There are a number of white wines that you can enjoy, but have you ever heard of blended wine? Andrew Barrow explains more.
Nothing can top a lightly chilled glass
While I do like a crisp and pungent Sauvignon Blanc and nothing can top a lightly chilled glass of minerally Chablis, I do have a secret love of wine blends. The mix of grape varieties is inherently greater than the component parts, although many label blended wines as being inferior to single varietal wines.
Sauvignon Blanc vs Bordeaux
Think how vastly improved Sauvignon Blanc is from Bordeaux, with the addition of a little Semillon. The vignerons of the Rhône must agree, for I don’t recall seeing single varietal wines from this most famous of French wine regions.
Le Redonne Côtes du Rhône
Jean-Luc Colombo’s La Redonne Côtes du Rhône is a case in point. The aromatic Viognier is joined with a large splash of Roussane to make a stonkingly great wine full of character, texture and a finish they describe as ‘sensual’. Well worth picking up, especially as it is often on offer for under a tenner a bottle; worth every penny. Viognier on its own is fine, a little flowery for some but adding Roussane gives greater depth and complexity.
They also think so in Chile, where Errazuriz have crafted a wine called The Blend. The white version of the Errazuriz The Blend 2011 has Roussanne combined with Marsanne and Viognier. It is superbly delicious. However, it’s not cheap at £22 but the quality is outstanding. Each of the three varieties is vinified separately, aged in a little oak for 6 months before blending.
Of course not everyone can spend such amounts on a bottle. At the everyday/mid-week/under a tenner category you can find wines with so much more character than bland ol’ Pinot Grigio or mouth-puckering Chardonnays of dubious quality.
Find a bottle of Curator’s Choice Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon from South Africa. For the price, this offers a fabulous aroma and a ripe, ‘oh so easy’ to drink peach and apricot led palate. There is enough fruit to drink on its own, but also plenty of crisp acidity to enjoy with food. Chicken, creamy sauces and so on would be great.
It is quite often the case that a wine labelled with a single grape variety will in all likelihood contain a splash or two of other varieties, simply to give greater depth, more complex flavours and enhanced aromas. The three bottles above don’t need such ‘subterfuge’ to entice the buyer to buy a humble ‘blend’.