Six wines for summer

Summer reaches Oxford

Summer is for sparkling and fresh and fruity whites (amongst other things!).  Here are six wines we had at a recent “summer wines” blind tasting.

  1. Prosecco Valdobbiadene Extra Dry N.V. (Vettori). Sparkling wine, Veneto, Northern Italy. Very pale lemon in the glass. Fairly aromatic with lemon, pear, and almost Chablis-like lactic and floral notes. There is a distinct shrubbery, or even cucumber note to the aroma profile. These are fermentation aromas due to fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Quite lemony on the palate with very high acidity and a light body. This sparkler has a fine mousse, although not especially energetic. This wine is classed ‘Extra Dry’ meaning more sugar than ‘Brut’, although with the high acidity you won’t really notice it. The finish is long, steely and reminiscent of a Gavi di Gavi. Prosecco is my choice for a sparkling wine on a budget; a clean, fresh style that offers a lot of bang for your buck.
  2. Albariño ‘Vionta’ 2009 (Heredad). Rias Baixas, Spain. Medium straw colour, with a green tinge. The aromas of this wine are more canned vegetal than fruit-driven, though there is something reminiscent of overripe peach. Full bodied with a slight oily quality to the texture. Moderate alcohol and acidity, dry with a medium length finish. There is something ‘nondescript’ about this wine, a vegetal/waxy/herbaceous flavour that is hard to describe, although not necessarily unpleasant. The warm, rather than hot, climate of the Rias Baixas leads to a somewhat muted fruit profile. Nevertheless, this is an excellent example of Albariño.
  3. Grüner Veltliner ‘Achleiten’ Smaragd 2001 (Prager). Wachau, Austria. It was quite a treat to have a Grüner with ten years’ age on it – most examples are drunk much sooner. A deep beeswax yellow in colour. Very aromatic with notes of honey, lime, celery, white pepper and a truffly butterscotch character. Spritz was notable on the palate, peaches the dominant flavour. Medium bodied but smooth and tight, crisp acidity, notable alcohol (it’s 13% on the bottle); fairly long finish and very enjoyable.
  4. Haardter Bürgergarten Spätlese 1998 (Müller-Catoir). Riesling, Pfalz, Germany. A deep and intense green-gold colour. The characteristic ‘petrol’ notes of aged riesling show on the nose, along with apples, limes and a slatey minerality. Spritz notable on the palate, crisp acidity, low end of ‘medium’ alcohol (10%) and a moderate body with a characteristic ‘oiliness’. The flavours are honey and apricots and the style is off-dry. Delicious with a lovely long finish.
  5.  Riesling 2009 (Zind-Humbrecht). Alsace, France. A fairly deep lemon, with a green tinge, in terms of appearance. Overall, this wine felt a bit closed down. The nose, bizarrely, smelt to me of cracked pepper pâté with a hint of citrus peel. There was a lot of smokiness and diesel and characteristic minerality, but not a lot of the fruit I wouold expect. The palate was more typical of a young Alsatian riesling – spritzy, dry, crisp acidity; tight, refined and austere body. There was quite a ‘meaty’ quality to this wine, which was rather unexpected, but perhaps it needs a bit of time to open up.
  6. Gobelsburger Riesling ‘Tradition’ 2003 (Schloss Gobelsburg), Wachau, Austria. A deep golden colour. A quite incredible, complex nose with butterscotch, lemon peel, wax, honeyed limed, ripe peach and fennel. This complexity is perhaps in part due to this wine being fermented in old oak barrels. Crisp acidity on the palate, medium alcohol, slightly off-dry. This wine has a fairly rich body, broad and opulent with a ripeness to the palate – flavours of lemon, peach and the riesling ‘petrol’ come through. Wine of the night if just for that incredible nose!

About James

Dr James Flewellen is a biophysicist, award-winning wine writer and educator based in London. Keep up to date with his writings and tastings at
This entry was posted in Alsace, Austria, Blind Tasting, Italy, Oxford Wine Events, Spain, Wines by Region and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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