My top wines from 2021, part 2: whites, orange and rosé

This is part 2 of my selections from some of the top bottles tasted and drunk last year. Again, a real mix here.

Domaine Labet Chardonnay du Hasard Vin de Voile 2014 Côtes du Jura, France
14.5% alcohol. From a plot called Le Clos, 65 year old vines. This spends four years in barrel and three years under flor. No added sulfites (total = 26 mg/l). Aromatic and tangy with apple, a hint of cheese, nuts and a yeasty flor-like character. In the mouth this has richness – even a bit of oiliness – but also salty mineral freshness and lovely candied citrus notes, finishing warm and spicy. Such a lovely intense, complex wine with many layers. Drinking perfectly now. 96/100

Bodegas Luis Pérez Añina 2016 Spain
15% alcohol. Comes in a 50 cl bottle. This is from the Viña El Caribe vineyard in the Añina Pago, and it’s made by Will Perez. The soil is the Tosca Cerrada albariza. 2016 was a warm vintage, and the result is a wine that defies traditional categories. It’s unfortified, after two days asoleo (drying of grapes on small mats) and then is fermented and aged in barrels for two years. So we have some tangy fino like notes, but also some rich oloroso-like flavours, with a touch of raisin. The nose emphasizes freshness, with nuts and spice, salty lemons, some seaweed and oyster shell, and also peach and quince. In the mouth there’s great concentration and finesse with a lovely salty trail weaving through rich honey, apricot and nut notes, with a lovely contrast between the fresh salty notes and the rich, exotically fruited characters. There’s some grapey richness and a hint of sweetness on the finish, which is more fruit than actual sugar. Quite a profound wine on many levels. 97/100 (UK agent Indigo Wine)

Tolpuddle Chardonnay 2020 Tasmania, Australia
13% alcohol. From the Coal River Valley. This has thrilling aromatics of matchstick/flint, with some powerful lime and grapefruit as well as some nuts, and a fine spiciness. The palate has great tension with high acidity and complex barrel characters, finishing long, lemony and mineral. World class, with such a linear quality. 97/100 (£64.99 Fortnum & Mason, Philglas & Swiggot, UK agent Liberty)

Robert Weil Kiedrich Turmberg Riesling Trocken 2011 Rheingau, Germany
Turmberg translates as tower hill, and this is the name of a 3.8 hectare monopole owned by Robert Weil. Soils are grey slate, and quite bony. 13% alcohol. 7.5 g/l residual sugar. Complex and intense with lovely mandarin, peach and apricot, with some toast and spice notes, as well as fine herbal characters in the background. Lovely depth here with wonderful complexity and depth, as well as great concentration. Such a fine, expressive dry Riesling, now drinking perfectly. Remarkable stuff. 95/100

Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups Les Hauts de Husseau 2019 Montlouis, Loire, France
13% alcohol. This is from very bony limestone soils. Honeyed yet precise on the nose with lemon and lime, plus some oyster shell minerality. The palate is vivid and layered with some pear richness, a touch of baked apple, but with the main focus on crystalline, slightly saline mineral lemony fruit. Lots of interest here with amazing length and precision. Still taut and primary, but with a lovely precision to the fruit. Such a transparent, delightful expression of Chenin with a great acid line. 95/100

Domaine Bott Condrieu 2018 Northern Rhône, France
13.5% alcohol. Graeme (a New Zealander) and Julie (from the region) began this domaine after they met and spent a decade working for Stéphane Ogier. They now have hectares of vines in Côte Rôtie, Condrieu and St Joseph. This Viognier is bold and concentrated with hints of hay and rich flavours of peach and pear, with a subtle hazelnut edge. There’s some citrus, a bit of acid and some pithiness on the finish bringing a sensation of freshness, but the key is the lovely mid-palate richness that Viognier brings, with ripe, quite plush yellow fruits, and also a slight salinity, as well as subtle hazelnut and peach stone characters. 94/100 (£33.50 Lay & Wheeler)

