White Wine For The Red Wine Drinker

I asked last week for some blog post recommendations and a few good suggestions came in.  Today I decided to respond to @poutinequeen who asked for a few white wine suggestions for the red wine drinker.

It’s actually a great question… hence my decision to use this space to answer it.  Let’s start by debunking a few myths.  First, some people claim if you like red wine you don’t like white wine and vice versa… false.  If you like wine and you really appreciate it you probably like both or at least some varieties and styles within each.  Second people often believe that you start by drinking white wine until you learn to appreciate red wine then you never go back.  Wrong again.  I admit I started on white wine, moved onto red and hesitated to go back.  But only because I didn’t know what to think of white wine and what to try.  I also thought it was the the easier and fruitier style.  I essentially thought white wine was a bit lame which is simply not true.  Finally there is a belief that red wine is always fuller bodied and is the wine for anyone who truly likes wine.  Therefore if you want to be a “wine drinker” you must drink red.  White is for those who really don’t understand wine.  Wow! That all could not be further from the truth.  With all that said I admit that I am primarily a red wine drinker.  But I do appreciate a good white wine from time to time and under the right circumstances.

But answering this question is still tough.  I am going to have to narrow things down by making a few assumptions.  If you exclusively drink red wine I have to assume you like full bodied wine.  I also have to assume you probably eat a lot of rich foods and a lot of meat, and pair your wine appropriately with those dishes.  Finally I have to assume that you probably have determined certain wine varieties and regions you particularly enjoy, otherwise you would not have been able to ascertain that you are in fact a red wine drinker.

So it is with those assumptions that I move on to answer this question.  Here’s what you do.
1) Drink Full Bodied White Wine
Yes you can get very full bodied white wines.  Try a Chardonnay from Carneros in California, anything from the Burgundy region in France, or even a Viognier.  Stay away from the anything off-dry or higher in sweetness as well as your typical light fruity wines (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Torrentes etc.)
2) Pair the wine appropriately with your food
Start drinking white by making the right pairings.  You can’t help but enjoy white wine more than red if you are eating chicken or fish.  So the next time you are making a dish with either of those pair it and see what you think.  It is also very common to pair slightly fruitier wine or wines with a bit of sweetness with spicy food.  The residual sugar, acidity, and fruit help cut the spice in the dish which will help you enjoy the wine more.
3)  Pick a white wine from the same region as the reds you enjoy
It’s common for most famous regions to produce both red and white wines.  It’s also common for the wine making techniques and overall procedures and regulations to be very similar.  So if you like a particular region for your reds try some of the whites from that region.  For example Burgundy is probably the most famous region in the world for premium Pinot Noir but also for premium Chardonnay.  In Piedmont Italy they make huge classic Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s but also make a wonderful white wine called Gavi.  So that’s another nice place to start.  You have to narrow right down to the region though, it’s not enough to assume an Italian white will be good if you like Italian red’s.  Narrow down as far as you can.

Does that answer a few questions out there?  Does that help make the shopping experience easier?  Does that broaden your mind a little bit in the world of wine?  I hope so because those are really the focuses of this blog.  Comments and feedback are very much appreciated.

Enjoy your white wine!!!

– Mark
Follow me on Twitter: @towineman 


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