2019 Benedict White, Dveri Pax, Slovenia
The Wine Society sent over a case of tasting samples the other day entitled “Alpine Wines”. I was delighted to reacquaint myself with an old favourite of mine, 2020 Chignin Vers les Alpes Jean-François Quénard (£10.95), in this box of goodies. I first tasted the wines from Quénard some 30 years ago and I have never forgotten the shiver down my spine brought on by the racy, rapier-sharp Jacquère grape variety. The new 2020 vintage arrives in the country and it is as bright and steely as any wine I have tasted from this famous Juran estate. As the weather warms up and we search for electrifying dry whites to challenge our senses, this wine seems like the perfect antidote to oceans of samey sauvignon blanc.
I was expecting the Chignin to perform at the highest level too, but I was flabbergasted by my featured white wine. With identical vital statistics to the rapier-sharp Jacquère, this exquisite Slovenian white is made from an inspired blend of pinot grigio, furmint and riesling. The Benedictine monks from Admont Abbey, across the border from Graz in Austria, have been producing wine in today’s Slovenia since 1139. Winemaker Danilo Flakus has taken the reins of the elite Austrian estate FX Pichler and this wine continues its tradition of making excellent wines. I urge you to taste these two stunning “Alpine” whites.