White varieties

ChardonnayIt is nowadays the most popular white grape variety in the world. It is planted in practically every important wine country and in many of them it is the most numerous representative. Its fame comes from the wine called Chablis (region in France situated near Burgundy) which is characterized by many people as the exemplar of white wine. Well, probably everybody heard the name Chardonnay at least once. However, the French make their wine in a different way than the New World producers. What is interesting, this variety does not have any specific taste or bouquet, which would allow us to distinguish it blindly during the tasting. In principle you can say we distinguish two types of chardonnay. Those being made in oak and those, which are not. Let us start with the latter. As I mentioned before, we can have such wine in Chablis, but also in Maconnais in France, in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Spain or Australia. I could describe its taste in particular regions but I think this variety deserves a separate tasting with regard for its diversity. I can only say here that chardonnay without barreling gives wine characterized by nice, mild fruitiness, with the scent of peaches, citruses and sometimes even apples. In taste they present a balanced acidity and uncomplicated finish. The wine which is aged in a barrel, is the higher-class wine of Chablis and first and foremost wine production from the New World. Repeatedly it leads to “over-barreling”, which then results in a strong, buttery bouquet, vanilla and caramel, but at the same time gives the wine very strong, massive character. Unusual popularity of Chardonnay, described by me before, made customers stop buying it. There is even a saying: ABC – Anything but Chardonnay. Its big time the variety had in the 90’s.  Riesling
The grapes of this variety like colder climate and give wine totally different from chardonnay. The most popular place of their cultivation is, naturally, Germany, but it is worth mentioning Austria, Alsace (France), Australia and New Zealand too. There are other places where Riesling grows, but in slender quantity. Its characteristic bouquet constitute: green apple, lemon, lime and minerals. In warmer climate it can also smell of peaches or pears. Sometimes it has a very specific smell of oil, musk or nuts. Riesling, as opposed to Chardonnay, ripen very well and after years it can give wine of a very diverse bouquet and surprisingly elegant, well-balanced taste. Some people call Riesling “the King of white wines”, the reason of which is its huge variety of taste and bouquet.  Sauvignon BlancThis variety, as opposed to Chardonnay, is nowadays on the top. More and more allotments are planted with it and the producers count on pulling out from it its natural freshness, energizing bouquet and the briskness of the lime syrup. The truth may be brutal, however, and very often we can taste poor, unbalanced Sauvignon Blanc, where the bouquet resembles “feline urine” and has vegetable scents. What is more, the taste is bitter and unpleasant. However, if we come across a well made wine of this variety, it can pay back with a great scent and wonderful taste. Usually we deal with the bouquet of grass, nettle, gooseberry, blackcurrant leaves, figs and citrus and tropical fruit. Sauvignon Blanc is also aged in oak wood. Then, it gives wine of lesser freshness but is more complex and stronger in taste. Nowadays, this variety becomes very international and is planted in Loire Valley (Sancerre, Pouilly – Fume), Bordoeaux, Austria, Hungary, Italy, RPA, Australia, Argentina, USA, Canada, Chile and, of course, New Zealand which seems to have perfect climate for cultivating this variety.  GewurztraminerAn unusually aromatic and direct grape variety. It is said to be tailor-made for the beginning amateurs of wine. It is simply easily recognizable thanks to its strong taste and uniqueness. In milder wines we will find flowers and lavender bouquet, in stronger-built ones – smells like scented; rose and spicy. In boritrized wine (this is wine made from grapes on which a noble mold grows, giving a very specific smell and taste) you can feel raisins, honey, musk and vegetables. The main area of cultivation is Alsace, where truly model, of any possible characters, wines are made. However, this does not discourage producers from other countries like: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Hungary and the New World countries like USA (California, Washington State, Oregon), Australia or New Zealand and, last but not least, Chile. They all produce it with bigger or smaller success.