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.
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.
As we can't find any whites low in enough in sulphites we don't currently offer any white wines from here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Again we concentrate on sulphite free whites from Fey winery.
- Sanct Valentin Chardonnay St Michael Eppan DOC Alto Adige
Due Bicchieri - Gambero Rosso '17
Another beautiful wine from St Michael Eppan from their premium Sanct Valentin range. Normally I find Northern Italian chardonnays a little thin although I love the purity and clean feel. This one however is full bodied from being both barrel fermented (50% new, 50% used) and then further barrel aged for 11 months before bottling.
Pale gold in colour. Full of flavour with fruit and vanilla, rich and round with good mouthfeel. Beautifully balanced with integrated acidity and a long luscious finish. Superb.
Please note presentation has changed to a wider, squatter bottle.
Sulphite level: Medium Low
- Sanct Valentin Sauvignon St Michael Eppan DOC Alto Adige
Awarded Gambero Rosso's highest rating of Tre Bicchieri for an incredible 17 years in succession! Gambero Rosso also voted Hans Terzer as one of the Top 10 Winemakers in the world.
This is the flagship wine from this prestigious estate, regarded as the best Sauvignon Blanc in all Italy.
Please note presentation for this 2016 has changed to a wider, squatter bottle.
Sulphite level: Medium Low
- Le Quai à Raisins Touriste
A new white from Robin & Imogen.
This is Chardonnay from Beaujolais, farmed organically and biodynamically. Grapes are handpicked of course and fermented with their own indiginous yeast then aged in oak barrels for 12 months.
WARNING - this is a "natural" wine so is quite different to mainstream Chardonnay. If you are after a mainstream style please do not buy this!
it is a gourmet wine in a similar style to Philippe Viret's Coudee D'Or, to pair with ripe cheese and charcuterie.
Pale gold, good legs. Initial flavour of grapefruit moves to a creamy butter. Hold it in your mouth and the flavour is intense with a long finish. Full and round yet soft with gentle acidity. Most people won't be able to appreciate this wine. So we recommend you only buy it if you are a fan of natural wines and aware it is something different to the norm!
Please note this wine does say "contains sulphites" on the label as it is just over the 10ppm total sulphites limit. They don't use sulphites at any stage either grape growing or winemaking, these are simply naturally occuring sulphites and the wine is fine even for people with a sulphite allergy.
We only have 35 bottles in total.
Grapes Own Yeast: Yes
Sustainable farming: Yes
No wood used: No
Sulphite level: Very Low
- Gavi dei Gavi La Scolca Gigi Black Label DOCG
5 Grappoli - Duemilavini
La Scolca Black Label Gavi (also known as "Gigi") is regarded as the ultimate Gavi - excepting La Scolca's exclusive extremely limited D'Antan which is Black Label Gavi aged in tanks on the lees for a straight ten years! That is extremely limited and expensive of course but this black label is more affordable and easier to get stock of.
La Scolca Black Label Gavi is highly sought after. Although pale in colour, this is deceptive as it's a big, rich wine packed with flavour and a real weight on the palate. It has a very very long finish.
Sulphite level: Medium Low