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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. Wegeler Estate, Mosel Riesling, 2007

    Wegeler Estate, Mosel Riesling, 2007

    This 2007 Mosel Riesling with flavours of apple, a floral nose, some minerality and a crisp acidity making it a delicious Riesling which, due to its naturally low alcohol content, is a great quaffing wine.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Riesling
    Country Germany

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  4. Baron Rothschild Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux Blanc, 2012

    Baron Rothschild Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux Blanc, 2012

    Mouton Cadet Blanc is a dry white wine from Bordeaux AOC which is a very reasonably priced blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon and 5% Muscadelle grapes made in a lighter, crisp style.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend White
    Country France

    Out of stock

  5. Bernhard Ott, Am Berg Grüner Veltliner, 2012

    Bernhard Ott, Am Berg Grüner Veltliner, 2012

    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 with some spice including lemon-grass notes.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Gruner Veltliner
    Country Austria

    Out of stock

  6. 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

  7. Bodegas Castro Martin, Albariño, Family Estate Selection, 2012

    Bodegas Castro Martin, Albariño, Family Estate Selection, 2012

    This Albariño from Bodegas Castro Martin is somewhat restrained on the nose however this light-medium bodied white from Galicia (on the north Atlantic coast of Spain) comes into its own palatally.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Albarino
    Country Spain

    Out of stock

  8. Château Bonnet Blanc, Entre-Deux-Mers, 2012

    Château Bonnet Blanc, Entre-Deux-Mers, 2012

    A blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon and 10% Muscadelle. Delicious dry white wine, good with a wide range of seafood.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Bordeaux Blend White
    Country France

    Out of stock

  9. 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
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Sémillon
    Country France

    Out of stock

  10. 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

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