Bodegas Cota 45 Agostado Cortado 2016 Spain
15% alcohol. This is a blend of old varieties from the Marco de Jerez area. It’s 45% Perruno (from Trebujena, pago de Horadada), 45% Uva Rey (from Arcos de la Frontera and Chiclana pago) and 10% Palomino (from the El Carrascal pago) planted on different types of Albariza soils at different altitudes. After harvesting grapes were put on mats for a short asoleo to increase the potential alcohol by 1%. Whole cluster pressing into old 500 litre botas for spontaneous fermentation without temperature control. It spent 26 months in barrel, part of this under flor and part ageing oxidatively. Rounded and saline with brilliant acidity, but also some richness. Intensely mineral with many dimensions. Saline, stony, mineral. 96/100

Red Newt Cellars The Knoll Riesling Lahoma Vineyard 2016 Finger Lakes, New York State
13% alcohol. TA 7.5 g/litre, pH 3.1, RS 5 g/l. This has some lovely texture with bold, refined citrus fruit and some spicy detail. Really concentrated and refined with great precision, showing high lemony acidity really well integrated into the layered citrus fruit on the palate. Superb stuff. 94/100

Domaine Cauhapé La Canopée Jurançon Sec 2015 France
15% alcohol. This is quite beautiful: it’s 100% Petit Manseng, harvested half way through November. Full yellow/gold in colour, it has rich aromas and flavours of honey, spice, peach, apricot, dried citrus fruit, some fig and also some subtle toastiness. There’s a hint of marmalade, too, as well as some lime cordial. A pure lemony-acid finish holds all the rich flavours in relief, and there’s a some warmth and saltiness on the finish that sticks around beautifully, intermingling with the acidity. This is an amazing wine. 95/100 (£25 The Wine Society)

Château Couhins-Lurton Blanc 2006 Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux (screwcap)
Really lovely aromatics. Grapefruit and lemons with a touch of elderflower and some boxwood. The palate is powerful and intense with keen acidity, some lime blossom, a touch of pith and good acidity. Very fine and expressive, with a taut personality. 95/100

Les Vignes de Paradis Savagnin 2019 IGP Vin des Allobroges, Savoie, France
13% alcohol. This has a beautiful nose: really expressive with white pepper, crystalline citrus notes, a whiff of the seaside and some dried herbs. The palate is fresh with some grip, and lovely delicate, refined, almost ethereal flavours of saline citrus fruit (grapefruit and lemon), a touch of tinned pear, and a strong fine-grained mineral streak. Such a refined, fresh, detailed wine that takes you straight to alpine meadows in May. Beautiful stuff. 95/100

Blackwater Pleasure Garden Palomino 2017 Robertson, South Africa
11.5% alcohol. From a block planted in 1927, Francois Haasbroek makes 1500 litres of this profound wine, which is named after Hitchcock’s first movie, released in 1927. It is pressed to concrete egg and then doesn’t move, and is bottled straight from the egg. Detailed, spicy nose with tangerine, lemons and herbs. The palate is fruity and expressive with some apple and lemon, and lots of spiciness. It’s almost peppery. It has a gentle personality and seems easy and fruity, but then there’s toast, honey and spice on the finish giving a bit of complexity. Finishes with grapefruit. Such a distinctive wine with some grapefruit and a lovely salinity on the finish. Such an ethereal, detailed wine. 95/100 (£24 Vincognito)

Bodegas Luis Pérez La Escribana Vino de Pasto Macharnudo 2019 Spain
14% alcohol. Picked in two stages, and then it’s aged under flor (Vino de Pasto refers to a wine that’s unfortified). A powerful, aromatic nose of spicy citrus, some peach and ripe pear, and nuts and honey, as well as some floral hints. The palate is concentrated, spicy and intense with a lovely balance between the sweet citrus fruit, the spicy underpinnings, and nice acidity. There’s also a saline, mineral twist that’s quite profound. A substantial, intense, bold white wine with so many layers of flavour. It finishes really taut, spicy and with an expanding acid finish. 96/100 (£23.50 The Sourcing Table)

