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Posts tagged ‘Sauvignon Blanc’

 By Giuliano Bortolleto

On my last post I talked about the great quality of the south-american white wines. More specifically about the chilean Sauvignon Blanc and the argentinean Chardonnay. Now, I will talk about the taste of the three wines I have detached on that post one by one.

Domaines Barons Rothschild - Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2007: This winery was created in 1988 by the Domaines Barons Rothschild, producer of the Chatêau Lafite. That’s why they always aim to put their french philosophy in their wines, which usually are more delicated and sophisticated then the other chilean wines, and with less alcohol too. This Sauvignon Blanc is very citrus, with some lemon and passion fruit notes on the aroma and also on the flavour. Very bright and clear colour. Excelent to pair with light meals and appetizer for the hot summer.

Viña Errazuriz - Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2007: The winery Erazuriz really knows how to produce great Sauvignon Blancs. This one is very very fresh and has a fantastic passion fruit aroma. Very nice to enjoy a hot day with some salad.

Casa Lapostolle - Sauvignon Blanc 2007: Casa Lapostolle is certainly one of the best wineries of Chile. They really knows how to take care of a winery in order to extract the most that the grape can give to the wine. The Clos Apalta 2005 wine is a real proof of that. About the Sauvignon Blanc, i must say that is very surprising. A very special special mineral aroma. Very refined. It really express the local terroir. It is also citrus, with some pine apple notes. Perfect to be drunk young.

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 26th

It is unquestionable the great potencial of both Argentina and Chile to produce, besides the known and recognized red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile’s case and Malbec in Argentina’s one), good white wines, mostly with the french world famous Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. These two white grapes are being produced in almost every wine producers countries, and they are always capable of producing great fruity wines. And so it is in the South American countries.

Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2004 | White Wines

Argentina and Chile have been producing very nice white wines with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. However, I really preffer the Sauvignons from Chile and the Chardonays from Argentina. To be more specific, the Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley, in Chile, and the Chardonnay from Mendoza, in Argentina.

The Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca Valley absolutelly assimilates the mineral charateristic, at the same time that it conserves a good acidity, which transforms the drink into a very very fresh drink, perfect to pair it with some salads or white fishes with lemon spice. In its youthness, the Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca express a yelow to green color, that comproves the nice acidity that is conserved in the wine.

About the Chardonnays from Mendoza, we could say that unctuousness is a good word to describe them. The majority of the Chardonays from this region are very concentrated, has a very special of tropical fruits aroma (pine apples, peaches, star-fruits), and tend to be very creamy and silken, due to the contact with the oak. Yes, it never is very good to pair a long-time-oak-stay with the Chardonnay, because, usually, the result is a poor fruity wine, with too much oak characteristics, like dry fruits and butter. Nevertheless there are some very goog examples of Chardonnays wines in Mendoza, with some great acidity and very bright color.

Here I will tell some very nice examples of the best os the chilean Sauvignon Blancs and the argentinean Chardonnays.

Chile: Errazuriz - Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2007; Domaines Barons Rothschild - Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2007; Casa Lapostolle - Sauvignon Blanc 2007.

Argentina: Rutini - Rutini Chardonnay 2006; Catena Zapata – Catena Alta Chardonnay 2005; Terrazas de los Andes Chardonnay Reserva 2008

Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Chardonnay | White Wines

Chilean White Wines

February 22nd, 2008

Chilean Vineyard | White Wines
Wine is a product which comes from many wonderful countries and regions. One such country which produces its fair share of wine is Chile. Chilean wines are varied in nature and the vineyards of the Chilean wine regions produce both reds and whites for consumption by wine enthusiasts all over the world. The following paragraphs will highlight Chilean white wines and provide some details regarding popular white wines from this area.

