What's Hot in the World of Wine: Gewürztraminer, Rieslings & Spanish Whites





Once a fortnight, CellarVie Wines will peruse the weekend’s newspapers to determine what’s hot in the world of wine, offering up views and possible alternatives to the nation’s big-hitting publications and their wine suggestions. In the first instalment of ‘What’s Hot’, it appears a number of esteemed wine journalists are turning their focus towards white wine and in particular lesser known or at least less established varieties, as thoughts turn to spring…

Gewürztraminer

Last week Suzy Atkins of The Sunday Telegraph took an in-depth look at the opinion polarising white grape, Gewürztraminer. While some loath the seemingly archaically out-dated bottle shape and label, and/or the “lack of info on sweetness/dryness”, Atkins champions the complexity and the versatility of the grape grown in France’s Alsace region. In an age of increasingly identikit whites, The Telegraph intimate the “unique perfume, wafting up rosewater, Turkish delight, lychee and apricot; its ripe texture and juicy fruit-cocktail flavours” makes Gewürztraminer a delightful tipple, and we here at CellarVie Wines agree.

CellarVie Wines says: Gewürztraminer tends to create a very unique flavour with a particularly spicy undertone, but they are well worth trying and none more so than a bottle of Gewürztraminer Alsace 2007, F.E. Trimbach, which is a lovely accompaniment to any Thai dish because it works superbly with lime and lemongrass, which tend to be present in this aromatic cuisine.

Why not try:

Villa Maria Private Bin Gewürztraminer 2010, East Coast (£9.99)

Gewürztraminer Alsace 2009, Martin Zahn (£9.99)


Australian Rieslings

The inimitable Bob Tyrer from the Sunday Times focused on Australian Rieslings a week ago and although he does so in his typically whimsical way, the man is on to something.

CellarVie Wines says: Like the Gewürztraminer grape aforementioned, Australian Rieslings are a uniquely enticing flavour that is often overlooked or unfairly maligned. Although usually the stuff German whites are made from, the citrusy tones and refreshingly juicy acidity of Australian Rieslings, retain a full-bodied flavour, and are definitely worth a try. New Zealand produces an equally flavoursome Riesling that is beautifully balanced and lovely at this time of year as well.

Why not try:

Leasingham Magnus Riesling 2009, Clare Valley (£10.99)

Drylands Dry Riesling 2011, Marlborough (£11.99)


What to drink with salad

On Sunday, Atkins from the Sunday Telegraph focused on a number of wines that bring the best out a humble salad recipe, namely “crisp, streamlined, unoaked whites”. Dismissing “rich, tannic reds” and “big creamy whites” as “absolutely nots”, she believes a bottle of Vermentino (green bean salad), Riesling (Singapore salad) or Chenin Blanc (with a chicken and orange salad) would ideally marry their respective flavours with the salad in question.

CellarVie Wines says: As winter turns to spring (hopefully), there is nothing better than a lovely “light, whistle-clean” white, as Atkins suggests. Additionally (although Easter is nearly upon us and with it the predictably indulgent mountains of chocolate) a nice green salad is lovely at this time of year, so we agree with Atkins, and would suggest a glass of Nederburg Late Harvest as its honey-comb, pineapple and lush flavoured tones remind you of the summer to come.

Why not try:

La Cala Vermentino di Sardegna 2009, Sella & Mosca (£10.99)

Leasingham Magnus Riesling 2009, Clare Valley (£10.99)

Nederburg Winemakers Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2008 (£12.49)


Spanish White Wine

Continuing the theme of championing uniquely flavoured white wines at this time of year, the Observer on Sunday praised the virtues of Spanish whites in particular. Highlighting the advancement in grape growing since the early 1990s, David Williams believes a generation of winemakers from Spain have started to integrate “their influences from around the world rather than the bodega up the road," to produce whites that excel because of the “indigenous grape varieties”.

CellarVie Wines says: While Spain, and in particular Rioja (see our interview with CVNE winemaker Maria Larrea from last week) are famed for their full-bodied reds, there is an increasing trend for palatable whites. While they are not to everyone’s liking, and not as established as their more recognised European cousins, the team at CellarVie think they are definitely worth a try. While you wouldn’t necessarily associate Chardonnay with Spain, the Torres Milmanda Chardonnay Conca de Barberà 2007 is the perfect “hotch-potch of varieties” example that the aforementioned Williams highlights in the Observer.

Why not try:

Torres Milmanda Chardonnay Conca de Barberà 2007 (£24.99)

Albariño Paco & Lola 2010 (£14.49)


Australian Chardonnay

Bob Tyrer continued his Australian theme from the previous week on Sunday, by celebrating the virtues of Chardonnay from down under. Praising Tod Dexter and his winemaking influence garnered from his “seven-year apprenticeship with Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley, California”, the Sunday Times stalwart believes Dexter Chardonnay and its Australian contemporaries such as Stonier Reserve Chardonnay and Kooyong Clonale Chardonnay are well worth their lofty price-tags.

CellarVie Wines says: Australian Chardonnays can be pricey but particularly at this time of year the freshness and acidity of the grape is a lovely accompaniment to a warm (with any luck) spring afternoon. A Barossa Valley Estate E Minor Chardonnay 2009 will set you back a modest £11.99 so if you're harder up that Mr Tyrer you needn’t break the bank to enjoy.

Why not try:

Wirra Wirra The 12th Man Chardonnay 2008 (£15.99)

Houghton The Bandit Chardonnay-Viognier 2008 (£9.99)


And finally…

A satirical website taking aim at the wine industry’s well-documented use of over-elaborate and at times confusing descriptions of wine and its taste, was passed around the office last week. An 1875 Pinot Noir, from the ‘Fiat’ Winery has “a domestic potato aroma and flatulent urine essence” according to the phrase generator, but while its results are amusing, it does perhaps make a pertinent point. Descriptions used in the industry are inaccessible or mean very little to the average wine consumer.

CellarVie Wines says: We will try and leave the camphor, hibiscus, graphite and any other seemingly mystical tones to a bare minimum. 

 

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