Five brilliant spring white wines on offer this week

The beginning of May marks a good time to stock up on white wines for the weeks ahead. More summery food is going on the table now, so away with heavier, oaky whites – we need light, dry, aromatic ones to suit salads and spring vegetable dishes, fish and seafood. 

Outdoor parties and picnics are happening again (hurrah!), or certainly being planned for next month’s long bank holiday weekend, when we raise a glass to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

In search of the best May-time whites, I’ve scoured the best offers and come up with five which strongly appeal. Yes, the majority below are sauvignon blancs, but I have rather ignored the grape in this column since it started in February, and late spring really suits sauv blanc’s aromatic, bright and zesty qualities. 

The South African example is incredibly good value, especially at the moment, a great crowd-pleaser for May/June gatherings (buy it while the offer lasts). I’ve also listed two very fine Chilean sauvignons, with distinctly different characters, which are on tempting deals this month.

If you don’t like sauv blanc, and not everyone does, then two other suggestions – a white Rioja that hasn’t seen the inside of an oak barrel (much Rioja blanco does) and a really refreshing, zippy and dainty dry vinho verde. If you haven’t sipped vinho verde since the days when it was usually sweetish and came in a stumpy bottle, then do give it retry this month.




Coop Fairtrade Irresistible sauvignon blanc 2021, South Africa (12%, Co-op, £6.50, down to £5.50 until 17 May)

Keenly priced even without the offer, this is a crisp, tangy, citrus-soused sauv blanc that makes a refreshing, mouth-watering white for spring and summer parties. It’s part of the Coop’s Fairtrade wine initiative, which raises money for community projects in the Cape winelands, such as creches and after school clubs.

El Domador del Fuego Blanco 2020, Rioja, Spain (12.5%, Sainsbury’s, £7, down to £6 until 17 May)

An unoaked white Rioja made mainly with the viura grape. It’s aromatic, with a scent of fresh pears and has a juicy flavour of more pears, light peach and lemon. Dry and well-balanced, it would suit those who find sauvignon blanc a bit too tart. Good with light chicken dishes.

The Best vinho verde 2020, Portugal (12%, Morrisons, £8.75, down to £7 until 24 May)

A thoroughly modern vinho verde from the cooler, green far north of the country, made with the loureiro and alvarinho grapes. Pretty dry with a slight spritz, there’s plenty of zesty lemon and lime here. A lively aperitif – it’s a perfect picnic wine too.

Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc 2021, Aconcagua Costa, Chile (13%, Waitrose, £11.99, down to £8.99 until 17 May)

The fruit for this came from a single vineyard just 12 km from the Pacific ocean, so it benefits from cool breezes for super-fresh sauv blanc. There’s gooseberry and lime here and some herbal hints. It’s a sophisticated version, all in all, and worthy of a fine white fish dish.

Leyda single vineyard Garuma sauvignon blanc 2021, Leyda Valley, Chile (13%, Tesco, £12, down to £10 for Clubcard holders until 23 May)

Another single vineyard Chilean sauvignon from close to the Pacific, this has a distinctive greenness to it, so fresh grass, currant leaves and bell pepper as well as lemon and lime. Really good with asparagus, broad beans and fennel, and spring vegetable risottos in general.