Favourite Light Whites—

With the last few summery rays lifting our spirits, light white wines are divinely elegant with deft levels of alcohol allowing for longer sessions of splendour. While there are some wines with alcohol manipulated downward, these tend to lack balance and can either be so brutally bitter or sickly sweet that I reckon you’re better off just making a Spritzer. Thankfully there are hoards of decent options coming in below 12% alcohol that deliver gorgeous character without monstrous manufacturing.

Germany may not be top of your list but it’s high time we embraced the glory of Riesling grown for its lower booze, fruity exuberance and sherbet zing. If you’re a fan of fruity flavours such as peaches and mangoes, my wine of the week will make your heart sing and your mind light up like a glitterball of dreams. I could enthuse about how brilliantly light German Rieslings can be, or how splendidly they pair with spicy food but honestly I just rate them because they are so darn scrumptious. Racy with surging ripe flavours, for just over a tenner, my wine of the week is a slam dunk steal and with just 11% alcohol, it’s sublimely easy going. Another corner of Europe with light spritzy whites is northern Portugal. Good old Vinho Verde made from grapes such as Loureiro and Arinto is long overdue a place in your shopping basket. If you’ve enjoyed Spanish Albariño, think of Portuguese Vinho Verde as a notch up in sharpness and lightness, a crystal maze of a wine to get delightfully distracted by. Coastal France can also be a good bet but in the southwest they have the glory of Gaillac to revel in. Ancient as far as wine production goes, the whites are youthful and invigorating blended from little known local grapes such as scented Len de L’El, mellow Mauzac and aromatic Muscadelle. And best of all? These Gaillac white wines are criminally cheap for the quality they offer. And of course, there’s English wine with the brilliant Bacchus grape set to dazzle – I regularly buy Camel Valley Bacchus 2019 (12%) which £14.95 from camelvalley.com which is liquid sunbeams.



Ponte de Lima Loureiro 2019 (11.5%) £7.50 The Wine Society. Light, bright and spritzy, this piercing Portuguese wine is spot on with oily fish like mackerel or for a zesty aperitif.

Gaillac Perle ‘Evocation’ 2019 (12%) £8.99 Majestic. Fresh easy and breezy, light whites like this don’t come much finer and at such a friendly price.

Famoso Rubicone 2019 (12%) £8 Marks and Spencer. A tangerine dream of a wine! Fragrant, light, exotic and vivid with all the flavour as well as finesse.

The Doctor’s Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (9.5%) £8.99 Waitrose. Clever stuff from New Zealand, naturally lower in alcohol without losing out on full flavour- this is a proper zinger.


Fritz Willi Riesling 2018 (11%) £10.95 ndjohn.co.uk. A peach dipped in sherbet, this is so fruity and fabulous it’s a bottled holiday disco of a wine.

This article was originally published in YOU Magazine, Mail on Sunday, 13th Sept 2020

For Olly’s previous recommendations and Mail on Sunday EVENT columns, visit here.