Good Libations: Little white buys
A blind tasting of whites under €12 to find wines with a little excitement was made all the more challenging following successive tax increases on all alcohol products. Typically, wines we pay €12 for now reflect the quality of wines priced at €8 a couple of years ago.
With noticeable winery improvements in technology and hygiene, most wines are technically well-made and consistently reliable. The worst that can be said is that it is a Botox wine, cosmetically attractive, if lacking expression.
Not surprisingly, the three most popular grape varietals, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay, were the most represented in the blind tasting with the six highest scoring wines featured.
1) Sauvignon Blanc 2012, The Bend in the River, Central Valley, Chile 13pc
Classic and typical aromas of nettles and fresh asparagus. Grassy and pithy lemon and green apple flavours with a herbal finish. Enjoy with a green vegetable risotto.
€11 nationwide at Dunnes Stores, Next Door chain of off-licences, SuperValu and Centra
2) Pinot Grigio 2013, Castellore, IGT Provinca di Pavia, Italy 11.5pc
Pretty floral perfume of primroses and meadow flowers. The silky texture unfurls to reveal fresh apple and a hint of mint tea on the taste buds. Goes with stir fried pork.
€6.49 at Aldi nationwide
3) Barrel Selection Chardonnay 2012, Cimarosa, Central Valley, Chile 13pc
Scented with ripe peaches and cream with a little vanilla. Rich, rounded peach and pear fruity flavours enveloped in a creamy texture with the oak's vanilla spice. Matches smoked salmon.
€7.49 at Lidl nationwide
4) Italian Chardonnay 2012, The Exquisite Collection, North Italy 12.5pc
Fresh apple and green apple skin aromas. Light-bodied, cool climate Chardonnay's refreshing crisp apple flavours. Versatile, elegant and balanced. Loves most shellfish.
€7.49 at Aldi nationwide
5) Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Exquisite Collection, Bordeaux, France 12pc
Unusually subdued on the nose. Good depth of grassy and green fruits on the palate. Concludes with a long pithy finish. Serve with a garlicky stew of white beans and tomatoes.
€7.79 at Aldi nationwide
6) Pinot Grigio 2012, The Bend in the River, IGT Veneto, Italy 12pc
Citrus peel aromas. Concentrated fresh apple fruit persists to the finish. A light-bodied palate sharpener with wide appeal. Try with Thai green chicken curry.
€11.00 at Dunnes Stores, Next Door chain of off-licences, SuperValu and Centra