Here are a couple of lovely French whites from the excellent 2015 vintage, both fairly moderate in alcohol at 12.5% but very different in style:
Saint Auriol Chatelone Corbières 2015 (12.5%, €12.99 at SuperValu / Centra)
Corbières is the biggest Appellation Contrôlée within the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region of France, the central part of southern France stretching from the Spanish border across the Mediterranean coast up to Provence. It’s obviously a sunny place so has long been the source of easy-drinking, fruity reds which are produced in abundance. It is very much a region on the up, with a new wave of quality-conscious producers making their own wines with low yields rather than selling grapes to the local co-operative.
This is a white Corbières, which makes up only around 2% of the AOC’s production, so it is something of a rarity. The wine is a blend of grapes popular in the Rhône, Provence and Languedoc – Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc & Bourboulenc. The vines face south-east so they get plenty of sun but not too much heat in the afternoon.
Each of the grapes adds something to the wine – there’s soft pear, apple and stone fruit, a touch of citrus and nutty notes – and a delightful texture. The back label suggests drinking between 10C and 12C – so make sure it’s not served straight from a domestic fridge which would be too cold.
The back label also has another surprising snippet: the producer reckons the wine will keep for 6 years or more if stored well – if you are the sort of person who likes to see how a wine evolves and gains in complexity over time then this would be a great bottle to try it with!
La Vigne Des Sablons Vouvray 2015 (12.5%, €14.99 at SuperValu / Centra)
Still in France but further north, Vouvray is made in the Touraine region around the city of Tours. Touraine region wines can be red, white, rosé or sparkling; reds are made from Gamay, Pinot Noir, Côt (Malbec) and Breton (Cabernet Franc), amongst others with Sauvignon Blanc and Pineau Blanc de la Loire (Chenin Blanc) the main white grapes.
Vouvray is east by north east of Tours and is predominantly Chenin country. The sweetness of the wines varies considerably from producer to producer, and particularly from vintage to vintage – warmer years mean more sugar in the grapes and usually more sugar in the finished wine.
This bottle by La Vigne des Sablons is off-dry or perhaps a touch sweeter, but doesn’t taste overtly sweet due to Chenin’s naturally high acidity. The main notes are fresh and baked apple, drizzled with a touch of honey. It’s dangerously drinkable! A great introduction to Vouvray from which you could explore others.
Disclosure: both wines kindly provided for review