I recently came across a couple of fun wine quotes that I think you will love. Here goes:
“Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.” This quote was coined by a nameless somebody. Let’s call him, or her, anonymous.
The other quote, which I found in a rather obscure, witty publication called The Commonsense Book of Wine is even more crypt. It is by a gentleman called Leon Adams who once said that “anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.”
Leon is perhaps right about most wine ‘connoisseurs’, especially beginners, who claim they know everything about wine. The quote about wine improving with age is actually a twisted version of the authentic one that refers to the age of the wine, not the person drinking it.
As a newbie white wine ‘connoisseur’, you need to know the various white wines in the market and how to differentiate them. Here’s an attempt at helping you in this white wine quest.
1. Oaked Chardonnay
Perhaps the most popular white wine in the world, Chardonnay is a good choice for a white wine beginner. It has a few haters who contend the oaked version is not that good. However, it also has diehard fans who swear by its rich vanilla flavour.
What about the rich, rounder, luscious mouthfeel that the ageing wood emits? Hmmm! Simply out of this world. Try it! You might also fall in love with other close contenders such as the white Viognier, Gruner Veltliner, and, of course, the Bordeaux.
2. Unoaked Chardonnay
If the oaked chardonnay is not quite what your taste buds ordered, there is another option that is sure to knock you off your feet (ok, not in the literal sense unless you gulp an entire bottle). You can choose either the unoaked chardonnay placed for a short duration in neutral oak or the aged version in stainless steel.
The oak barrel for storing unoaked chardonnay is so frequently used it does not transfer its rich vanilla flavour into your white wine, hence the ‘unoaked’ reference. This wine was popularized by Chablis in Burgundy and features none of the buttery vanilla flavours that some people find unpleasant.
3. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc was born in France but became famous in New Zealand. This is perhaps the reason the New Zealand version is so popular. It combines the fresh smell of cut grass with a nice peppy acidity that reminds one of a refreshing glass of lemonade.
However, if this acidity aggressive, grassy version is too strong for you, the subtler Sancerre is a refined toned down version of the same wine. You will love it! A relationship with Sauvignon Blanc could also take you to Italy where Verdicchio or Vermentino are absolute delights; or to Argentina for a tumble with the delightfully delicious Torrontes.
4. Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is Italy’s anthem white wine. It comes with refreshing flavours of green apple, lemon, and lime. It’s often dry as opposed to sweet and is great with a delicious plate of seafood. If you find Pinot Grigio enjoyable, you will also love Albariño from Spain, or even the Assyrtiko from Greece.
5. Riesling – Dry
Considered a largely sweet white wine, the world’s top Riesling is in fact from the extremely dry regions of Alsace and Germany. To be certain you have the delightfully dry version, make sure your Riesling bottle is from Austria, Alsace in France, or from German.
6. Riesling – Sweet
If sweetness is your weakness, Sweet Riesling would make your taste buds jump with joy. It comes from parts of the U.S. and Germany. If you like sweet Riesling, you might also want to try Gewürztraminer or Moscato.
Whichever way you look at it, wines, especially white ones, have been extremely popular over the centuries. This trend appears set to continue for centuries to come.