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White Wine

White wine is usually made from white grapes but can also be produced from red grapes where minimal contact with the grape skins is allowed to take place. Such wines are known as blanc de noirs in French. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed before being pumped into a wine press to squeeze out all the juice. The juice is then clarified before being moved into vats to ferment.

Maceration, contact with the skins, with white grapes is uncommon and only used when a winemaker wishes to extract flavour compounds from the skins. This is called a cold soak and is only ever implemented for a few hours unlike the much longer soak given to many red wines to extract both colour and tannins. Macerated white wines have a deeper colour and a higher polyphenol content. Highly aromatic grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Riesling gain the most from this technique.

Many wine regions produce great white wines but the more famous tend to come from the Loire valley, Burgundy and Bordeaux in France. Key white grape varieties include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Sémillon and Riesling. There are many more all of which have distinctive characteristics.

Dry white table wines fall into three main taste categories: Light & crisp, fruity & supple and full-bodied whites.

Light and crisp whites provide easy drinking. These are refreshing and floral with fruity notes but with little in the way of complexity. Maçon-Villages, Bourgogne Aligoté, Petit Chablis and Apremont fall into this category. Best drunk with simple dishes but also with fried fish, oysters, mussels, and charcuterie. It is unlikely that these wines will age well so drink young. Serve at 8°C.

Fruity and supple white wines are fresh and full of fruit, quite often with citrus notes. Wines from Chablis, Pouilly-Fumé, Pouilly-Fuissé, Graves and Sancerre are good examples. They usually go well with shellfish, many seafood dishes, cheeses and charcuterie.

Full-bodied whites have the most complexity and class. Rich and creamy still with a lovely freshness, these wines tend to be matured in oak casks where they pick up notes of vanilla and toast. Many great wines are in this category including Meursault, Chablis Premier & Grand Crus, Corton-Charlemagne, Puligny-Montrachet and Montrachet from Burgundy as well as wines from Pessac-Léognan in Bordeaux. Well-suited to high-end dining these wines are perfect with lobster, delicate fish, white meats, creamy sauces and creamy cheeses to name a few. Serve a little warmer than the others at 10-14°C.

  1. 'Les Sarres' Domaine Rijckaert, Côtes du Jura, 2009

    'Les Sarres' Domaine Rijckaert, Côtes du Jura, 2009

    A delicious Chardonnay from the less well-known Côtes du Jura region in eastern France made by wine-maker Jean Rijkaert

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  2. Bernhard Ott, Am Berg Grüner Veltliner, 2014

    Bernhard Ott, Am Berg Grüner Veltliner, 2014

    The latest vintage of Bernhard Ott's Am Berg Grüner Veltliner. This is a delicious crisp, dry, food friendly white wine produced in Wagram, a wine producing sub-region in Niederösterreich (Lower Austria). Bio-dynamic viticulture certified by Austrian certification authority Respekt.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Gruner Veltliner
    Country Austria

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  3. Château Filhot, 2me Cru Classé Sauternes, 2009

    Château Filhot, 2me Cru Classé Sauternes, 2009

    Château Filhot is a very good quality sweet wine from the Sauternes appellation.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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  4. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 1997

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 1997

    Chateau Guiraud 1997, a 1er Cru Classé sweet dessert wine from the commune of Sauternes, has a very intense, rich nose of pineapple, melted butter and crystallized citrus with notes of orange, liquorice and cinnamon.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauternes Blend
    Country France

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  5. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2006 (1/2 Bottle)

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2006 (1/2 Bottle)

    Botrytis infected Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes produce this white dessert wine with great freshness and life.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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  6. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2007 (1/2 Bottle)

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2007 (1/2 Bottle)

    Château Guiraud is the only 1er Cru Classé wine estate within the boundaries of the commune of Sauternes apart from the great Ch. d'Yquem.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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  7. Château Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1988

    Château Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1988

    The 1988 is somewhat lighter than some vintages of this wine and displays fine balance with good acidity and a consistent aromas of apricot and honey. It offers a clean and crisp finish which is not at all cloying.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauternes Blend
    Country France

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  8. Château Suduiraut, 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes, 1921

    Château Suduiraut, 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes, 1921

    Château Suduiraut has a long tradition of producing exemplary Sauternes dessert wines.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

    £799.99

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  9. Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Classic Chablis in a clean, fruit-driven style with no oak whatsoever with a layer of minerality as befits this appellation.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  10. Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2009 (50cl)

    Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2009 (50cl)

    This delicious Sauternes is made by a quality-conscious producer whose wines regularly out-perform others from the appellation with bigger reputations.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country France

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