White Wines

The initial part of this introduction is the same as the one on our REDS page, but the country descriptions further down refer directly to the white wines from each country.

As you will probably know the wine world is divided up into "old world" and "new world" countries. Old world consists of mainland Europe - France, Spain, Italy, Germany etc, while New World consists mainly of the regions colonised by European settlers such as Australia, New Zealand, USA, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, although the South African wine insustry dates back to the mid 17th century so "new" could be a misleading term. This sector is ever expanding with new emerging regions such as Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, and these days even India and China.

So there is a lot to choose from! The UK is regarded as the "shop window" of the world and most producers want their goods on sale here. And as the UK has no history of producing quality wines there is no allegiance to traditional regions or styles over here, giving every wine an equal chance to shine on it's own merits. Hence the UK wine market is probably the most diverse in the world.

Naturally we assume more choice is a good thing. But with a subject as vast and confusing as wine there is such a thing as too much choice. Most UK consumers find selecting the right white wine amid the myriad of different retailers and brands a very challenging experience. Unfortunately the UK is flooded with poor quality wine, driven by low supermarket prices and some of the highest excise duty rates in the world - the UK pays over 40% of all the excise duty of the entire European Union! This means a cheap wine in mainland Europe costing three Euros, would cost you more like £8.99 by the time it is on sale in a UK off license - three times as much!

Most retailers, whether supermarkets, grocery chains, off licenses or even independent retailers end up sourcing factory produced wines made on a large scale, with large quantities of additives, driven by price, so finding a good bottle of wine amongst them is like finding a needle in a haystack. This is where we come in. We are a small privately owned, fiercely independent business specialising in sourcing only good quality white wines, made properly by people (not machines), with minimal if any additives. We buy the vast majority of our white wines direct from small family owned wineries, and pass the savings onto our customers.

That means you get great quality wines at the right price, our small family wineries get their wines to market, and hopefully we make a profit in the middle which we reinvest into sourcing more great wines. We only sell GOOD WINES so every wine on our site is good, many are exceptional. Most have at least one award, many are multi gold medal winners. So you can be confident of getting a good bottle regardless of which country or region you choose. Many of our really tiny artisan wineries don't actually enter their wines for awards as they produce so little, but these are also sourced on their merits and are excellent wines.

Here is a guide to help you decide where to start looking.

Argentina

Their signature grape is Torrontes which makes floral aromatic dry white wines. There are some innovative producers who now barrel ferment this grape to produce fuller more rounded wines, and some who make late harvest dessert wines from this grape too. But don't overlook Argentina for great fresh Sauvignons and good oaked Chardonnays as they can be high quality at low prices.

Australia

As we can't find any whites low in enough in sulphites we don't currently offer any white wines from here.

Chile

Great Sauvignon if from the right area - avoid EVERYTHING from the Central Valley though as this is all rubbish. We don't stock anything from this region. Some good Chardonnays too and cool climate Gewurztraminer.

France

Again we avoid the expensive areas. We have good barrel fermented organic Chardonnay from Limoux, and other good sulphite free or organic whites from along the south coast. We don't offer anything from Burgundy, the Loire or Bordeaux as we believe these regions are already well catered for in the UK and they don't offer value for money.

Italy

Again some sensational whites from this country. We have stunning barrel fermented Chardonnays from right up in the Alto Adige to right down the bottom in Sicily. Plus world class Sauvignons, world class Gavi, the best Pinot Grigio from Santa Margherita, Vermentino and a whole host of other whites such as Lugana and Soave. And many top class sparkling wines too.

New Zealand

Sorry - we have stopped importing directly from New Zealand and we are aware this area is now a weakness for us but do take a look a our exceptional Sauvignons from South Africa. We have only a handful of NZ whites which we source through UK importers.

South Africa

We are hoping our disappointed New Zealand fans will try some of the world class whites from here instead, such as Grande Provence Sauvignon Blanc. In South Africa, if you avoid the big producers, you can find top quality Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It's not just Chenin Blanc anymore, They also make some good blends, and some very good dessert wines too. And again these wines are great value.

Spain

Spain used to have a reputation for making poor quality flabby whites, but since the introduction of much better technology and facilities it is now producing some excellent examples, particularly from Rueda and Ribeiro. The whites we have sourced are real handcrafted boutique wines which are not only superb wines but also exceptional value for money. They tend to be made from native Spanish grapes which many Brits have never heard of, but please give them a try as there is a wealth of great white wines coming from Spain these days.

USA

Again we concentrate on sulphite free whites from Fey winery.