Sauvignon Blanc

One of the favored white wines from Chile is Sauvignon Blanc. This wine is produced in many vineyards throughout the country and is quite popular both within Chile and around the world. Sauvignon Blancs are usually crisp in nature and can vary in dryness depending upon the vineyard which produces the wine. This wine usually consists of fruity overtones and has a pleasing aroma. When looking to pair Sauvignon Blanc with food it is best to go with meal varieties such as barbecued foods, various salads and seafood entrees.

Chardonnay

Another popular white wine type in both Chile and abroad is Chardonnay. Chardonnay produced in Chile is usually light and crisp with various oak flavors. Along with the oak overtones, Chilean Chardonnay is fruity in nature yet not too sweet. Chardonnay is a white wine that goes marvelously with a wide array of food choices. Some of the preferred food pairings for Chardonnay include cheese filled pastas, salmon and chicken dishes.

Semillon

Semillon is another Chilean white wine which is favored for its delicious, crisp taste. This wine can be purchased alone or in combination with Chardonnay such as in a Chardonnay/Semillon mixture. Semillon often has fruity overtones where one can taste fruits like apricots and citrus items. This type of wine usually has a good acidity to it and has a pleasing taste overall. When interested in pairing Semillon with a meal, any entrees which consist of seafood or vegetables are a wonderful combination with this Chilean white wine.

Conclusion

Chilean white wines are extremely popular around the world but especially within the United States where their popularity continues to grow. As the popularity of such wines increase, so will the production of the wines within this country. Any of the previously mentioned types of wines can be consumed alone or with a wide array of entrée items. One who expresses an interest in Chilean white wines should try each variety to determine which one they like the best and also try wines from different vineyards as no two vineyards are alike. By doing so, one will ensure that they have truly experienced the delicious white wines of Chile.

Source: http://www.mamashealth.com/wine/chilwhite.asp

French White Wines

February 22nd, 2008


Champagne| White WinesFrance is a country that is known for its wide array of wines, both red and white varieties. French wines come in a variety of styles such as dry and sweet and those which are sparkling and non-sparkling. There are a number of wonderful French white wines which are favored not only in the country itself but around the world. Some of these more famous varieties will be discussed.

Chardonnay

A popular white wine variety which many are familiar with is Chardonnay. Chardonnay wine from France is especially exceptional as a rule. Chardonnay comes in a variety of tastes and body style which provides one with a wealth of options when it comes to selecting the Chardonnay which pleases them the most. Many of the Chardonnay types produced in France are crisp and clean in nature. Some have a fruity overtone while others have woodsy attributes. If one is looking to pair a French white wine with a meal, Chardonnay is an excellent choice as it goes nicely with many different entrée selections.

Sauvignon Blanc

Another type of French white wine is Sauvignon Blanc. This type of wine is similar in certain aspects to Chardonnay yet may tend to be more on the drier side when compared with its white wine counterparts. Many of the Sauvignon Blanc varieties of the French region have the essence of fruit and floral components to them. This too is a wonderful white wine choice for a variety of meal selections.

Chablis

A less dry variety of French white wine which may appeal to those who prefer a sweeter tasting wine is Chablis. This wine is produced in the Burgundy region and is quite popular in the area and around the world as well. Chablis is produced by using Chardonnay grapes and the finished product is one which is fruity and slightly dry, although not nearly as dry as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. This is a wonderful wine to pair with food items such as fish, poultry, shellfish and pork.

Champagne

When individuals discuss the topic of Champagne, the country of France automatically comes to mind. France is a premier producer of Champagne and there are many different varieties produced in the Champagne region. There are often three different types of grapes included in Champagne production which are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This sparkling wine is perfect for any type of celebration or simply to have as an accompaniment to a meal entrée such as shellfish and fish as well as a great wine to drink while tasting cheeses.

France is definitely a front-runner when it comes to white wine production and one is certain to find a French white wine which strikes their fancy.

Source: http://www.mamashealth.com/wine/frenchwhite.asp

Chenin Blanc | White Wines

February 20th, 2008


Chenin Blanc | White WinesChenin blanc, or Pineau de la Loire, is a variety of white wine grape from the Loire valley of France. Its high acidity means it can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines, although it can produce very bland, neutral wines if the vine’s natural vigour is not controlled. Outside the Loire it is found in most of the New World wine regions; it is the most widely planted variety in South Africa, where it is known as Steen.

