by Aaron Winsor
Hello Prince Albert!
Do you struggle to “get” white wine? What is the big deal and why do people enjoy it?
There are wines out there that allow us to understand what the big deal is about a certain category of wine and they are often just waiting to be discovered.
The popular grapes are easy to find: pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay but what if these varietals just don’t do anything for you?
Thankfully, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of varietals of wine for you to explore and all it takes is a bit of courage, adventure and a touch of knowledge to guide you on your wine journey.
Nothing broadens your horizons quite like an unfamiliar grape varietal and that brings us to two interesting and delicious grapes: viognier and Semillon.
Viognier is a rich and creamy style typically found in Australia, France, Canada, South America and South Africa. It features a fuller body and an almost oily texture making it quite luxurious.
The flavors featured in this style are often rich and fruity as well as light and floral. This combination of rich yet light makes it suitable for sipping as well as food pairing.
Since viognier is often un-oaked it does not contain many tannins (there are exceptions) which means it pairs well with glazed pork, chicken and especially light fish dishes like sushi. Try this style if you enjoy your wines on the thicker, more luxurious side.
On to a grape that is internationally recognized but slighter tougher to find in Prince Albert: Semillon.
This grape is grown throughout the world and is used extensively in blends since it is a bit of a chameleon.
Semillon is very good at taking on and accenting the grapes around it and will often be found blended with riesling, chardonnay or sauvignon blanc.
This grape has the ability to age well and high-quality examples like the one I sipped this week have major aging potential.
I recommend picking up a single-varietal Semillon (only Semillon) as well as a blended option so you can compare the two. With time and careful aging, this type of wine develops complex secondary flavors of rich honey, toast, earthy mushroom and cheese or butter.
There is absolutely nothing quite like a Semillon and an aged version is something to behold and savor.
If you don’t quite get why people enjoy white wine or are worried that nothing suits your tastes, don’t give up!
There are so many styles to explore and discover and the next one you sip might be the one that gives you that “lightbulb” moment!
Here are my wine picks of the week!
Henschke Tilly’s Vineyard 2017: (Eden Valley/Adelaide Hills, Australia). Off-dry white, pale lemon/green color.
This white is a blend of Semillon, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, chardonnay and Riesling and carries a bright aroma full of citrus zest, wet rocks, limestone mineral, stone fruits (white peach, apricot), hints of honey and white flowers (lilies).
Citrus pith and limestone mineral character leap onto the palate with plenty of bright acidity to back it up.
Flavors of flinty wet rocks/pebbles, citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) and orange blossom appear as well as fresh nectarine and peach. The light body of this wine makes it incredibly fresh and allows softer notes of creamed honey and toast to come through along with a touch of mushroom and soft cheese or butter.
There is aging potential here with developing flavors of honey, cheese, mushroom and toast. Very good but will be even better with time and proper cellaring! $40, 12% ABV
Cono Sur Viognier 2018: (Chile). Off-dry white, medium lemon color with hints of copper.
The bouquet of this white is floral and fruity with apricots, peaches, ginger, jasmine flower, honey and a touch of mineral zing.
Medium-plus body combined with medium-plus acidity make this a softer, creamier-style wine.
Apricots, peaches, ginger and honey provide flavor but never overwhelm the profile and the wine stays in balance due to its medium intensity.
While this wine seems like it may linger on the edge of being flabby (too much sugar and body, not enough acidity), it never gets there and the lower sugar content and clean fruit flavors keep it crisp. Pair with ginger and fresh sushi or fresh tuna nicoise. Very good! $16, 13.5% ABV
Cheers and thanks for reading!
Aaron Winsor is a Prince Albert product who currently holds a WSET Level 3 certification in wine and will never turn down a good cigar or whisky. Check out his Instagram and Facebook page under Aaron The Wine Guy for wine, whisky and cigar reviews.