The oohs and ahhs were difficult to contain as we departed from the usual suspects and savored our tasting of 4 deliciously different white grape varietals. From that came 4 wines that we absolutely love and must share with you…
(1) Torrontes Grape Varietal – Considered mainly an Argentinean variety, this grape is fragrant, high in acidity and enchantingly aromatic. It adapts well to the arid conditions of this mountainous region and produces a stylish and distinctive wine garnering Argentina’s producers many international wine awards.
We love: Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes 2011
Strikingly similar to Viognier, this top Argentinian white varietal makes a brilliant summer pick with its tropical fruit, flowers, honey flavors and Sauvignon Blanc-like acidity.
(2) Sémillon Grape Varietal – Thin-skinned and one of only three approved varieties of the Bordeaux region, this low maintenance grape is most famously known for its production of sweet wines because of the grapes vulnerability to Botrytis Cinerea, or Noble Rot, a natural process that concentrates the sugars of late harvest wines. However, outside of France this grape varietal makes some outstanding dry whites wines.
We love: L’Ecole No. 41 Sémillon 2008
The Semillon grape is most often associated with the wines of Bordeaux and can be either sweet or dry. This 90% Semillon dry wine from Washington State is barrel fermented in new French oak, which results in a dry, rich textured wine with pear flavors, fresh fig and a tangerine zest finish.
(3) Verdelho Grape Varietal – Originally used in the production of Madeira wine in Portugal, this grape has become an important crop to Australia, and popular to those seeking an alternative to Chardonnay. Aromatic and full-bodied, fruity Verdelho wines will drink well without food, make a great choice at lunch and are perfect with tapas in the evening.
We love: Mollydooker Verdelho The Violinist 2010
Mollydooker’s only white wine is made up of the Verdelho grape from both McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills, creating a flavor profile of baking spices, pitted fruits and melon.
(4) Arneis Grape Varietal – Grown on and off in the Piedmont area of Italy since the 1500’s this white grape has finally hit the international radar. Difficult to grow, this varietal was originally used as a blending grape to soften the tannins of the red wines in the area. However, produced on its own, Arneis – once called “Nebbiolo Bianco” – offers fruit and floral aromas, flavors of yeast, toast and almonds. It is light, easy to drink and pairs well with most summer fare.
We love: Vietti Roero Arneis 2010
100% Arneis grape from northern Italy’s Piedmont area, this elegant wine has no malolactic fermentation thus preserving the acidity and freshness. It pairs well with light soups, salads, seafood and creamy cheeses.
… so the next time you want to try a little something different, don’t hesitate. In our experience, it is worth it!