Description
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Chenin blanc (or simply Chenin) is a particularly versatile grape that is used to make dry white wines, sparkling wines, dessert wines and brandy. It provides a fairly neutral palate for the expression of terroir, vintage variation and the winemaker’s treatment.

In cool areas the juice is sweet but high in acid with a full-bodied fruity varietal palate. In the unreliable summers of northern France, the acidity of underripe grapes was often masked with chaptalization with unsatisfactory results, whereas now the less ripe grapes are made into popular sparkling wines such as Crémant de Loire. The white wines of Anjou are perhaps the best expression of Chenin as a dry wine, with flavours of quince and apples. In nearby Vouvray they aim for an off-dry style, developing honey and floral characteristics with age. In the best vintages the grapes can be left on the vines to develop noble rot, producing an intense, viscous dessert wine which will improve considerably with age.

In the Loire, yields are tightly controlled - even basic Anjou Blanc is restricted to 45hl/ha. However yields of three times that can be achieved in the New World and the results are generally everyday wines that “are dull compared to the Loire wines”. As ever there are exceptions to this rule, particularly in South Africa.

History
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Chenin Blanc probably originated as a mutant of the Pineau d’Aunis (Chenin Noir) in Anjou, where there are records of it in the ninth century. It then migrated to the Loire valley and later the Rhône. Rabelais (1494–1553) was clearly keen on the white wines of Anjou, and mentions the medicinal qualities of the grapes at the end of chapter XXV of Gargantua :

This done, the shepherds and shepherdesses made merry with these cakes and fine grapes, and sported themselves together at the sound of the pretty small pipe, scoffing and laughing at those vainglorious cake-bakers, who had that day met with a mischief for want of crossing themselves with a good hand in the morning. Nor did they forget to apply to Forgier’s leg some fat chenin grapes, and so handsomely dressed it and bound it up that he was quickly cured.

The grape may have been one of the first to be grown in South Africa by Jan Van Riebeeck in 1655, or it may have come to that country with Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. It became known as Steen, and it was only in 1965 that Steen was recognised as being the same as Chenin Blanc.

Chenin Blanc was often misidentified in Australia as well, so tracing its early history in the country is not easy. It may have been introduced in the Busby collection of 1832, but C. Waterhouse was growing Steen at Highercombe in South Australia by 1862.

A sparkling Vouvray made from Chenin blanc.

Regions
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The grape is known as Pinot Blanco in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Argentina, although it is not related to Pinot Blanc. There are over 4000ha (10,000 acres (40 km²)) of Chenin blanc in Argentina, and 200ha (500 acres (2 km²)) in New Zealand.

Australia

Most Australian Chenin Blancs are crisp dry wines, often blended with other varieties and often given a little oak. Most of the 6000 hectares (1,500 acres (6 km²)) are in South Australia, but some is planted in Western Australia.

France

The versatility of Chenin Blanc is most obvious in Anjou and Touraine. Just within Vouvray, it makes dry-ish wines, demi-secs, sweet and sparkling. Perhaps the most famous wines made from Chenin Blanc are the botrytized dessert wines of the Coteaux de la Loire such as Savennières (most notably La-Roche-aux-Moines and Coulée de Serrant), and to the south Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. These can be some of the most long-lived of all white wines, and include some of the most expensive wines in France.

The dry wines of Anjou show a different side to the grape, with an intense palate of appley acidity, and this dry acidity is even more obvious in Crémant de Loire and the sparkling wines of Saumur. It is usually presented as a single varietal, although up to 20 percent Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc can be added.

Chenin blanc is a minor component of the Languedoc region’s ancient sparkling wine, Blanquette de Limoux. A greater percentage is allowed in the less ‘authentic’ Crémant de Limoux.

