White Bordeaux

  (bore – DOE)
Synonyms: None

Wine Name: Bordeaux, White Bordeaux, Bordeaux Blanc and many Bordeaux producer specific names; Sauternes (sweet), Cremánt de Bordeaux (sparkling) USA – White Meritage

Background: This is a traditional blend of the white grapes in the Bordeaux region of France of predominantly Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, but also small quantities of other permitted grapes such as Muscadelle, Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Merlot Blanc, Ondenc and Mauzac which can be added. The exact percentages of each grape may vary from 100% Sauvignon Blanc to 100% Semillon but the most typical blend in recent years is more Sauvignon Blanc dominant. The use of oak aging ranges from none to heavily-oaked flavors. The wines produced are usually full-bodied, dry white wines but the full-bodied sweet Sauternes wines and the sparkling Cremánt de Bordeaux are made from the same grapes.

Classic Brands and Sources: Many Bordeaux producers, Sauternes – Château d’Yquem, Château Rieussec, Château Caillou

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Sauvignon Blanc predominant

Body medium

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – Semillon predominant

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
The Sauvignon Blanc predominant style pairs with medium bodied dishes with moderate acidity, while the Semillon predominant style allows more savory component pairing

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Pairs with heavier fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with both acidic and buttery, creamy or other savory sauces; pastas with tomato sauces or citrus beurre blanc or other wine sauces

Cheese Pairings:
Boursin herbed, Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, Cream cheese, Neufchatel , Saint -Felicien (French cow;s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois


Verdejo

  (ver DAY hoe)
Synonyms: Verdejo Blanco, Gouvelo, Verdal Del Pais, Verdeja, Verdeja Blanca, Verdejo Palido, Verdelho

Wine Name: Verdejo, Rueda Verdejo, White Rioja

Background: Verdejo is probably originally from North Africa but grown primarily in Spain in the Rueda, Toro, Cigales and Rioja regions. Early Verdejo up until the 1980’s was made into sherry type wines since it oxidizes easily. Now through the efforts of Marqués de Riscal and Marqués de Griñon who brought it back from obscurity in the 1980’s, it is made into a full bodied white wine with pear overtones. With age, it may become nutty and honeyed in a few years like a sherry. It is often blended with Macebeo (Viura) and/or Sauvignon Blanc.

Classic Brands and Sources: Alvarez y Díaz, Belondrade y Lurton, Angel Lorenzo Cachazo, Marqués de Riscal, Vega de la Reina, Angel Rodríguez Vidal, Castilla la Vieja

Characteristics:

Style #1 – young, fresh

Body – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – low

Style #2 – aged 3+ years

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry but honeyed

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
pairs well with less acidic, savory dishes with herbs

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
fish/shellfish baked or poached with a savory sauce, or fried, frittatas, seafood pasta, polenta, pesto, white pizzas, risotto, savory soups, vegetable dishes

Cheese Pairings:
American, Colby, Mild cheddar, Velveeta, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar), Fontina, Gouda, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Provolone, Triple Creme, St André, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (without rinds)

Sémillon

  (say-mee-YOWN[French]/ SEM-ill-on[Australia])
Synonyms: Blanc Doux, Boal, Colombier, Goulon Blanc, Gros Semillon, Hunter River Riesling, Monsois Blanc, Petit Semmillon, Sauternes, Semijon, Semilion, Semillon Blanc, White Sercial, St. Emilion, Wynedruif

Wine Name: Sémillon, Wyndruif (South Africa), Hunter Valley Riesling (Australia), Boal (Portugal)

Background: Sémillon is a French grape often used for blending with Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadelle especially in the Bordeaux area of France to reduce acidity and make a more complex wine. Sémillon is also the dominant grape of the sweet French Sauterne wines which are quite famous. They are long lasting dessert wines which are produced from grapes which are affected by “noble rot” (botrytis fungus) that shrivels the grapes causing their sugars to be more concentrated.

