Japan, Savoie, Estremadura, La Clape & Winifred – white wines off the beaten track

Penultimate post with the cruddy camera…but some unusual wines to take your fancy.

Grace Koshu Kayagatake 2009, Japan (£15.49 Hallgarten Druitt)
Clean, crisp & fresh, has a citrus minerally bite and soft peachy fruit, gentle but hardly inspiring. C+

Grace Koshu Hishiyama Private Reserve 2009, (Japan £ 18.99 Hallgarten Druitt)
A richer and peachier version of the above, again with that pebbly mineral edge, more body and weight and a crisp finish, but ultimately OK rather than great. B(-)

Domaine de Lupin ‘Frangy’ Roussette de Savoie 2008, France (£11 Bowes Wines)
Not a blockbuster, but while it has quite similar peachy citrus character to the Koshus (plus a more exotic guava-like edge), it also has more backbone and precision – clean, tangy, long and tasty, fuller in body than I was expecting. B+

Château l’Hospitalet La Clape Blanc 2009, Languedoc, France (£10.50 Bibendum)
Very ripe, forward youngster, with plenty of plus pear, pineapple and peach (fresh & tinned) character backed up by smoky oak and a slightly briny mineral note. Good but feels created, not begotten (just to put you in Christmas-y mode). B+

Quinta do Pinto Viognier/Chardonnay 2007, Estremadura, Portugal (N/A in the UK)
Wasn’t expecting much from this but was very impressed by its Condrieu-like rich nutty oiliness, peach kernel flavours and flor-like mineral edge. S

Marquis de Pennautier Viognier Vin de Pays d’Oc 2009, France (£6.99 Majestic)
Bit of a change from the above, this is the less exotic side of Viognier, and while there’s a nice clean pear and citrus flavour, it could do with more matière. B-

De Grendel Winifred Semillon/Viognier/Chardonnay 2009, Durbanville, South Africa (£9.99 Oddbins)
It feels like there are 2 wines here – a creamy peachy one with smoky oak influence made from Viognier and Chardonnay, and a green, grassy, underripe one from the Semillon. For me, they sit rather awkwardly together, and even leaving the bottle open for a couple of days didn’t seem to sort this out. Interesting that the Semillon was 30% in the 2008 (Jamie Goode wrote it up enthusiastically here), but 44% here… B(-)

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