The Sommelier Pairs...White

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With these pairings, we have selected 2 wines that demonstrate food-pairing diversity as well as being intriguing in their own right. Wines selected to suit the season, highlighting their stand-out quality and ability to over-deliver. Whether they serve as an introduction to our list, or maybe a gift for a friend and fellow wine lover, they will not let you down...

- Malvazija, 2019, Vina Kozlovic, West Istria, Croatia -

Bordering Friuli, everything about the Croatian county of Istria has deep connections with its Italian neighbours. Winemakers Gianfranco and Antonella Kozlovic, are the latest in a family business, started 115 years ago, and currently, they cultivate 25 hectares of south/south-westerly oriented vineyards.

This wine is crisp, zesty and rich in mineral character. Aromatically complex, the nose reveals lemon, apple, apricot, peach and pineapple, all underpinned by a light spiciness. The palate is fresh, yet opulent, with the fruit dominating but also displaying a streak of (drying) minerality. There is a characteristic saltiness to the finish, complimented again, by light, food-friendly spice notes.

- Rioja Blanco, 2019, Bodega Montecillo, Fuenmayor, Spain -

There are certain wineries for whom we have a very soft spot and as with Susana Balbo in Argentina, Bodega Montecillo in Spain's La Rioja Alta region, ticks every box. Since her appointment 10 years ago, winemaker Mercedes Garcia Ruperez - along with the young and talented, Carmelo Espinosa Muga - has set about making major changes which have included the complete overhaul/replacement of the winery's 20,000 barrels. Production methods are meticulous and exacting and the wines coming out of Bodega Montecillo can once again compete with any of their more illustrious neighbours.

This is a full-bodied white wine showing pronounced aromas of ripe limes and grapefruit with hints of peach and (oak-influenced) creamy brioche. Said oak is beautifully judged and unobtrusive and the palate is full and round with prime weight and acidity so as to render the wine perfectly balanced. Relative to the cost, this wine is fantastic value and a striking example of the old and the new united.

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