Episode 80 – 6th October 2021
Six of the Best from Jeroboams
I have selected six terrific, seasonal whites for you this week that all show stunning precision and also superb value for money. As we move into autumn and winter I reach for more textural white wines and this sextet is bang on message for your recipes at this time of year. The bottle shots below come from the Jeros archive so ignore the vintages as some are wrong. The notes, however, are all spot on!
2019 Mas las Cabes Blanc, J & V Gardies, Côtes du Roussillon, France £12.95
There is nothing like a cheeky little Southern French white blend to get the pulse racing. With a haunting nose, beguiling depth of flavour and a surprisingly long finish, this is a very clever wine. Made from Grenache Blanc, Vermentino, Macabeu and Muscat, there is plenty of energy, flavour and potential here and yet it is delivered with incredible control. There is no oak, no excess ripeness, just layers of discreet complexity which exude style and élan and in terms of value, Mas las Cabes is hard to beat.
2020 Touraine-Oisly, Sauvignon Blanc, Coulée Galante, Domaine de Marcé, Loire Valley, France £13.95
I have written up this wine before and I am a fan. While most everyday Loire Sauvignon is bright, light, green and tangy, this fascinating number has more depth, more texture, a little more weight on the mid-palate and this ensures that it manages all traditional Sauvignon duties while having a little more richness and traction throughout. Is there such a thing as a wintry Sauvignon Blanc without having to step up to a much richer, ‘reserve-level’ wine, much more expensive wine? Yes, there is – this one.
2018 Langhe Rossese Bianco, Cascina Amalia, Piemonte, Italy £19.95
This amazing white wine is made from the rare Rossese grape and I have only had the pleasure of tasting this fellow once before, so I have little to go on in terms of back catalogue! Having said this, Amalia has an aroma, flavour, shape and size that everyone will understand and, I suspect, adore. If fact, it sits somewhere in the centre of the other five wines in this article. Take the wildflower nose and palate silkiness of Mas las Cabes, the freshness and citrus appeal of Oisly, the exoticism of Les Gendrines, the texture of La Bioca and the elegance of La Tufera and you arrive at Amalia. I can’t place this wine in your palate library in any other way. Suffice to say that this ‘book’ sits in a prominent position on my shelf and I urge you to give it a go.
2019 Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Les Gendrines, Domaine Pierre Gaillard, Northern Rhône, France £23.95
It is very clear what I am about to type, even as I type these words. This is, in every single way imaginable, delicious. AH – gotcha. You were anticipating, no salivating, my use of the word Condrieu. OK, yes, Les Gendrines is in every inch of its being a Condrieu except it has none of the puppy fat, no trace of excess alcohol and no unwanted oak nuances whatsoever. So, in truth, this is the future of Northern Rhône Viognier! I first met Pierre in the mid-Nineties when he was starting out on his own and forging his way in the wine world. It is safe to say that most intelligent wineries are now following his path. 2019 Les Gendrines is a sensational representation of Pierre’s art.
2019 Langhe Chardonnay, Bussia, La Bioca, Piemonte, Italy £26.95
Don’t expect this note to make any sense whatsoever. This is a white wine from the rather large and sprawling and yet super-famous Bussia vineyard in Piemonte. While I understand, having walked rather large tracts of this land, that this is a diverse terrain, clearly only a madman would plant Chardonnay in Nebbiolo’s home turf. And so, we welcome this extraordinary wine! Hello, how are you and have a nice day, says an elite Chardy as it glides past your senses on a fabulous bicycle (no, not an electric one!). The perfume is delectable. The depth is indeed plush and engaging, but at no point do I attach a Meursault tag to this wine. Instead I am happily ignorant, given its plushness v acidity perfection. I know we have one more wine to come, but goodness me, this is a cracker for anyone who ever thought they understood and adored the Chardonnay grape.
2019 Bourgogne Blanc, La Tufera, Etienne Sauzet, France £29.95
Lazy, lazy, lzy. I cannot even bring myself to type the letters… “Why is Matthew Jukes telling us to buy a Bourgogne Blanc that he has banged on about for eternity and at thirty quid?” It’s a good question, but it is a lazy answer. I do not write this wine up in spite of its heritage and obvious skills every year. That would be lazy. I only call you to the table when it is worth it and in 2019, this wine is sublime. I will discreetly remind you that Sauzet is based in Puligny. Bonjour.