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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. 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
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  3. 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

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  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

    Out of stock

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. Les Affaubertis Eric Louis, Pouilly-Fumé, 2013

    Les Affaubertis Eric Louis, Pouilly-Fumé, 2013

    Eric Louis' Les Affaubertis, 2013, is characterised by a lemon and apple nose and stereotypical flinty notes of gunsmoke.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauvignon Blanc
    Country France

    Out of stock

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