Thursday, September 29, 2011

Advanced Topics in White Wine

It's that time of year. If you have kids they're back in school with their pencils sharpened and their notebooks already full of doodles. You might be feeling a bit nostalgic about your own schooldays-gone-by, when you were taking courses and learning new subjects.

The best thing about loving wine (ok, one of the best things...) is that there is always more to learn. This fall, why not try some interesting whites that are beyond your normal Chardonnay-Sauvignon Blanc-Riesling comfort zone? You just may find a new favorite.

2009 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Rhône Blanc Belleruche (suggested retail $12.99; available in market for $8-$15) Red wine fans may be familiar with the rich, affordable red blends from the Southern Rhône, but have you ever tasted their whites? This blend contains Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc. It is more "old world" in style, with a fresh, neutral taste dominated by mineral and lemon peel notes. It tastes robust, and stands up well to richer fish (tuna, halibut), vegetable dishes, and chicken pot pie. If you like Sauvignon Blanc, I think you'll enjoy this wine. Very good QPR.

2010 Viña Robles White4 (suggested retail $16; available in market for $13-$16) ) This white blend is from Paso Robles, and gets its name from the four white grape varieties that go into every bottle: Viognier, Verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc, and Vermentino. This year's bottling is a very good QPR, versatile white wine with honeysuckle and citrus aromas and flavors. If you like dry Rieslings but are looking for a wine with more body, give this a try.

2010 Freie Weingärtner Wachau / Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen (suggested retail $15; available in market for $11-$17) The grapes are grown in Austria's Wachau region, and the wine that results is crisp with pear, stony mineral, and citrus elements. The wine tastes full and delicious, while retaining its bright and lively profile. Excellent QPR. I love Gruner Veltliner with fish, roasted chicken, anything made with lentils, and even Indian food.

2009 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms (purchased in my local grocery store for $19.99; available in market for around $17) Made from grapes grown in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, this lovely Chenin Blanc is a lovely, dry example. There are apple and honeycomb aromas and flavors, which bring back the tastes of summer. If you like the apple notes in Chardonnay, but are not always fond of the oak that many winemakers use, try this wine and you won't be disappointed. And if you're looking for wines to set aside for Thanksgiving, this would be a great choice. Excellent QPR.

Full Disclosure: With the exception of the Chenin Blanc, I received samples of these wines for possible review.

3 comments:

Taster B said...

We just had the Grüner Veltliner last week with mushu pork--yum!

Geoff Miller said...

I had the Leo steen at Dry Creek Kitchen. Almost as good as some of the South African Chenins like Teddy Hall.

The wine was significantly better than the food, crisp, good forward fruit and perfect for a 90 degree evening

Leila "lei" said...

I'm loving these sets of wines specially the "2009 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Farms"! Would love to collect all of them. Got to find the rest of the wines :)

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