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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. La Pucelle Domaine Roux, Saint-Aubin, 2011

    La Pucelle Domaine Roux, Saint-Aubin, 2011

    White Burgundy from the Côte de Beaune with tropical fruit, peach and a hint of cinnamon spice.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 88
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  2. d'Arenberg, The Stump Jump Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2011

    d'Arenberg, The Stump Jump Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, 2011

    The Stump Jump is a charming, lightly-wooded Chardonnay from the famous d'Arenberg winery. The grapes are carefully crushed and basket pressed to produce a fresh, crisp white wine which is oaked to give a beautifully smooth finish. Lovely to drink on its own or a great accompaniment to a meal.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 86
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country Australia

    Out of stock

  3. Château Martet Blanc, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, 2011

    Château Martet Blanc, Sainte-Foy Bordeaux, 2011

    This charming dry white wine is characterised by its floral nature, subtle finesse and notes of exotic fruits. For best results drink it young and serve between 9°-12°C.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 88
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon
    Country France

    Out of stock

  4. Terroirs de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2011

    Terroirs de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2011

    Terroirs de Courgis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2011 is a dry and crisp Chablis, gold in colour with soft notes of apricot, apple and citrus on the nose whilst mineral tastes dwell on the palate. This white offers great value for money and is perfect for a summer drink.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 90
    Colour White Wine
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. Vaillons 'Les Minots' Vieilles Vignes Patrick Piuze, Chablis 1er Cru, 2011

    Vaillons 'Les Minots' Vieilles Vignes Patrick Piuze, Chablis 1er Cru, 2011

    A wonderful premier cru Chablis from a young master of the area. Try Patrick's wines to see what makes the critics enthuse so much.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 90
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  6. Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Blanc, Tuchan, 2011

    Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Blanc, Tuchan, 2011

    This Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Blanc, Tuchan, 2011 is as satisfying as many a basic but more expensive white Burgundy, unencumbered by any unnecessary use of oak.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 90
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. Jean-Paul Brun, Beaujolais Blanc Classique, 2011

    Jean-Paul Brun, Beaujolais Blanc Classique, 2011

    This delicious Chardonnay shows that Jean-Paul Brun's efforts with with this grape rival those of many a more prestigious Burgundian appellation. His un-oaked Beaujolais Blanc Classique is a match for the best Macon Villages.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 90
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  8. Terroir de Chablis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2011

    Terroir de Chablis Patrick Piuze, Chablis, 2011

    The grapes for Piuze's Terroir de Chablis, 2011, are harvested from the north facing slope of the Les Forêts vineyard and are picked exclusively by hand. This is a serious Chablis which has fantastic depth and a distinct mineral character underpinning the apple and citrus fruit.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 90
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2011

    Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2011

    If you prefer wines where the fruit is not allowed to be obscured by oak, then you should try the 2011 Chablis of Clotilde Davenne, since she avoids the use of wood completely in her cellar, thus allowing the wines a better chance of reflecting their individual ‘terroirs’.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 90
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  10. Cuvee Claude Denogent les Cras, Pouilly-Fuisse, 2011

    Cuvee Claude Denogent les Cras, Pouilly-Fuisse, 2011

    Cuvee Claude Denogent les Cras is a superb southern Burgundy from the Maconnais region of Pouilly-Fuisse.

    Details
    Cardinal's Rating 95
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

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