South Africa

Despite “Steen” being the most widely-grown grape in South Africa, the area has dropped by a third in recent years. The 19,100 hectares in 2005 represented 18.8% cent of the country’s vines, down from 28.7% in 1998. It is partly a victim of fashion swinging towards red wine, but its reputation has suffered from the industrial wines produced during the apartheid years. In the 1960s SFW’s semi-sweet Chenin Blanc was the biggest-selling bottled wine in the world. However some producers focus on quality rather than quantity, following in the footsteps of pioneers such as Johann Graue of Nederburg.

USA

Chenin is the third most planted grape in California, but is mostly used to contribute acidity in jug wine blends. Such wines became massively popular in the 1970s, so companies such as Charles Krug were able to use rationing of the white wines as a tool for selling the less popular reds. However since the 1980s plantings of Chenin Blanc have declined in favour of the more fashionable Chardonnay. As in South Africa, the reputation of the bulk wines has hindered the development of quality Loire-style wines from controlled yields in cooler climates.

Viticulture
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Chenin Grapes | White WinesDespite coming from Anjou, Chenin does well in warm climates that are usually too warm for many vinifera types. In fact the main problem in the New World is controlling the vines’ natural vigour. It is not fussy about soil type, and it is resistant to the common vine diseases. However the tight clusters are prone to bunch rot in damp conditions, and the thin-skinned grapes are vulnerable to sunburn.

The vine is semi-upright in habit with 3-5 lobed leaves. It tends to break bud early, and the conical, winged bunches contain yellow-green grapes that ripen late. The berries are typically 16.0 mm long x 14.2 mm wide, with an average weight of 1.79g.

Synonyms
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Anjou, Blanc d’Aunis, Capbreton Blanc (Landes, France), Confort, Coue Fort, Cruchinet (SW France), Cugnette, Feher Chenin, Franc Blanc, Franche, Gout Fort, Luarskoe, Pineau d’Anjou, Pineau de Briollay, Pineau de la Loire, Pineau de Savennières, Pineau Gros, Pineau Gros de Vouvray, Pineau Nantais, Plant de Brézé (archaic, now more often applied to Romorantin), Plant de Salces, Plant de Salles, Plant du Clair de Lune, Quefort, Rajoulin, Rouchalin, Rougelin, Steen (South Africa), Stein, Tête de Crabe, Vaalblaar Stein, Verdurant, Blanc d’Anjou, Gros Chenin, Gros Pinot Blanc de la Loire, Plant d’Anjou and Gamet blanc (Aveyron, France).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenin_Blanc

Prosecco | White Wines

February 20th, 2008


Prosecco | White WinesProsecco is a variety of white grape grown in the Veneto region of Italy, and also gives its name to the sparkling wine made from the grape.

The grape is grown in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene wine-growing regions north of Venice. Its late ripening has led to its use in dry sparkling (spumante) and semi-sparkling (frizzante) wines, with their characteristic bitter aftertaste.

Like other sparkling wines, Prosecco is served chilled. Most commonly it is served unmixed, but it also appears in several mixed drinks. It was the original main ingredient in the Bellini cocktail, and it can also replace champagne in other cocktails such as the Mimosa. Prosecco also features in the Italian mixed drink Sgroppino (with vodka and lemon sorbet).
The name “Prosecco” is now protected under European law and can be used only for the wine made from the Prosecco grape in the Conegliano/Valdobbiadene region. The Italian Prosecco should not be confused with Dalmatian Prosecco, which is actually called Prošek, and made out of dried grapes.

Some premium quality chocolate companies sell chocolate packed together with miniature bottles of Prosecco.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosecco

Australian White Wines

February 18th, 2008


Don’t assume that if you’ve tasted Australian Chardonnay, that you have experienced the extraordinary diversity and quality of all that Australian white wine has to offer.

Australia’s white wines have a story to tell that’s all their own, and it won’t surprise you to learn that the winemakers who create them have a unique approach that sets their wines apart from the rest of the world.

