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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. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 1997

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 1997

    Chateau Guiraud 1997, a 1er Cru Classé sweet dessert wine from the commune of Sauternes, has a very intense, rich nose of pineapple, melted butter and crystallized citrus with notes of orange, liquorice and cinnamon.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauternes Blend
    Country France

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  2. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2006 (1/2 Bottle)

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2006 (1/2 Bottle)

    Botrytis infected Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes produce this white dessert wine with great freshness and life.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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  3. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2007 (1/2 Bottle)

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2007 (1/2 Bottle)

    Château Guiraud is the only 1er Cru Classé wine estate within the boundaries of the commune of Sauternes apart from the great Ch. d'Yquem.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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  4. Château Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1988

    Château Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1988

    The 1988 is somewhat lighter than some vintages of this wine and displays fine balance with good acidity and a consistent aromas of apricot and honey. It offers a clean and crisp finish which is not at all cloying.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauternes Blend
    Country France

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  5. Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Clotilde Davenne, Chablis, 2012

    Classic Chablis in a clean, fruit-driven style with no oak whatsoever with a layer of minerality as befits this appellation.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Chardonnay
    Country France

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  6. Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2009 (50cl)

    Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2009 (50cl)

    This delicious Sauternes is made by a quality-conscious producer whose wines regularly out-perform others from the appellation with bigger reputations.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country France

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  7. 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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  8. Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2009 (1/2 Bottle)

    Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2009 (1/2 Bottle)

    Torbreck's 2009 vintage Bothie displays beautifully fragrant aromas of fresh pine/lime, melon and lychee accompanied by extraordinary floral notes.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country Australia

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  9. 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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  10. 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

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