Roncho di Cialli Colli Orientali Del Friuli 2010, Italy - Made from an unusual grape, Ribolla Gialla, the wine is dry, but not as citrusy as the Chardonnays that we get most of the time these days. Did you know? When Americans first liked white wines, we imported Chardonnays, sparkling whites, some Sauvignon Blanc wines, and then sweet white wines like Riesling ... and never explored beyond that. Well I am quickly getting tired of the same old citrus Chardonnay, and I don't like sweet wines. So this Italian white is a nice, different break from all those wines. It has the same citrus smell, but the flavor is more floral with a hint of fruit and some citrus. It has the right complex combination of flavors to suit my palate. Unlike some simpler white wines, this white wine could be eaten with some heaver fish like salmon, but also with turkey.
Famega Vinho Verde NV, Portugal - Seeking an escape from the citrus of Chardonnay (the oaking trend is over, if you hadn't noticed), I tried this blend of white varietals that the Portugese call simply "white". On the nose, there are hints of pear and citrus. On the tongue, it is a very light wine, I tasted citrus but also a floral flavor to balance the citrus. It was missing the complexity I get from other floral white wines, but I didn't mind so much. For those thinking about pairing, I'd recommend simple pasta or white fish dishes, but nothing extremely flavorful. It might be a nice wine to have also with a lemon popsicle or sorbet. Note: if you think the word "verde" in the name means green, you are correct -- it is referring to picking the grapes when they're not very ripe ... not the wine color!
Les Gras Moutons 2010 - a Muscadet made of Melon de Bourgogne grapes from the Loire Valley, I was continuing my exploration of white wines that are not Chardonnay. Intrigued by the notation that the wine was bottled by the wine maker, the new varietal, and that the wine fermented on the lees (yeast from the wine making process), I tried this wine hoping for flavor. There was nothing wrong with this wine, but it didn't compare with a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre that I really love. Note: Interested in my favorite Sauvignon Blanc? Leave a comment to this blog to ask for its name!
Le Poisson 2009, Tunisia - Tasting this wine started as a little bit of a joke for me, because wines don't normally put the food pairing on the label like this. It is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and the label has a big fish head on it. In small print, it says "eat fish". Once I tasted this wine, however, I thought it less of a joke. In the summer, I probably wouldn't eat it with most fish, because this wine was both tart and fruity, I tasted melon and mild citrus flavor in it. A lot of fish prepared in the summer have a milder flavor than this wine. Salmon might survive this wine. For those of you who have tasted whites and feel somewhat particular, I would say that this wine is not heavy on the oak flavor, nor is it heavy on citrus. It has more flavor than many Sauvignon Blanc, but does not taste like any Chardonnay I've had either. If you're not too particular, you might like it.
An experienced writer of 10+ years, Diana's current specialization is wine. Educated by the Institute of Culinary Education in wine, wine regions, and wine tasting, Diana's wine writing has received a thumbs-up from a man with 20+ years of food and wine experience. Diana explores horizons of wine that are not always obvious or easy for most drinkers, and she uses her exploration to inform wine fans about what's out there, so that they may know the full range of wine, and truly find what suits them best—not what's being pushed on them. For of Diana's posts, see her blog, Great Grapes.