Outside of France, Australia also produces dry Sémillon white wines as a varietal, blended or as a sweet dessert wine. As a young varietal, Australian Sémillon is fuller-bodied than a white Bordeaux and has more of the warm climate flavors of apricots and mangoes. Although it does go with fish, its fuller body makes it equal to rich sauces, spicy foods and even meats such as chicken and pork. Aged Sémillon tends to develop flavors of toast and honey.

Classic Brands and Sources: Many Bordeaux producers; Australia – Tim Adams, Bethany, McWilliams, Nepenthe, Peter Lehman, Lindeman’s; USA – Carmenet, Duckhorn Vineyards, Far Niente, Mantanzas Creek.

Characteristics:

Style #1 – as a varietal

Body – medium

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – late harvest (Sauternes)

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
The varietal Sémillon wine pairs with savory dishes that are medium to full bodied. The late harvest wine is a dessert wine pairing with sweet dishes.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Varietal – Pairs with heavier fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with buttery, creamy or other savory sauces; pastas with buttery, pesto or cheese sauces, truffles, smoked salmon
Late harvest – desserts especially those carmel, honey or chocolate-based

Cheese Pairings:
Varietal – Sémillon goes with mild cheddar, Chaumes, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar),Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Triple Creme, St André, St Nectaire, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (with or without rinds).
Late harvest – Sauternes-type dessert wine goes with fruity and nut desserts, nuts, strong cheeses like Roquefort, Blue Cheese

White Rhône

  (white roan)
Synonyms: None

Wine Name: Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Condrieu (Viognier), Ermitage Blanc, Hermitage Blanc,

Background: In the northern Rhône area of southern France (above the towns or Valance and Montélimar) most of the white wines are made from Viognier grapes or Marsanne and Roussane blends. In the southern Rhône area of Châteauneuf-du-Pape the grape varieties used for white wines are Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanche, Clairette Rose, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Picardan, Piquepoul Blanc, Piquepoul Gris, and Roussanne. Sometimes Roussanne is used on its own. The wines can range from lean and minerally to rich and smooth (Viognier or Marsanne-based) but generally they are moderately acidic and have more tannins than many non Rhône whites.

Classic Brands and Sources: Château de Beaucastel, E. Guigal, M. Chapoutier, Paul Jaboulet, Paul Avril, Domaine Vieux Telegraphe, Château Rayas, Cave Yves Cuilleron, Château Grillet

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical non-Viognier-based

Body – low to medium (-)

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – medium to medium (-)

Style #2 – Viognier or Marsanne-based

Body – medium

Acidity – low to medium (-)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
The non Viognier and Marsanne-based whites need acidic foods to be brought into balance while the Viognier and Marsanne-based whites pair better with savory dishes

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape whites – fish, shellfish and chicken or fowl dishes that have acidic sauces or marinades, salads
Viognier and Marsanne-based whites – shellfish, chicken, veal, pork and vegetables prepared with savory butter, cream or mild cheese-based sauces

Cheese Pairings:
Châteauneuf-du-Pape whites – Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, Neufchatel
Viognier and Marsanne-based whites – Mild cheddar, Chaumes, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar),Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Triple Creme, St André, St Nectaire Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (with or without rinds)

Roussanne

  (Roo-SANN)
Synonyms: Roussane Blanc, Bergeron, Barbin, Courtoisie, Fromental, Fromental Jaune, Fromenteal, Fromenteau, Greffon, Greffou, Martin Cot, Petite Rousette, Picotin Blanc, Plant de Seyssel, Rabellot, Rabelot, Ramoulette, Rebellot, Rebolot, Remoulette, Roussane, Roussette, Rusan Belyi, Rusan Blan

Wine Name: Roussanne, Châteaunuef-du-Pape Blanc, St-Joseph Blanc, Crozes-Hermitage Blanc

Background: Roussanne is a white grape from the Rhône Valley in southern France. It can have an intense pear and floral aroma which becomes nutty with age. It is often used in southern white Rhône blends from the Châteaunuef-du-Pape but can be a difficult grape to grow because of susceptibility to mold problems. It is higher in acid than its often paired cousin, the Marsanne grape from northern Rhône but if picked fully ripe, it loses acidity.

