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White wines can be interesting, complex and can have many different avatars. They don’t just have to be one dimensional, and can sometimes be as satisfying as red wines. A selection of whites for you - all showing the different avatars of this category. The use of grape skins, or lees (think of it as all the goodness left in the wine after the fermentation - grape skin bits, yeast, enzymes broken down) play a really important role in white wines and usually not allowing the wine to interact with its skins, or lees for a few hours to days, or months is starving it of nutrients, natural preservatives and a treasure of flavour compounds. The selection below shows a wide range of styles in whites, and all of them display good elegance and focussed, clean expressions.
- 2016 Zdenek Vykoukal, Gruner Veltliner, Moravia, Czech Republic £24.30
Gruner Veltliner was one of the first varieties to have come to Moravia. And Zdenek does incredible work with this grape on just under 2 ha, juggling a day job and working round the clock in the vineyards and shepherding his wines in the cellar. He clearly produces one of the most exciting expressions of Gruner Veltliner - the soil and bedrock is truly unique all comprising limsetone, calcerous traces, as the area Salvkov u Brna is an ancient sea bed. Mineral, saltiness in his wines, with the spice, and peppery notes of Gruner shining through. Lean yet supple, and touch of honeyed notes give it the right amount of richness to balance it all.
- NEW ADDITION 2017 Dva Duby, Malvasia, Moravia, Czech Republic £21.90
Malvasia is known by many names, for example, here in Moravia, they also call it Veltlinske Cervene Rane. Jiri’s vineyards are in a great location - the bedrock composed of granodiorite is highly revered as the intensity, smokey character, savoury and umami characters expressed in the wines is spectacular. The soils, Jiri’s understanding of the landscape and his vineyards make these wines some of the most exciting in Moravia. This Veltlinske Cervene Rane 2017 is broad, starts off with aromas of red, ripe apple, lemon oil, moves on to dill, fennel seeds like notes and very savoury, slightly salty on the palate, with a great structure and a lingering, dancing freshness. Beautiful!
- 2017 Ota Sevcik, Riesling, Moravia, Czech Republic £24.40 - Ota Sevcik is shy, quiet, humble and a hard worker. The last two attributes you can see coming through in the quality of his wines. Whereas his wines are anything but shy and quiet, they are expressive, full of life, textured. His Riesling is really varietally focussed and brings a depth to it that a good Riesling in capable of expressing. Splendid. This wine shows why Riesling is known to be the king of white grapes.
- 2018 Reka.Koncz, The Wizard, Barabas, Hungary £22.40 - Blend of local varieties Kiralyleanka, Harslevelu, Furmint and Riesling, Annamaria works on just under 3 ha. Many growers in Hungary are moving away from Kiralyleanka as they feel the variety may not be as fashionable on the international wine scene, as consumers steer closer to the varieties found in the famous wines of Tokaj. However, Annamaria, wants to change this and is staying strongly rooted to the traditions and working with variety like Kiralyleanka to preserve the heritage and history of the winemaking tradition. The grapes spend a day on skins, which impart a deeper colour, a deep yellow with hints of gold on the rim. Annamaria’s wines continue to show really good elegance and communicate how skin contact whites can be very elegant. They show floral, spice, and white stone fruit characters. Lovely, firm but gentle grip on the palate and clean, precise freshness on the finish.
- 2017 Magula, Rizling Vlassky, Sucha nad Parnou, Slovakia £22.80 - As the name suggests there is no relation between Welshcriesling and Riesling. And Welschriesling is one of the oldest varieties to be found in earlier Czechoslovakia. The Magula family in Slovakia make a great example of this grape. With prolonged ageing on lees, it gives depth, texture and superb ageing potential. The 2017 is at a great place in its development right now and we had to include it here amongst the top whites.
- 2016 Vinarstvi Cacik Rulandske Bile, Moravia, Czech Republic £21.90 - Rulandske Bile, known as Pinot Blanc, from the Cacik’s. This was one of the last vintages Tomas Cacik had worked on before his untimely death in 2018. To continue producing some of the best wines out there, and with their really unique vineyards which Tomas had painstakingly cultivated, his wife Zdena continues running the show. This is soft, supple, and got good fleshyness from few hours on skins. It has good roundness, an exotic character with tropical fruit notes showing there, with medium bodied weight on the palate. It is great for sipping on warm, sunny days and works like a charm with spiced foods.