Each Friday we highlight a wine from the Northwest that we think is a real "find." By find we might mean that it's a steal, as all of these wines we'll feature weekly are at or under $20. We might also mean "Hey, you really need to go find this" and it might be a wine that we feel not enough people know about. In any case, with the weekend pending we're hoping to help you "find" a wine to kickoff the weekend right. We'll tell you a little bit about the wine and try to help you track it down here in the Northwest.
I'm always mystified by the comment "I only drink _______ wine." The missing word is not "expensive", or "German" or even "single vineyard", as at the very least, all of those would be slightly more interesting. No, folks who make these statements usually fill in the blank with one of two words, "white" or "red."
Sometimes, it's "white." There are those folks who are, or believe they are allergic to red wines. "It's the sulfites" they usually say, even though many white wines actually contain higher concentration of sulfites. I don't mean to debate or dismiss the "allergic to red wine"crowd. That's another post for another day, but I do want to focus on our friends who "Don't drink white wine."
More often than not, with folks who've chosen one "type" of wine over the other, they typically don't drink white wine, they dismiss it as sweet, cheap, for summer, for girls, for kids, for Germans. Whatever. I have my own theories and I'll run them down for you here, as well as offer this week's Friday Find, a take on a white blend that I think just might be a white wine for red wine drinkers.
I believe that people who "don't drink white wine," make this mistake for three primary reasons.
Reason 1: They don't think of white wine as "serious" wine. This could stem from a number of things: a bad experience with bad white wine, sweet Moscato, Franzia, or a more simplistic understanding of what makes wine "serious". As people begin learning about wine and the winemaking process they learn that often times, (but not always) it's red wine that's put away to age and ferment in barrels and white wine goes into stainless steel. How can that be a serious wine they might ask, I mean, barrels are what wine is all about. Well, this logic requires a very simple response. White Burgundy. There, if you don't believe that white wine is serious drop somewhere in the $50-150 range on a Chardonnay from Burgundy (these are aged in barrel by the way). You'll change your tune in a heartbeat. The white wines from Burgundy may be the most profound wine experience you can have, period. They age for decades and they deliver a complexity that almost no wine, of any color can match.
Reason 2: Fruity Mc Fruiterson. People may have had some "white wines" that were loaded with tropical or citrus fruits, this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's certainly a different flavor profile than they've experienced in their red wines. This is often a result of a fruit forward varietal done in a crisp style and it's absolutely fantastic, but for "red wine drinkers" who are used to having a significant oak influence on their wines, it can be off putting. "Where's the smoke? The vanilla? The cedar?" It's not here my friends, and it doesn't belong. Diversity is a beautiful thing and so not all wines should taste alike.
Reason 3: Body. I think that for the majority of "red wine drinkers" what they experience in a white wine comes off as thin or overly acidic, angular instead of rounded. For the record, I disagree with them, but this is the conclusion I've drawn as to why many folks are put off by "white wines". For me there are few things more beautiful than the brilliant acidity of Riesling or a Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) from the Loire. Red wine drinkers however are used to more rounded flavor profiles, often a result of that aforementioned oak, but also because of the ripeness and fuller body that is common for many, but not all red varietals.
To that end and hopefully to provide a gateway wine we bring you today's Friday Find. From Syncline Wines, the 2011 Subduction White, a white Rhone style blend. The reason I think this just might be the gateway white for "red wine drinkers" is the body that many of these white Rhone varietals have. This wine is a blend of Roussanne and Marsanne which give the wine a body and fullness that "red wine drinkers" will love is balanced with Viognier, Picpoul and Grenanche Blanc. The wine balances bright fruit aromatics with layers of complexity on the palate, honey, hay, beeswax and wet stone mix with flavors of citrus fruit and pear. At $20 it's a well priced gateway wine. You'll thank me later.