Try A New Wine - Part II
How do we choose a new white wine to take the place of our old favorite? If you are in a wine shop and confused as to what wine to choose don't hesitate to ask the sales people in the store. More often than not they are very knowledgeable about their stock and can help answer your questions.
If you are new to wine or if you have been drinking the same wine for years and want to try something new, here are a few basic similarities to three wines you might try in place of Chardonnay.
CHARDONNAY -- is fermented and/or aged in either stainless steel tanks or oak barrels. These two wine-making styles give Chardonnay two different flavor profiles.
The flavors you enjoy in Chardonnay is a direct reflection of how the wine was made. Below are some of the flavors found in Chardonnay.
Stone Fruits: apple, pear, peach, apricot
Tropical Fruits: pineapple, banana, mango, guava, kiwi
Citrus Fruits: lime, lemon, orange, tangerine
Steel: mineral, flint
Oak (light): vanilla, sweet wood, coconut
Oak (heavy): oak, smoke, toast
If you want to try something new, Viognier, Friulano or White Burgundy might be the one.
VIOGNIER -- has luscious tropical fruit flavors as does Chardonnay. More often than not Viognier is fermented in stainless steel and only seldom will be aged in wood barrels though it will have a creaminess to it as do some Chardonnays.
Fruits: apricot, mango, pineapple, guava, kiwi, tangerine
Oak (light): vanilla, sweet wood
Oak (heavy): oak, smoke, toast
FRIULANO -- Formerly known as Tocai Friulano, this is a grape grown in Friuli which is in the Veneto region in Italy. The grape is known as tocai in Friuli, but in recent years for exporting it is being labeled as Friulano because Hungary was upset that the name "tocai friulano" may be confused with it's famous Tokaj (or Tokay) dessert wine.
Friulano is a medium-bodied, dry white wine
Fruit flavors: pear, sometimes apple.
Oak (medium): almonds
Acidity is well balanced with the fruit.
WHITE BURGUNDY -- is the popular French wine that is traditionally made with chardonnay. There are exceptions when the aligote grape is used but that is not what we are referring to in this post.
The Burgundy region of France is the Côte d'Or where many consider the best wines in the world are produced. They are priced from very affordable to very expensive, but you don't have to break the bank to enjoy a White Burgundy.
In order to keep this post from becoming a volume I will basically try to stay within the border of keeping to the profiles of the wine, and a brief note about the region.
Chablis is the northern most area of Burgundy and has a cool climate. This area produces very dry white wines with high acidity and green fruit flavors. They have pronounced mineral characteristics and very rarely can oak flavors be detected in these wines.
The area of Burgundy just south of Chablis, is the Côte d'Or. This appellation of the Burgundy region produces more complex white wines with tropical fruit, oak and spice flavors and considered the finest white wines in the world.
The most southerly appellation is the Maconnais. The wines produced are light, fruity white wines that are moderately priced.
Chablis: crisp minerality, high acidity, aromas of green apple
Côte d'Or: tropical fruit, oak and spice flavors
Maconnais: light bodied and fruity
Oak: toast, honey
French wine is all about climate, terroir, and the wine-maker/producer. Don't be afraid to try a crisp Chablis or a light fruity style from the Maconnais. These are affordably priced and worth a try.