French Whites

For a number of reasons, I drink more French and Italian whites than New World whites.

Oh there are exceptions: Canadian Riesling and Gewurztraminer, are pretty much perfect regardless of the maker. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is justly world famous. McWilliam’s Semillon from Australia is extraordinary. But the rest… well, frankly they’re just not that appealing.

New World wines have almost completely eliminated astringency from their flavour profile. This makes sense. Their drinkers’ palates are formed via soft drinks. If you move to wine from juice and coolers, you’re not going to be hunting a complete flavour set. And if, after such an apprenticeship you should encounter some astringency, or a nice crisp acidity, you’ll probably dislike it.

Astringency is usually felt at the back of the palate. For me it often reveals itself as a sort of slight sensation, almost as if there was a bubble burst at the back of my throat. Barolo is one of the easiest wines to identify this sensation, but you’ll get it from Sauvignon Blanc – at least those that have been tortured into fruitiness by maniacal wine makers.

IF you buy French whites, they will have some oaking – which usually adds a touch of astringency – and making for a bigger molecule thicker wine. My go-to cheap white for the last year has been Chateau Barail, a Bordeaux, semillon-sauv blanc blend. Great wine at a great price.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.