I tasted a white wine today that realigned my analytical approach to whites. Medium in body with crisp acidity and just enough oak influence to give it curves on the palate, the wine was far from being varietally correct – and with good reason. It was a blend. Having tasted tons of high acid Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, refreshing Roses from around the world and quaffing-worthy Pinot Grigio this summer, I was pleasantly at ease with the balance of the blend and quickly realized just how charming well-made examples can taste. Commonly presented as an aperitif wine in Europe, blended whites are not fashionable in America. Instead we like to call our wine by its first name – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling etc. Doing so allows us to anticipate the flavors behind the labels – blend a few of these together and we lose our ability to size it up without tasting first. To make matters worse, blended wines often carry clever names such as Conundrum leaving us in total aroma profile hell. Yet today I tossed out the expectation theory and tasted the”white table wine” without giving it a second thought. Who cares what the grapes are afterall – the real question is “Do I like what I tasted?” And I did. Stainless steel fermented Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc fermented on the skins (rare for whites), Chardonnay maturated in a bit of oak, and an unual Italian grape called Ribolla Gialla fermented in small barriques worked in perfect harmony to round out the blend. How cool is that? By treating each variety separately, the winemaker was able to layer flavors making the sum better than its parts. The wine, rightfully coined Freakout, is produced by Luna Vineyards . At $14.99 a bottle, the wine offers more than a great deal – so mix it up and give the blend a try. Cheers.
About the Author: Marianne Frantz
A Certified Wine Educator, Marianne holds a Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) of London, and has also earned the Advanced Sommelier qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. After successfully participating in an educational competition sponsored by the Wines of Australia in the spring of 2008, Marianne became an educational Ambassador for Wine Australia USA. She is also a Certified Spanish Wine Educator.