Smoke without fire

Does anybody have any good recommendations for white wines with smoky or flinty notes? It’s a flavour I’ve enjoyed in whites, but it’s not always easy to find!

Recommendations of specific wines would be perfect - I know that both Somloi Juhfark and Pouilly Fumé can have these flavours, but as a recent bottle of Riaux proved, it’s not always the case.

The Dog Point chardonnays from NZ are REALLY flinty. I am not a fan at all - I can’t drink this chardonnay! You will love it of your a fan of this!
So is the section 94 SB from the same producer.

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For a long time there was a view that Chablis had gun flint flavours…it sounded to me as though you had to drink it in single shots…


Etna Bianco. Much prefer Benanti over Pietradolce. You get both smoke and flint


White wines made from fruit grown on volcanic soils immediately spring to mind here. So, well made wines, usually £20 plus, from areas such as Etna, Santorini, Tenerife and the Kaiserstuhl in Baden from the likes of Pietradolce, Hatzidakis, Envinate and Bercher have all exhibited those characteristics to my mind in the past. Of course, those are my subjective opinions and others might disagree entirely.

Edit - which to my objective, somewhat cynical, mind are more likely due to the winemakers intent than anything soil specific.

New World Chardonnay made in a reductive style, usually closed with a Stelvin and when broached at the beginning of their drinking window, can often exhibit those characteristics too. Again subjectively, Kooyong and Kumeu River’s single vineyard wines being good examples. Unfortunately, all of which will cost £30 plus these days. :frowning:


Flinty and smoky are totally different things and I doubt you will ever get them both in the same wine. Except maybe Fume Blanc?

Flinty… get a lump of flint and crack it against another to get the smell: there is minerality and a whiff of sulfur. So some Chablis, Loire Sauv Blanc, some Sherry, folk say you get this in Riesling but I’m not so sure.

Smoky… is more to do with reds? to my mind Croze Hermitage especially, some aged malbecs (Argentine).

HOWEVER what do I know? I’m sure there are always other wines I have not considered.


Which reminds me: TWS once listed a great white wine from the Azores which was stunning, and if anyone from members services reads this… please buy again !


To echo existing thoughts, some Etna & Santorini whites tend to be quite smokey to my tastes, especially when younger. The Hatzidakis Familia for instance, and the Planeta Eruzione 1614 Carricante. Most Etna Carricantes really in my experience to date. It tends to be less a whispy Autumnal mellow smoke though and more a mid-summer forest fire smoke!

I know it’s whites you’re asking about, but for sheer eye-watering smoke in a wine, the Pietro Caciorgna Etna Rosso N’Anticchia sometimes has me reaching for a fire extinguisher. It’s mind-bendingly astonishing stuff, so volcanic & sulphur-smokey it’s a surprise it pours as red and not yellow.


As suggested by Embee, reductive chardonnays would be my suggestion for smokiness. A note often given is ‘the smell of struck matches’ for these wines and I agree.

I would consider NZ examples if you like them to be fresher, e.g. exhibition NZ / Tasmanian Chardonnay or a big fat Californian one if you like oaked whites. Bogle vineyards I’ve not tried, but seems likely to fit the latter description.

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Leflaive Chevalier Montrachet 2004 and Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 2014 :grinning:

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Listán blanco from Envinate in the form of Benji or the Taganan blanco both have those flinty undertones .


On gosh Leah, I have had their wines…you are dead right about their character

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I think Gruner Veltliner can be quite smoky, especially on the nose. My note of the Brundlmayer Alte Reben GV the WS offers says ‘smoky’, as well as ‘exotic/tropical nose’ and ‘bordering on austere’, for what it’s worth!


I often find a rather beguiling smokiness in quite a few examples of Alsatian Pinot Gris - more home hearth than flint/gunpowder, mind you.
In any case, I suspect the OP is after something leaner :grinning:

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