Classic Brands and Sources: Château de Beaucastel, Jaboulet, Guigal, Clos des Papes, Frédéric Alquier (France); Alban, Bonny Doon (USA); Mitchelton, D’Arenberg (Australia)

Characteristics:

Style #1 – Rhone

Body – medium +

Acidity – medium to medium (+)

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – warm climate (Australia/California)

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Rhône style pairs with acidic or lightly acidic, medium-bodied dishes when bottled as a varietal. The warmer climate wines tend to be less acidic and go with more savory dishes.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Shellfish, heavier fish, chicken, pork, veal with acidic sauces for the southern Rhone blancs and more savory sauces for the warmer climate Roussanne.

Cheese Pairings:
Southern Rhône blancs pair with Boursin herbed, Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, cream cheese, Saint -Felicien (French cow;s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois
Warm climate Roussanne goes with mild cheddar, Chaumes, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar),Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Triple Creme, St André, St Nectaire, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (without rinds).

Pinot Grigio/Gris

  (PEE-no GREE- gee-oh, PEE-no GREE)
Synonyms: Pinot Gris, Tokay – Pinot Gris, Pinot Beurot, Malvosie (France), Pinot Grigio (Italy), Graüburgunder (Germany) , Malvosie (Switzerland), Szürkebarat (Hungary)

Wine Name: Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris

Background: Pinot Grigio is thought to be a mutant clone of Pinot Noir. This is an all around grape which can be made in styles from dry to sweet. It is usually not made as a high acid grape and it can be honey flavored with age. In most cool climates (Alsace France being an exception), Pinot Gris produces more acidic wines with apple, pear, and a mild flowery aroma with honeyed or honeysuckle overtones. Italian Pinot Grigio would be an example. Alsace in northeastern France has a cool climate but in the fall, the climate is very dry and the grapes can have a long hang time in which they get continued sunshine for ripening. The results in Alsace are more flavors usually associated with grapes grown in a warm climate: melon, ripe bananas and mango and a dry wine with medium acidity. In temperate (non cool) climates such as Oregon and New Zealand, the Pinot Gris grape takes on aromas of flowers, almonds, nuts, apricots and the wine is fruity, “fruit forward”, with lower acidity.

Classic Brands and Sources: Alsace – Trimbach, Weinbach, Zind-Humbrecht; Oregon – A to Z, Evesham Wood, Ponzi, WillaKenzie Estate; Italy – Lageder, Schiopetto, Cavit

Characteristics:

Style #1 – cool climate

Body medium

Acidity – medium (+) to high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – warm climate

Body – medium

Acidity – medium to medium (+)

Sweetness – dry to slightly fruity

Tannins – low

Style #3 – ice wine

Body – medium plus to full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – semi-sweet to sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Cool climate – pairs better with acidic foods. Warm climate – goes with both slightly acidic foods and non acidic savory foods except those with moderate to high butter, fat or oil. Ice wine goes with sweet desserts

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Warm and cool climate styles pair with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with both acidic and light savory sauces; salads, sushi. Ice wine versions pair with sweet desserts.

