£24, The Great Wine Co.
Calling all Condrieu fans – this unusual, aromatic Lebanese white wine might well appeal to you. Viognier is the least of its components by a small margin, at 30%, alongside Muscat and the indigenous Obeidy (35% each), but it's the Viognier that puts its stamp on the nose most clearly in aromas of honeysuckle, white peach, cream, citrus and a pinch of ginger.
The palate is an attractive combination of good structure, generous, rounded texture, peachy fruit and a freshening squeeze of grapefruit-peel acidity and bitterness.
Ixsir's winemaker and co-founder, Gabriel Rivero, says that the structure and complexity come from the Obeidy. The freshness comes, very obviously, from the altitude of the vineyards which, at 1,800m, are said to be the highest in the northern hemisphere.
The grapes for Altitudes white come from four different mountain regions, some closer to the sea and others inland, and from multiple parcels – about 10 for each variety – all harvested and fermented separately in stainless steel for up to 35 days in a winery that the co-founders say uses 75% less energy than any other in the world.
It's a wine full of interest that you can drink as an aperitif, but it also comes into its own with creamy curries (especially seafood, vegetable or chicken), pork goulash and other spiced dishes, including with saffron. It might even bridge a Christmas spread of vegetarian dishes, salmon and turkey – but if in doubt, save it for something else, because this is too good to be sabotaged by the likes of sweet, tart cranberry sauce. 13%. Empty bottle weight: 575g.
Ixsir Altitudes White 2022, Lebanon
£24 (£21.60, when you buy 12), The Great Wine Co