Beyond Varietals…Blended White Wines (Part Two)

In our previous column, we talked briefly about blended red wines, and listed some of the classic blends from around the world. In this weeks column we will review some of the more popular white blends, and also introduce you to some newer eclectic blends that are quickly gaining popularity. Enjoy!

• White Bordeaux

Wine labeled as White Bordeaux may only contain the following grape varieties:  Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle, Ugni Blanc, Colombard, Merlot Blanc, Ondenc and Mauzac. Typical blends are usually 80 percent Sémillon, 20 percent Sauvignon Blanc.

• Meritage White Blends

Meritage blends are made in the same style and using the same grapes as the Bordeaux blends described above. As you may know, “meritage” is a term coined by the Meritage Association that allows its members to market both Red and White wine blends that are made outside of Bordeaux, exclusively using traditional Bordeaux varietals. Under Association licensing rules, a white wine may be designated as Meritage or Meritage White Wine if it is limited in production (not more than 25,000 cases), is the winery’s best wine of its type, and is a blend of two or more grape varieties traditionally used in Bordeaux white blends, no one varietal making up more than 90 percent of the blend.

• White Rhone Blends

These blends are gaining popularity with winemakers outside of France’s Rhône valley and include the native Rhône grapes Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Ugni Blanc, Clairette and Viognier.

• Champagne Blends

Though technically not a blend of all white grapes, the three grapes used to make Champagne are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

• White Graves

The majority of the White Graves wines are made with a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The amount of each varietal in the blend can vary, with some of the greatest White Graves containing very little Semillon and others as much as 60 percent.

• Sauternes

The famous sweet wines from Sauternes are made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines. The blend is primarily Sémillon grapes with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatelle playing a supporting role.

White Wine Blends:

• Luna Freakout Napa Valley 2007

A blend of Pinot Grigio, Ribolla Gialla, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay

Appearance:  A clear pale golden color

Aroma:  Floral notes in the nose with a hint of spice

Flavors:  Juicy melon, peach and apricot flavors

Finishing Notes:  Becomes intense with a bit of smokiness, long rich finish

Where To Buy:  Fish Creek Market, Madison Avenue Wine Shop and Main Street Market

Where To Try:  The Mission Grille

• “J” Cuvee 20 Sparkling Wine (Champagne) California

A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Menuier

Appearance:  A golden straw color with intense bubbles

Aroma:  Lemon and honeysuckle on the nose

Flavors:  Adds yeast with the aromas along with apple, toast and grapefruit notes

Finishing Notes:  Lively with a hint of citrus zest on the lush finish

Where To Buy:  Madison Avenue Wine Shop, The Wine Cellar and Serves U Right

Where To Try:  The Top Deck at Gordon Lodge and The Mission Grille

• Conundrum California 2007

A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli and Viognier

Appearance:  A pure golden hue

Aroma:  Bright green apple, honeysuckle and orange blossom in the aromas

Flavors:  Fresh pear, apricot and vanilla with a nice compliment of citrus tones

Finishing Notes:  Finishes crisp yet balanced, long clean finish

Information about “Where to Try” and “Where to Buy” these selected wines was provided by the local wine purveyors and vendors. If you happen to also serve or sell these wines, email [email protected].

WINE:30 is written by Karl Bradley and Jody Wuollett. Karl is the general manager and self-proclaimed “sous” sommelier for the Mission Grille. Former restaurant executive and Door County native Jody is happily under-employed as a Mission Grille food server and a member of the local band Northbound. They are both long time residents and first time contributors to the Peninsula Pulse.

Wine Wiki:  Conundrum

Conundrum is a logical postulation that evades resolution, an intricate and difficult problem