When you look at it in the glass, a white Australian wine can be anything from opulent golden yellow – orange almost – to palest lemon yellow. The colour depends on the region it comes from (how cool or warm it is) and on the grape from which it was made; for example, Rieslings are paler than Chardonnays, and so on.

Colour can be a clue to the taste (the deeper it is, the richer the flavour) but a better indication comes from taking a big sniff. Swirl the glass round and sniff again. One thing you’ll be sure of from Australia is that you will be smelling the product of well grown and fully ripened grapes.

Delicious, concentrated ripe fruit, harvested in perfect conditions is easier to obtain in Australia than almost anywhere else in the world. Beyond this it is difficult to generalise, so different are the aromas, flavours and taste sensations that come from each of the grapes, blends and regions.

Chardonnay (:shar-don-nay)
Chenin Blanc
Colombard
Gewurztraminer
Marsanne
Muscat
Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Riesling (:reez-ling)
Sauvignon Blanc (:so-vin-yon-blahn)
Semillon (:semi-yon)
Verdelho
Viognier (:vee-yon-yay)

Chardonnay (:shar-don-nay)
This classic grape variety first came to Australia in the late 1920s but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it become the most widely planted variety in the country.

The peak of its fame came in the 1980s and looking back, the critics now classify some of those wines for being “oaky” and unsubtle, but to tell the truth, people loved them. Pick up a bottle today and you will discover Australian Chardonnay to be consistently well made, often with a hint of vanilla/oak flavours and plenty of ripe, melon/grapefruit to ripe peach fruit. From warmer inland regions (Murray Darling, Riverland, Riverina) they will often exhibit tropical fruit flavours. Whilst from the coolest regions, such as Tasmania, Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula the characters will be much more subtle with citrus (grapefruit and lime characters) predominating.

The Yarra Valley, Margaret River and Coonawarra all produce wonderful Chardonnay examples that show fruit richness and complexity. In truth, Chardonnay is Australia’s most versatile white wine grape, as evidenced by outstanding examples from the coolest to the warmest regions.

Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a favourite with growers over in Western Australia with the Swan Valley and the Peel regions particularly well suited. It’s appley flavours and crisp acidity can fare well in hands of the right winemaker – or after a few years in the right cellar.

Colombard
Although often blended with Chardonnay and sometimes Sauvignon Blanc, on its own Colombard produces a full-bodied wine with good acidity.

Regionally examples to seek out include Adelaide Plains and Murray Darling. It is a grape variety that generally does better in warmer climates.

Gewurztraminer
Growers are in two minds about Gewurztraminer, do we or don’t we? Try out some of the versions from Clare Valley, Great Southern or Tasmania and you’ll agree they definitely should.

Spicy lychee, Turkish delight and floral flavour predominate; add to this Gewurztraminer’s distinctive rich mouth texture, and you have the ideal wine compliment for the spicy flavours of Thai, Chinese and even Indian cuisine.

Marsanne
Although much-admired in the Rhône wines of southern France, Marsanne is a variety that only really received its fully due praise in Australia.

It is particularly good in the Goulburn and Yarra Valleys (Victoria). Basically, it’s like Chardonnay and Semillon but more so. More honeyed, more peachy, more spicy and there’s just a little more lemony acidity, too, which saves this grape from luscious overkill. As with its cousins from the Rhone, you won’t see too many of these wines around but if you spot a bottle, grab it, it’ll be worth trying.

Muscat
In Australia, as elsewhere, this variety’s greatest triumph is with its sweet wines.

Grown in the Rutherglen district of Victoria, fully ripened grapes are harvested, then are partially fermented and (traditionally) left to mature in barrels. The result? Heaven! Dessert wine of almost ambrosial concentration and never without a tingling tang of acidity to balance it.

The Muscats from north-east Victoria are truly one of Australia’s “gifts” to the word of wine.

