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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. Maison Nicolas Potel, Auxey-Duresses Blanc, 2006

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Auxey-Duresses Blanc, 2006

    A light gold white Burgundy boasting citrus, orange and fresh almond with a stylish bouquet. The good attack on the palate develops delicious floral, nut and mineral flavours.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Clotilde Davenne, St Bris, 2014

    Clotilde Davenne, St Bris, 2014

    This wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes from vineyards near St. Bris lying between Chablis in northern Burgundy and the Upper Loire.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauvignon Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. Jean-Paul Brun, Beaujolais Blanc Classique, 2014

    Jean-Paul Brun, Beaujolais Blanc Classique, 2014

    Deliciously crisp Chardonnay with great minerality, texture and fruit definition. This is a terrific wine to drink on its own as a superior apéritif or with lighter cuisine.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  8. Château Martet Blanc, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, 2013

    Château Martet Blanc, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, 2013

    Bio-dynamically produced white Bordeaux that is 60% Sémillon. Great with seafood.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend White
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Bernhard Ott, Am Berg Grüner Veltliner, 2013

    Bernhard Ott, Am Berg Grüner Veltliner, 2013

    This wine is made in a very clean and pure style using stainless steel tanks with no lees stirring. The fruit flavours are of green apple, peach and citrus and have some spiciness including notes of lemon grass.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Gruner Veltliner
    Country Austria

    Out of stock

  10. Terroirs de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2013

    Terroir de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2013

    Patrick Piuze makes fabulous Chablis and the 2013 Terroir de Courgis is a pale golden colour with a tropical fruit nose and a touch of yeasty bread aromas.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

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