Cheese Pairings:
Boursin herbed (cool climate), Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat’s cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, Cream (warm weather), Neufchatel , Saint – Felicien (French cow;s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois

Muscat

  (MUSS-kat/ mus-SCAW-toe)
Synonyms: Muscat Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Moscato Bianco, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Lunel, Muscat d’Alsace, Muskateller, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Moscatel Rosé and Sárgamuskotály Varieties: Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Ottonel, Muscat Fleur d’Oranger

Wine Name: Muscat, Moscato or Muscat Canelli (California), Moscato di Asti, Asti, or Fior d’Arancio (Italy), Vin Doux Natural, Muscat de Beaumes-de- Venise (France) , Liquor di Muscat (Australia), Muskateller (Germany), Muscatel (Portugal)

Background: Thought to be one of the oldest grape varietals, Muscat has a distinct perfumed aroma. It can be made into a dry wine, an off dry wine and a sweet dessert wine as well as a sparkling wine of different degrees of sweetness. It is different than the Muscadel grape, the Muscadet grape and the American Muscadine grape although all have moderate perfume aromas. A young Muscat has tastes of rose petals spiked with orange blossoms and perhaps a touch of orange zest and a grapey finish. It is a low acid wine however so it does not last long in the bottle unless it was picked before full ripeness with some residual acidity.

An aged Muscat will turn dark with oxidative changes and develop aromas and flavors of figs, blackberry, coffee, prunes and nuts. Most Muscats are made with residual sweetness to offset the flowery aromas and tastes. Often Muscat is made into sparkling wines or added to sparkling wines in a small amount.

Classic Brands and Sources: Many sources in almost every grape growing country in the world.

Characteristics:

Style #1 – dry

Body – medium

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry but flowery

Tannins – low

Style #2 – off dry

Body – medium +

Acidity – low

Sweetness – slightly sweet

Tannins – low

Style #3 – sweet

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
As a low acid grape the dry style of wine pairs well with savory dishes and if there is residual sugar (off dry), it goes well with medium acid foods and foods that are spicy, savory or slightly sweet. Sweet styles are more for dessert accompaniments.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Pairs with heavier fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with that have spicy or sweet and sour sauces. Pacific rim foods from China, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as Mexican foods and American Barbecue. The hotter the spice, the more residual sugar and lower alcohol level is needed to pair with the food. The sweet versions go with desserts and chocolates.

Cheese Pairings:
dry – Brie with rind, Brin D’Amour, Camembert with rind, Emmental, Feta, Garroxta, most goat cheeses, Muenster, Raclette, Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire, Swiss, Vacherin
off dry – Brick, Colby, Double Glouster, Edam, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Langres, Vermont Shepard
sweet – any rich cheese, blue cheeses, “cheese cake”

Marsanne

  (Mar-SAHN)
Synonyms: Avilleran, Avilleron, Champagne Piacentina, Ermitage, Ermitage Blanc, Ermitazh, Grosse Roussette, Hermitage, Johannisberg, Marsan Belyi, Marsanne Blanche, Marzanne, Metternich, Rousseau, Roussette de Saint Peray, Roussette Grosse, White Hermitage, and Zrmitazh

Wine Name: Marsanne, northern Rhône white blends, Hermitage Blanc, St Joseph Blanc, Crozes-Hermitage Blanc

Background: Marsanne is a French Rhone Valley grape whose young wines have a dry, minerally taste with citrus and peach flavors. Its yields need to be restricted to produce a good wine that is not flabby and oily. It is a low acid but full-bodied wine that goes well with savory dishes. Because of the low acidity, aged examples can oxidize to a very pleasant honey and nut character.

Classic Brands and Sources: Beaucastel, Chapoutier, Guigal, Jaboulet (France); Château Tahbilk. D’Arenberg (Australia); Qupé, Horton (USA)

Characteristics:

Style #1 – dry style

Body – medium (+)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – aged

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – honeyed but not sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs well with lighter weight dishes with savory sauces rather than acidic

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Pairs with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork, veal with savory buttery or creamy sauces

Cheese Pairings:
Varietal Marsanne goes with mild cheddar, Chaumes, Double Glouchester (similar to mild cheddar),Gouda, Smoked Gouda, Manchego, Monterey Jack, Triple Creme, St André, St Nectaire, Zamarano (Spanish sheep’s milk cheese), Brie and Camembert (with or without rinds).
Aged wines go with fruity and nut desserts but not too sweet, nuts, strong cheeses like Roquefort, Blue Cheese

