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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. Lopez de Heredia, Viña Gravonia Blanco, Rioja, 2002

    Lopez de Heredia, Viña Gravonia Blanco, Rioja, 2002

    This superb white Rioja from the 2002 vintage has lovely aromas of honeysuckle and beeswax with a refreshingly crisp palate. This will drink well now and for another 5 - 10 years.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Macabeo
    Country Spain

    Out of stock

  2. Maison Nicolas Potel, Chablis 1er Cru, 2009

    With grapes picked by hand from only Premier Cru vineyards, this is a simply delicious premier cru Chablis from the 2009 vintage, pure and fresh, with rich, complex aromas starting to resemble those of a grand cru vineyard. The nose has lovely buttery notes along with grapefruit and orange peel.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  3. Maison Nicolas Potel, Montagny 1er Cru, 2006

    Maison Nicolas Potel, Montagny 1er Cru, 2006

    Maison Nicolas Potel's Montagny 1er Cru, 2006 is a really great white Burgundy with a good bit of age behind it and well matured flavours. It has a wonderfully expressive nose full of citrus notes, orange peel, fresh almonds but also hints of exotic fruits and vanilla. The colour is pale golden yellow still with greenish tints. This is a well-rounded, fresh white, a great match for any shellfish, oyster or poultry dish.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  4. Michel Chapoutier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine Blanc, 2008

    Michel Chapoutier, Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine Blanc, 2008

    Michel Chapoutier is a passionate biodynamic producer from the Rhône valley and he has produced a great example here of the white wines that Châteauneuf-du-Pape can produce. A blend of Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc, this is a lively, fresh and medium-bodied white with a nose full of white currants, quince and apricots.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc, White Grenache
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. 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
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

  6. Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Blanc, Tuchan, 2013

    Mont Tauch, Les Garrigues Grande Reserve Grenache Blanc, Tuchan, 2013

    A white wine made from the Grenache Blanc variety that pairs well with almost any seafood.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Grenache Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. Moscatel de Setúbal, Jose Maria da Fonseca, 1900

    Moscatel de Setúbal, Jose Maria da Fonseca, 1900

    Moscatel de Setúbal is one of the world's great fortified sweet wines produced by Jose Maria da Fonseca from the Moscatel grape variety which is closely related to the better known Muscat grape of France.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Moscatel
    Country Portugal

    £299.99

    Out of stock

  8. Petit Chablis, Patrick Piuze, 2012

    Petit Chablis, Patrick Piuze, 2012

    Patrick Piuze's Petit Chablis is made from hand-picked grapes sourced on the plateau above the grand cru hill, which overlooks the small town of Chablis, from a specific site known as La Petite Preuses.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. Supper Club Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2013

    Supper Club Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, 2013

    2013’s excellent growing conditions resulted in a whole host of international awards and high ratings for Nick Entwistle’s Supper Club Sauvignon Blanc.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauvignon Blanc
    Country New Zealand

    Out of stock

  10. 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
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

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