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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. Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2010 (Half Bottle)

    Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2010 (Half Bottle)

    Australian "sticky" Muscat dessert wine which is sweet, crisp, silky and pure. Its freshness is atypical and all the more welcome for it.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country Australia

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  2. Les Affaubertis Eric Louis, Pouilly-Fumé, 2011

    Les Affaubertis Eric Louis, Pouilly-Fumé, 2011

    With Sancerre just around the corner, this Pouilly-Fumé shares many of the same qualities. Crisp and refreshing with a stony minerality on the tongue and a crisp acidity to finish. Flinty lemon and apple come to mind when drinking this on a summer's day.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauvignon Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

  3. La Pucelle Domaine Roux, Saint-Aubin, 2010

    La Pucelle Domaine Roux, Saint-Aubin, 2010

    Saint Aubin is a less well-known village in the Côte de Beaune and, as such, offers extremely good value compared with the more famous villages.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  4. Claudie Jobard, Rully Blanc Montagne La Folie, 2010

    Claudie Jobard, Rully Blanc Montagne La Folie, 2010

    This Rully Blanc is delicately floral and provides delicious drinking in its youth mellowing and becoming richer and more complex after a few years in bottle. Great value for a white Burgundy.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. La Croix Domaine Robert-Denogent, Pouilly-Fuissé, 2010

    La Croix Domaine Robert-Denogent, Pouilly-Fuissé, 2010

    A great Pouilly-Fuissé made from the fruit of old vines showing just how good white wines from southern Burgundy can be.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  6. d'Arenberg The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2010

    d'Arenberg The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2010

    D'Arenberg has fashioned this deliciously creamy Chardonnay, which has lovely balancing acidity, at an extremely reasonable price point.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

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