Alex Craighead Wines Don Barn Block Chardonnay 2018 Nelson, New Zealand
11.5% alcohol. Whole bunch pressed and aged in amphora. This is taut, lemony and mineral with lovely stony notes. It’s very pure and intense with astonishing precision and delicacy, showing keen acidity and a slight saltiness on the finish. Very fine. This is one of the best New Zealand Chardonnays I’ve tried. 95/100

Tantalus Old Vines Riesling 2018 Okanagan Valley, Canada
12.6% alcohol. From a single block of Clone 21B Riesling planted in 1978. Intense, nervy, lemony nose with some chalky hints. The palate is concentrated and alive, with high acidity underpinning the lime fruit, and a wall of mineral intensity with a dry, crystalline finish. Such focus and complexity. 95/100

Neudorf Home Block Moutere Chardonnay 2020 Nelson, New Zealand
13.5% alcohol. Moutere clay gravel soils, wild ferment in barrel (10% new). This is very fine on the nose with some mealy, nutty, spicy notes as well as pear, apple and citrus. The palate is concentrated and dense with some richness to the pear and citrus fruit, with a bready, nutty character from the barrel fermentation and some lovely pear and peach notes. Nice intensity here, finishing spicy and intense. Serious stuff with great potential, but you can broach it now. 95/100

Lopez de Heredia Viña Tondonia Rosé 2008 Rioja, Spain
12.5% alcohol. Orange/bronze in colour, this is quite something. Complex, savoury nose of orange peel, lime and a slight burnt sugar note, as well as honey, earth and seaside. The palate is saline and tangy with a slight sour lime edge to the dry palate, with mandarin and a hint of furniture polish (it has Tawny Port notes). Intensely savoury with vivid acidity. This finishes with lime cordial and sour cherry, as well as a slight hint of dairy (sour dairy). So much flavour here: it’s not an easy, accessible wine, but it’s really compelling. 95/100

Domaine La Soufrandière Saint-Veran Ovoide 2018 Bourgogne, France
12.5% alcohol. Made in an egg. Amazing nose of spice, citrus, minerals and smoke. The palate is taut and intense with astonishing energy, a saline streak, and mouthwatering acidity, which is so well integrated. There’s a salty finish. Unusual but brilliant. 95/100

Libiamo Gewürztraminer 2020 Gisborne, New Zealand
12.5% alcohol. This is really beautiful. It spent 119 days on skins and is unfined and unfiltered. Lovely enticing aromatics of lychee, rose petal, pear and some white pepper spice. The palate is fresh and textured with crystalline citrus fruits, some more lychee and pear, and a really fine smooth mouthfeel kept fresh by some spicy framing and just a bit of tannic structure. It’s a bright wine, and part of the brightness comes from the phenolics. But there’s also an amazing energy to this wine, which carries all the innate richness. It’s hard to describe, but it’s full of life. Vital and engaging, and really satisfying. 94/100

Viña Corrales by Peter Sisseck Fino Pago Balbaina (2021 Bottling) Jerez, Spain
15% alcohol. In 2017 Peter Sisseck purchased Bodega San Francisco Javier, in a venture with the Del Rio family of Hacienda Monasterio. This fino is made from the Balbaina pago with its tosca de barajuela albariza soils. The blend is an average age of 9 years old. Lovely aromatics here: very fine, salty and minera with real finesse. The palate is tangy, pure and bright with fine apple and lemon notes. Refreshing and saline. 95/100 (£32.95 Corney & Barrow)

Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay 2019 Okanagan, Canada
Toasty, spicy and intense with some matchstick minerality on the nose. Really aromatic. The palate is intense, vivid and shows nice fine spiciness as well as ripe pear and citrus fruit. Lovely finish. Very fine. 95/100

Cedar Creek Platinum Naramata Ranch Pinot Noir 2020 Okanagan, Canada
60% whole bunch. Wild ferment in concrete then 10 months in oak. Vivid with lovely reduction on the nose: spicy and vivid. Taut, with lovely precision and a really nice whole bunch character. Expressive and fine with red cherries and herbs. Give this time: it’s very special. 95/100