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio
Australian Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris is another fairly recent arrival that is starting to develop a strong following worldwide. This should be no surprise, as its Alsace cousin, Riesling, has been an Aussie star for several decades.

It comes in two main styles, each equally fashionable: fresh, crisp, unwooded and simple (ideal for hot summer day drinking), and later-picked spicier, richer wine (delicately buttery) which keeps a treat in the cellar.

Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and Great Western regions and the State of Tasmania all produce stunning examples of this now popular variety.

Riesling (:reez-ling)
Unlike their European counterparts, Australian Rieslings are generally made in dry styles. The result is another international gem, which due to their crisp fruit and acid balance are a perfect food accompaniment.

Riesling also has an ability to mature with age as well as delight with its youthful freshness. Look out for examples from the Clare or Eden Valleys of South Australia which develop this grape’s classic honey and citrus characters.

There are more fine examples of Rieslings from Western Australia’s Great Southern region (great complexity), from Tasmania (crisp and perfumed) and the Barossa Valley (more rounded and full-flavoured).

Riesling is also responsible for some of Australia’s greatest sticky sweet dessert wines. They’re either made with a touch of that benevolent mould botrytis or harvested when all the berries have dried and shrivelled on the vines in late autumn. In either case, the perfumed rich intensity of these wines, still with their racy acidity, is little short of magnificent.

Sauvignon Blanc (:so-vin-yon-blahn)
Australian Sauvignon Blanc is a variety which is both fast-growing in popularity and increasing plantings.

As elsewhere in the world, it is a variety which shows its best when grown in cooler wine regions.
Australia’s huge diverse landmass provides the perfect growing conditions for this classic variety in several of its regions.

Yarra Valley, Adelaide Hills, Margaret River, Orange in New South Wales and Tasmania, are all regions which produce wonderfully expressive Sauvignon Blanc.

In the coolest regions and vintages, these vines have “grassy”, gooseberry characters, whereas, in slightly warmer vintages the more passionfruit flavour with a zing of acidity, are more typical.
In Margaret River, Sauvignon Blanc is often blended with Semillon which creates a perfect partnership and fuller palate style.

Semillon (:semi-yon)
Semillon is one of the very best grapes for demonstrating the different characters emerging from Australia’s varied wine regions.

Start with Semillon from the Barossa Valley to get a glimpse of this grape at its most luscious. Deep yellow in the glass, aromas of peaches and mangoes fill the nose and in the glass the flavours will continue the theme – with added vanilla (Barossa Semillon is often wood-aged like Chardonnay).

Semillon from the Hunter Valley is another matter altogether. It’s a lean, rather pale-looking wine that seems to have little more than flintiness in its favour. Give it a few years in bottle, however, and as if from nowhere it turns into a honeyed, nutty, complex classic. Go west and Margaret River’s versions are a fine balance between these two styles, and they age well too. Find a Semillon from anywhere in Australian and you’ll almost certainly be able to distinguish it by its warm, peachy character, whether it be a simple regional blend, a sweet botrytised wine from the Riverina of New South Wales.

Verdelho
Verdelho as a varietal still wine is a success story the Aussies can claim as their own.

It originally arrived in the country for the purpose of making intensely sweet fortified wines, just as it does on the island of Madeira. However, when bottled as a still table wine (unfortified) the winemakers of Australia found they’d hit on something really special.

Nutty/savoury in character it makes a striking contrast to the voluptuous style of, say, a Chardonnay or Semillon but yet isn’t quite as tangy as Sauvignon Blanc.

Look out for this variety in Western Australia, the Hunter Valley and increasingly in South Australia.

Viognier (:vee-yon-yay)
Acclaimed for the stunning whites it makes in the Rhône, this grape is set for more success in Australia than it’s ever received so far.

Truth is, it’s tricky to grow, however, in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and the Eden Valley and McLaren Vale of South Australia, several vineyards have certainly cracked it. Like Chardonnay, Australian Viognier is also great when matured or fermented in oak barrels.

Source: Wine Australia

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