Welcome to the first edition of ‘Wino 101’! Working in a bottle shop I often have customers coming in who do not know much about the different grape varietals and are often unsure about how they can branch out to try something new. This blog will hopefully leave you more informed next time you want to try a white wine a little ‘outside the box’ or next time the shop assistant is offering a recommendation/advice you won’t feel so lost.
Like Sweet White wines? Try a Chenin Blanc!
(For example the well known Chenin Blanc by Amberley – pricing tends to be $10-15 in bottle shops in Perth. Amberley no longer has a cellar door due to the estate being sold in 2011.)
Chenin Blancs are dryer than your typical sweet wines such as Moscato, Crouchen Riesling, Traminer Riesling, Soft Fruity White, etc. But what makes a Chenin Blanc a nice difference is its greater ability to be paired with a meal, as well as the lack of a syrupy aftertaste that some sweeter wines have left me with in the past after a few glasses. The higher alcoholic content (from less sugar remaining for the sweetness) is also a plus if you want a bit more of a kick from your glass of wine. Chenin Blancs tend to have more fruitiness than the sweeter wines to make up for the lower sugar content, as well as just a hint of zesty acidity to balance out the fruitier flavours.
Like Sauvignon Blanc? Try a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris/Grigio!
(For example a Margaret River SSB/SBS – pricing tends to be $15+ in bottles hops in Perth)
Sauvignon Blanc has really been put on the map from the wines coming out go the Marlborough region in New Zealand. A Sauvignon Blanc (SB) tends to be zesty, with grassy and tropical fruit notes to it. By adding a Semillon to the SB you produce a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc (SSB) or a Sauvignon Blanc Semillon (SBS) depending on which is the dominant grape in the wine blend. The addition of Semillon will add a more a more citrusy flavour. Margaret River is well known in Australia for producing SSBs and SBSs, there is little variation between the different wineries with regards to overall flavour of the wines produced in the region, the greatest variety can be seen in their varing degrees of quality.
(For example – Pinot Grigio/Gris from Australia, NZ or Italy – pricing tends to be around $10-15 in bottle shops in Perth.)
Pinot Grigio/Gris (originally the name varies as to whether you adopt the Italian or French name for the grape and its subsequent wine) is a very rich fruity dry wine. In Australia it seems ‘grigio’ is used to imply that it is dryer than a ‘gris’ wine, however the term is often used so interchangeably that there has been talk of doing away with one of the terms. If you are wanting to try a much fruiter alternative to your SB then give the grigio/gris a try.
Like Chardonnay? Try what I’ve recommended in this post!
Generally if you’re a Chardonnay fan like myself you’re not big on the acidity that comes with drinking a SB, this can be overcome by avoiding the SB’s and even the SBS/SSB’s to an extent, the Pinot Grigio/Gris while being slightly acidic has much more emphasis placed upon the fruitiness of the wine, and the Chenin Blanc is a more sweeter and less fruiter alternative to the Pinot Grigio/Gris.
If you think I’ve missed a wine and think that I should include it, feel free to comment below and let me know! Look out for the red wine version of ‘Like This? Try That!’ to come in the near future, depending upon requests. Let me know if you take any of the recommendations on board how it goes.
And as always, until next time!