Klein Constantia Perdeblokke Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Constantia, South Africa
13.8% alcohol. This was first made in 2005, and represented Klein Constantia’s first foray into making single-block wines. Fermentation begins in steel and finishes in barrel. Fresh, detailed nose of complex citrus fruits, with a touch of grapefruit standing out. The palate is fine and expressive with lovely balance – it’s quite exquisite, with crystalline lemon notes, a slightly chalky, dusty structure, and astonishing purity. It’s hard to fault this Sauvignon: there’s such finesse and detail, and it’s delicate as well as full flavoured. 94/100

XXVI Talhas Mestre Daniel Talha X 2019 Alentejo, Portugal
11.5% alcohol. This is a single talha from a vineyard parcel with a blend of local white varieties. It’s a full gold in colour, this has amazing aromatics of mint, peach, pear, some slight medicinal hints (but in a nice way) and fresh clay. The palate is fresh and bright with green tea, chamomile, pear, lemon peel and earth, with a stony edge and nice bitter hints on the finish. Lovely focus and complexity here: this has so much going on, and a bit of structure as well as good acidity on the finish. It’s what white wine from the region (Vidigueira in the south of the Alentejo) would have tasted like in the past, and it’s really good. 94/100

Jules Desjourneys Pouilly-Loché 2017 Bourgogne, France
12.5% alcohol. Complex nose of toast, nuts and minerals, with a lovely stony, matchstick mineral streak to the fine citrus fruit. The palate is fresh and linear with a touch of grapefruit under the lemony fruit, with good concentration, intensity and brightness on the finish. There’s a lovely mineral nervosity here: it’s Mâcon taken to its terroir-expressive height offering the sort of precision not often found here. 94/100

De Moor Chablis Coteau de Rosette 2018 Bourgogne, France
13.5% alcohol. This is beautifully aromatic with some sweet pear and apple notes as well as some flinty mineral character, and notes of honey and spice. The palate is concentrated with a great contrast between the plump baked apple and yellow plum fruit and then the steely lemony acidity, although it’s never harsh – more electric than anything. There’s a really nice texture here with beautiful balance between the ripe fruit and the laser-sharp acidity, giving a sort of sweet and sour effect that works really well. 95/100 (£45 The Sourcing Table – I declare an interest as contributing editor).

Domaine Durueil-Janthial Rully 1er Cru Margotés 2018 Bourgogne, France
14% alcohol. What a wine from Vincent Dureuil-Janthial. This has a sensational brightness and freshness, with stony minerality and keen lemony acidity sitting under the ripe citrus fruit. There’s a lovely vitality and presence, with a fine-grained structure and a touch of struck flint, with the warmth of 2018 kept in beautiful restraint. Thrilling stuff with concentration, presence and energy, and a long finish. 96/100

Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris 2018 Sonoma County, California
12% alcohol. Is this what Pinot Gris does best? It’s a remarkable skin-contact Pinot Gris that’s a beautiful onion skin/coral colour. It has a unique colour! There’s a lovely rose petal edge to the nose which also shows some earl grey tea and a touch of red cherry. The palate is fresh with watermelon, spice, orange peel and a touch of mandarin, as well as some sweet cherry. Complex and layered with real purity and beauty to it. It’s still very fresh at almost three years old, with a real delicacy and a bit of structure, too. Distinctive and really beautiful. 94/100 (£28.90 Roberson)

Iona Kloof Monopole Chardonnay 2018 Elgin, South Africa
13% alcohol. This comes from rocky quartzite soils, with clones 95, 96 and 277.  100% wild fermented in a selection of 300L French oak barrels (38% new, the rest in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels). The wine remained on the lees for a total of 12 months, without battonage and with 7% malolactic fermentation. It’s highly aromatic with notes of toast, spice, grapefruit and peach. The palate has nutty, spicy, peachy richness with some cashew and hazelnut, as well as bold lemon and green apple fruit. There’s keen acidity and some restraint here, with a lovely intensity and a tapering mineral finish. Lots of potential for development: a really serious Elgin Chardonnay. 95/100

See part 1, top reds of 2021