 2012
(£18.45, Berry Bros & Rudd, www.bbr.com)
Telmo Rodriquez is a legend in Spain. He makes superb whites across the country from Rias Baixas, Valdeorras and Rueda down to Malaga – as well as running the family estate in Rioja (Bodegas Remelluri). Despite the fact we are so far south in Spain, this wine is supremely bright, zippy and fresh. Sadly Malaga dry muscats are not cheap (try Jorge Ordonez Botani Dry Muscat from here too, to compare).
ALSACE, FRANCE: RIESLING RESERVE 2012 Trimbach
(£14.95, The Wine Society)
I served this at a dinner matched with a tartar of sea bream (created by the Peat Inn chef/patron Geoffrey Smeddle) and the combination worked rather well. It is about as steely and dry as you can get in Alsace, with a very pure fruit focus. This must be one of the best value dry rieslings worldwide. The Trimbachs have had plenty of practice with a family history of winemaking stretching back to 1626. The quality is even better with their recent vineyard expansion allowing them better fruit for their Reserve range, which is a good step up from their standard riesling.
ALTO ADIGE, ITALY: PINOT BIANCO CLASSICO 2012 Cantina Terlano
(£15.50, Berry Bros & Rudd)
For those who like crisp white Burgundy, they should try this intriguing pinot blanc from the far northern mountainous reaches of Italy. Here in Terlano near the Austrian border, in the high mountain passes, the sunshine can be as bright as in Palermo, but the nights are chillingly crisp so the wines always have a fabulous natural acidity and mountain freshness. This has delicate fragrance and an unexpectedly rich palate for a pinot blanc.
CAMPANIA, ITALY: FIANO DI AVELLINO 2013 Feudi di San Gregorio
(£16-£17.40, Bacco Wines, Edinburgh; Luvians, Cupar and St Andrews)
The fiano grape is now becoming much better known, thanks to supermarket own label cuvées. If you want to see what this grape really tastes like, head to the best estate in the region, Feudi di San Gregorio. Inland from Naples, high in the Avellino hills, this wine achieves wonderfully minerally, nutty complexity with a touch of wax on the palate as well as being crisp and dry.
MOSEL, GERMANY: FRITZ WILLI RIESLING 2012
(£10.95, www.slurp.co.uk; £10.19, www.allaboutwine.co.uk; £12.95, www.thevintner.com)
There were plenty of oohs and aahs when I served this classic Mosel screwcap riesling at a recent tasting. It is just off dry, but do not let that discourage you, as it has such a wonderful zesty, tutti-frutti flavour alongside its racy, crisp acid. Mosel rieslings are prefectly suited for springtime aperitifs -– this one has a very modest 11 per cent alcohol. The wine is made by Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium which started as a Jesuit school in Trier in the 16th century, and is now a forward-thinking co-operative.
BURGUNDY, FRANCE: ST VERAN 2012 Domaine Cordier
(£17, The Wine Society)
Ever since I first visited Christophe Cordier at his cellars near Fuisse in Maconnais, on the southern tip of Burgundy, I have loved his wines. Christophe is an immaculate winemaker who harvests late, so his style across the board is really rich and ripe. If you like pouilly fuisse or any white Burgundy, try Domaine Cordier’s wines as they are superbly made.
• To find out more about these wines join Rose’s Fine French Classic Masterclass in Edinburgh on Wednesday, £40, www.rosemurraybrown.com