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  1. The Fledge & Co Elgin Chardonnay O Velhapi

    This is the maiden release for this amazing new wine! A cool climate Chardonnay from a tiny vineyard in Elgin.

    Leon produced just 1,320 bottles so we are extremely fortunate to have got a sizeable chunk of it!

    Barrel fermented and barrel matured, made in a very Burgundian style for South Africa. This will rival fine Burgundy on quality and blow it away on rarity and price!

    Surprisingly light in colour for a barrel fermented Chardonnay. Leon is quite right, this will benefit from some bottle ageing. It is very enjoyable now - I decanted it  to give it some air - but it will keep improving if you can lay it down for a few months (or even years). 

    It is full flavoured with some body and good mouthfeel. Very fresh and clean yet complex with a long finish.

    All the Fledge wines are low sulphite, but we also wanted to mention that all the free SO2 readings were at bottling which will have reduced significantly since, so they will in fact be even lower than stated now.

    Free sulphur: 33mg/l

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £22.99
  2. The Fledge & Co Vagabond

    Tim Atkin 93 Points

    Platter 4 Stars

    Neal Martin 88 Points

    The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.

    Leon says: "A proper barrel fermented & matured Cape White blend, encompassing vines from across the length and breadth of the Cape's winelands.  The current 2016 vintage is a combination of Steen, Chardonnay, Viognier, Verdelho & Grenache blanc - it's very food friendly & akin to Rhone white with a lot more refinement thanks to our cool climate Chardonnay, low alcohol & use of old French oak casks." 

    Gold in colour with wonderful clarity. Swirl it around to see the legs on the glass. Lovely flavours with peach and some citrus. Quite full body with a creamy mouthfeel. This is lovely wine. delicate for a South African, made in an elegant and classy style.

    Be careful not to overchill this beauty!

    All the Fledge wines are low sulphite, but we also wanted to mention that all the free SO2 readings were at bottling which will have reduced significantly since, so they will in fact be even lower than stated now.

    Free sulphur: 34mg/l

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95
  3. The Fledge & Co Hoeksteen

    Tim Atkin 92 Points

    Neal Martin 91 Points

    Platter 4.5 Stars

    The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.

    Leon states "A single vineyard, dry land farmed bush vines, barrel fermented & matured Chenin from the Bottelary planted in 1983 & which they only crafted 200 cases of. The Hoeksteen is a wine which benefits greatly from further bottle maturation & is (unintentionally) very "Loire"-like."

    For me personally it was a little too French! I like my whites with a bit more power. This reminded me a lot of white Burgundy which many would say was a compliment. I would say if you like your Northern French whites this would be up your street but if you like a fuller heavier white then opt for the Fledge Vagabond instead.

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95
  4. The Fledge & Co Klipspringer

    Tim Atkin 92 Points

    Platter 4 Stars

    Winemag.co.za 93 Points

    The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.

    Part barrel fermented and matured on the lees to produce a complex wine with real ageing potential. Plale gold in colour with amazing clarity, some legs sticking to the glass. Lovely flavours, yet fairly delicate. Fine palate weight and a crisp cleansing natural acidity on the finish. This is very good wine, particularly suited to food such as grilled fish or chicken dishes. Be careful not to over chill it though. We chose not to use an ice bucket and let the wine relax a bit, and it just got better and better.

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Dry farmed: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95
  5. The Fledge & Co Fume Blanc

    Tim Atkin 93 Points

    Platter 4 Stars

    Neal Martin 91 Points

    James Suckling 90 Points

    Winemag.co.za 90 Points

    The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.

    This "Fume Blanc" is a blend of hand harvested Sauvignon grapes from two sites, one in Stellenbosch overlooking False Bay and the other up at Gansbaai north of Cape Town on the Atlantic coast. It was both barrel fermented and barrel matured, then bottled unfined and unfiltered.

    This is a complex wine, a big hit with their customers in South Africa and clearly well liked by Tim Atkin MW too. Big and round for a Sauvignon with bags of flavour, yet gentle natural acidity. This is a sophisticated wine suited to buttered seafood.

    All the Fledge wines are low sulphite, but we also wanted to mention that all the free SO2 readings were at bottling which will have reduced significantly since, so they will in fact be even lower than stated now.

    Free sulphur: 4mg/l

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    Vegan: Yes

    Sulphite level: Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95
  6. Jikken Bareru Sauvignon Blanc

    Platter 4 Stars

    The Fledge & Co is the fabulous winemaking venture from Margaux Nel (younger daughter of Carel Nel and winemaker at the family winery, Boplaas) and her husband Leon Coetzee. They handcraft tiny quantities of different wines from specific vineyard sites all over the Cape winelands. Often using exciting "experimental" techniques like extended skin contact, whole bunch pressing etc. They travel 20,000km to hand harvest the grapes from 35 different vineyards.