Grüner Veltliner

  (GROO-ner FELT-lih-ner)
Synonyms: Grüner Veltliner, Veltlin Zelene, Veltlinkske Zelené (Czech Republic), Zôldveltelini (Hungary)

Wine Name: Grüner Veltliner (popular nickname “Gru Vee”)

Background: Most common grape in Austria usually produced as a fresh jug wine meant to be drunk young. Moderate acidity, with lentil, celery and white peppery aromas with sometimes a touch of citrus and honey. Not very aromatic but sometimes herbal aromas.

Classic Brands and Sources: Bründlmayer, Fred Loimer, Franz Hirtzberger, Josef Jamek, Emmerich Knoll, Lenz Moser, Familie Nigl, Nikolaihof, Willi Opiz, Franz Xaver Pichler, Prager, Dr Unger, Freie Weingärtner Wachau

Characteristics:

Style #1 – typical Austrian

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry but fruity

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Pairs with acidic dishes and does well especially with stronger vegetables such as asparagus, brussel sprouts etc.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Heavier fish, chicken, pork and veal with citric and other acidic sauces; asparagus with lemon, vegetables with acidic sauces, sushi, fried foods, Wiener Schnitzel, sausage, Japanese/Indian/Thai food.

Cheese Pairings:
Boursin herbed, Brick, Derby, Feta (sheep’s milk), goat cheese, Gouda, Havarti, Majorero (Spanish hard goat cheese) Mahon, Bucheron (French goat cheese), dry Jack cheese, cream cheese, Saint-Felicien (French cow’s milk cheese), Raclette, Pave Affinois

Traminette

 (trah-min-NET)
In the U.S., Traminette is actually a hybrid but so similar to Gewürtztraminer that it can essentially be considered the same.

Synonyms: None

Wine Name: Traminette

Background: The Gewürztraminer/Traminette grape produces a flowery, perfume laden wine with spice. Some describe a good Gewürztraminer as smelling like face cream, cinnamon, lilac, orange blossom and citrus peel, bergamot and honeysuckle. The grape is grown mostly in the Alsace region of eastern France and in Germany. Sometimes it is called Traminer especially in Austria and northern Italy but it is the same grape as Gewürztraminer. French or German vintners may even call their less aromatic grapes Traminer but it is still the same grape. While most white wine grapes are generally high in acidity, Gewürztraminer tends to be low in acidity and thus have a shorter shelf life. It can be made quite dry, semi-sweet or dessert sweet and each style can have its own cheering section.

Traminette is a North American hybrid grape which is a cross between Gewürztraminer and Joannes Seyve 23.416. It tastes similar to Gewürztraminer although perhaps just slightly less flowery and spicey.

Classic Brands and Sources: Many Alsace producers; New Zealand – Dry River; USA – Amity, Eola Hills, Chateau St Michelle, Pacific Rim; Italy – Hofstätter, Elena Walch; Chile – Concha y Toro, Viña Casablanca

Characteristics:

Style #1 – dry

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (-)

Sweetness – dry with floral fruitiness

Tannins – low

Style #2 – off-dry

Body – medium to medium (+)

Acidity – low

Sweetness – off dry to semi-sweet

Tannins – low

Style #3 – sweet

Body – full

Acidity – low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Gewürtz dry and off-dry pairs well with medium-bodied dishes especially those that are spicy, savory or slightly sweet. Sweet versions are usually consumed without food or with a sweet dessert.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Pairs with heavier fish, shellfish, chicken, pork and veal with that have spicy or sweet and sour sauces. Pacific rim foods from China, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as Mexican foods.

Cheese Pairings:
Dry – sheep’s milk cheeses, Cheddar, Fontina, Gruyere, Livarot, Muenster, Raclette