Thirsting for new white wines to fall in love with? These ‘new wave’ varieties might be just the thing you’re looking for!
It’s hard to beat a glass of Australian Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. But did you know there are a host of alternative or ‘new wave’ whites that are equally deserving of your affections?
Winemakers love them for their hardy, drought-resistant natures, while wine lovers are discovering just how compatible their flavour profiles are with the kinds of occasions and cuisines we enjoy so much.
Here are some of our favourites!
1. PINOT BLANC
A mutation of its much-admired cousin Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc grapes tend to result in dry, crisp wines of considerable character, though creamier styles are also possible through fermentation and the use of oak.
Generally, one can expect a minerally, fruity palate packed with apple and melon flavours.
Try it if you like: Mid-weight Chardonnay
2. GRÜNER VELTLINER
Grüner Veltliner is the most famous and widely-planted white variety in Austria. Here in Australia, it thrives in cool climates such as Adelaide Hills.
An elegant, complex and savoury variety, it has a richness and distinctive peppery aroma that makes it a real charmer – especially when served with a spicy Asian dish.
Try it if you like: Richer-styled Riesling
3. CHENIN BLANC
The spiritual home of Chenin Blanc is the Loire Valley in France.
It’s one of the most versatile grape varieties in world, with a highly acidic backbone enabling it to be made in many different styles, but generally Chenin Blanc turns out bright and fresh wines that most commonly show notes of green apple and pineapple, ideal for late, sunny afternoon sipping!
Try it if you like: Bright and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc
While little-known here in Australia, this white varietal has a long and distinguished history in its native Italy, where it is one of that country’s most widely-planted historic varieties.
The classic Garganega style is characterised by notes of peach blossom, almond, apricot and baked golden apples, making this a lush and lovely wine to enjoy any time of year.
Try it if you like: Dry, light-bodied Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc
Fiano is one of the native grapes of the southern Italian region of Campania.
Taking its name from vitis apiana, “the vine beloved of bees”, Fiano wines can range in style from light and fresh to full-bodied and rich.
Stone fruit and citrus flavours and almond are common throughout the spectrum of styles, while honey notes appear in the richer expressions.
Try it if you like: Pinot Grigio or Semillon
Originally from France, Viognier could have easily slipped into extinction had it not been for the love shown by wineries in the USA and Yalumba here in Australia.
Viognier makes fully-bodied white wines with peach, apricot, ginger and citrus notes most common in the end result.
It can be high in alcohol, and may have a smooth – and sometimes oily – texture.
Try it if you like: Full-bodied, richly-styled Chardonnay