    This Jikken Barreru (Japanese for "experimental barrels") Sauvignon is from two different sites, one at Simonsberg, the best site for Sauvignon in Stellenbosch, blended with wine from Elgin, well known as the best cool climate zone in SA due to it's altitude and location right above False Bay.

    Very pale, almost clear in the glass. It has an intense nose with typical big Sauvignon aromas. Then big fruit on the palate finishing absolutely bone dry. This is very good wine for the money.

    Please note for anybody with a full blown sulphite allergy, we gave it a medium low sulphite rating as Jane had a very mild reaction and we prefer to err on the side of caution. If you have a sulphite allergy try Leon's other Sauvignon Blanc - "Fume Blanc" which has just 4mg/l free SO2.

    Free sulphur: 38mg/l

    Sustainable farming: Yes

    No wood used: Yes

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.50
  7. Jordan Mellifera Noble Late Harvest Riesling 375ml

    Platter 4.5 Stars

    Jordan Mellifera Noble Late Harvest Riesling is a superb rich dessert wine, yet still fresh and clean on the finish.

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £14.50
  8. Jordan Nine Yards Chardonnay Reserve

    This single vineyard Jordans 9 Yards Chardonnay is also barrel fermented.

    Platter 4.5 Stars

    The flagship, reserve Chardonnay from Gary and Kathy Jordan. On allocation only so usually sells out annually before the summer. We have probably 60 bottles or so left, so be quick.

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £26.95
  9. Jordan Chardonnay Barrel Fermented

    This Jordans is a fantastic barrel fermented Chardonnay, and is great value for money.

    A lovely Chardonnay from Gary and Kathy Jordan, made more in the style of a good Burgundy rather than typical big new world fruit. Lightly oaked.

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £14.99
  10. Jordan Unoaked Chardonnay

    Platter 3.5 Stars

    Jordan Unoaked Chardonnay is a fresh crisp wine with full round body.

    Sulphite level: Medium

    John's Rating:

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    £11.45
  11. Tokara Reserve Stellenbosch Chardonnay

    This Chardonnay from Tokara is from their superior Reserve range, 2014 vintage.

    93 Points Tim Atkin

    91 Points Stephen Tanzer

    Tokara is a large high profile winery on the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschoek, an ideal site for quality Chardonnay. Miles Mossop is their winemaker, and very talented and well respected he is too. Although Karl Lambour formerly of Grande Provence has recently moved there in a managerial role. No doubt he will have some influence in their future winemaking, particularly for their Chardonnays.

    Tokara make some larger volume wines by our standards but I was impressed by their Reserve range so we have chosen to list some.

    This Chardonnay impressed me. I found it hugely round with some citrus and pineapple flavours, and some almond on the finish.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £17.99
  12. Rainbow's End Wooded Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch

    Rainbow's End is one of my favourite wineries. This time Anton has aged some of his excellent Chenin Blanc in wood for a few months.

    Absolutely delicious! The wood has added some body and good mouthfeel. Ful of flavour yet still clean and fresh on the finish. This is excellent wine and very low sulphite too, so no ill effects or headaches etc.

    Highly recommended.

    Free sulphur: 22mg/l

    Sulphite level: Very Low

    John's Rating:

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    £11.99
  13. Cape Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay

    Please note this is the Reserve Chardonnay 2016 vintage from Cape Chamonix 

    Platter 4.5 Stars

    They don't offer this wine for public tasting, but being trade I was able to taste a large glass while we ate a platter of cold meats and cheeses in a balmy 30 degress. And I'm delighted I did. While the standard Chardonnay also received five stars, to me this wine is in a different league altogether

    Gold in colour, full mouthfeel with big concentrated fruit flavours. Very well integrated oak. It's classical in style with all the elements in harmony, not overpowering as some barrel matured Chardonnays can be. For me personally this knocks the socks off Jordans Nine Yards.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £23.99
  14. Cape Chamonix Chardonnay

    This Chardonnay from Cape Chamonix is excellent value.

    Platter 4.5 Stars

    Cape Chamonix is a quality winery on the eastern slopes of the Franschoek Valley. They do delicious platters and have a lovely tasting room with outside seating and very friendly staff. They make some good wines too.

    It's pale gold in colour. Rich and buttery with some citrus on the long finish. Good wine.

    Only 2 bottles left at present.

    Sulphite level: Medium Low

    John's Rating:

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    £15.95

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