After a brief pause, we now head back into the Frankly Wines Top 10s, this time to “Value Whites”. There are no hard and fast criteria for inclusion (apart from being a white wine, obviously), but the majority are among the less expensive wines to be found on the shelves in independent off-licences, off-licence chains and supermarkets in Ireland. Those which are a little higher priced than the others really earn it with extra deliciousness!
10. Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune 2016
12.5%, RRP €14.99. Distributed by Lidl Ireland. Also see related article here.
Low cost supermarket Lidl mainly has everyday low cost wines on its shelves, but supplements them every so often with additional – more premium – wines from countries such as Italy and France. If you shop at Lidl it’s definitely worth looking out for these wines which are a definite step up from their regular offering. This oaked Chardonnay is one of the best I’ve ever tried from Lidl, and will improve over the next five years or so if you manage to find (and keep!) any.
9. Vigneti del Vulture “Pipoli” Greco / Fiano 2017
Greco and Fiano are two ancient grape varieties that are thought to have Greek origins – with the former, it couldn’t be more obvious – that are now being made into fantastic modern, clean wines in southern Italy. What better than blending them, in this beauty from Basilicata? It shows lots of zip and tangy character that make it a pleasure for sipping with lighter dishes or quaffing on its own.
8. Horst Sauer Esherndorfer Silvaner Trocken 2016
11.5%, RRP €20.90. Distributed by Karwig Wines. Also see related article here.
This bottle is tricky to ship, tricky to show on a wine shop’s shelves and tricky to put into a blog post without taking up lots of room – but the wine is worth it. Whatever the origins of the bottle shape, it’s nice to see something distinctive which contains something distinctive – Silvaner from its home region of Franken in Germany. It’s fresh, mineral, tangy, and a delight in the glass.
7. Weingut Rabl Grüner Veltliner Käferberg 2015
13.5%, RRP €24.95. Distributed by O’Briens. Also see related article here.
Not only does this wine feature in John Wilson’s 2019 Wilson on Wine, it was also one of the favourites at the DNS Wine Club event where we blind tasted and bluffed our way through a selection of the wines from the book. If you’ve tried and liked regular Grüner Veltliner but you’ve never moved past it, try Rabl’s Käferberg to see how expressive it can be as a grape.
6. Stonier Mornington Peninsula Chardonnay 2016
13.5%, RRP €26.95. Distributed by O’Briens. Also see related article here.
From the very same event, one of the stand-out producers from Victoria’s under-the-radar Mornington Peninsula. I suppose you could call this “Victoria’s Secret” if you really wanted. Reductive winemaking – where oxygen levels are kept low – give this wine a struck-match tang which evokes Burgundy rather than Australia – it’s a ripper!
5. Agusti Torello Mata Xarel·lo “Xic” 2017
11.0%, RRP €18.00. Distributed by GrapeCircus. Also see related article here.
For years I had been misspelling Xarel·lo as Xarel-lo; that’s right, with the floating dot · replaced by the impostor hyphen -. Now that I’m on the right track I can tell you about this still white wine made with a grape most well known for Cava. It’s damned delicious and damned drinkable, so go buy it!
4. Plaimont “En La Tradition” Blanc 2016
13.0%, RRP €15.95 – €16.95. Distributed by Honest 2 Goodness. Also see related article here.
When size is a good thing: Producteurs Plaimont are a major presence in south west France, but I’d argue that they are a force for good, both in terms of making and marketing the region’s wines, but also helping to preserve its vinous heritage. More on that in a future post, but this is a wine available here and now that is really worth seeking out. It combines succulent stone fruit with some pizzazz from grapefruit and is absolutely stunning value for money.
3. Pequenos Rebentos Vinho Verde 2017
11.5%, RRP €15.50. Distributed by Vinostito. Also see related article here.
There are lots of different Vinho Verde wines available in Ireland, but of the more moderately priced this is the best I have tasted by a margin. It has fresh citrus fruit, a touch of sea salt and moderate alcohol, but somehow the fruit is so much juicier that in equivalent wines. However they do it, you have to try it for yourself.
2. Trisquel Series Origen Semillión 2017
12.5%, RRP €16.99. Distributed by SuperValu. Also see related article here.
This wine deserves its inclusion for two entirely different reasons. Firstly, it’s a very nice and interesting wine that is well worth the price. Secondly, it introduces a type of wine to Irish supermarkets that I don’t believe has been seen before – skin contact white wine. It’s a fairly subtle example, such that an average wine drinker wouldn’t be put off by the additional texture and touch of tannins, but it’s a bold move nevertheless. There’s a big gap between a lot of the wines sold in specialist independents and those sold in supermarkets here, so the bravery is to be commended.
1. Meinklang “Burgenlandweiß” 2017
11.0%, RRP €19. Distributed by GrapeCircus. Also see related article here.
Anyone who has seen my tweets on this wine over the last year or two won’t be surprised by its inclusion or indeed its ranking. This is a fantastic Austrian blend that does the most important thing: it’s more than the sum of its parts. Yes I love Grüner Veltliner, and a dash of Muscat definitely enlivens the aromatics; I haven’t tried enough Welschriesling to have an informed opinion but it all works so well together. And it’s got a price tag that means you don’t have to save it for a special occasion, even if it tastes special!
The Frankly Wines 2019 Top 10s: