Seven popular types of white wine ideal for any occasion

With cooler days and longer nights, is now the time to rethink your white wines? We think so. White wine is ideal for so many occasions, and it’s a more diverse category than many people think.

If you’re stuck for what to choose, these popular types of white wine may point you in the right direction.

 

What are the most popular types of white wine for 2019?

Whether you love a cabernet sauvignon, a specialist fine white wine, or something a little more laid back, there is something for everyone this autumn. A glass of cold white wine always goes down well and is something of a crowd-pleaser.

And as we look ahead to the party season, it could be time to stock up your wine cellar. There are so many fine wines available online that we would always recommend a good browse before making any decisions. In the meantime, here are some delicious whites to try this autumn.

 

1. From the French Loire: Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine

This is a natural white wine. It’s farmed organically and made with no chemical additives. From the Loire Valley, it’s a deliciously balanced white wine. With a buttery yet briny finish the white wine has a sweet and yet slightly salty flavour. It goes brilliantly with seafood dishes and fresh oysters. A great choice for a dinner party as the nights draw in.

 

2. From South Africa: Mulderbosch 2017 Sauvignon Blanc

Fresh, vibrant and clean are the words most commonly used to describe this sauvignon blanc. It has a crisp grassiness, and a hint of green pepper. The finish mellows out through the mineral taste. Ideal for dishes that include asparagus, artichokes or soft cheeses.

 

3. From Sonoma Bay in the US: Outlot 2015 Chardonnay

Chardonnay whites are having a renaissance in 2019. This version is a juicy and intense chardonnay, which has a particularly delicious aroma. Expect notes of peaches, candy floss and apples. It goes beautifully with soft cheeses such as Brie.

 

4. From Austria: Grüner Veltliner Handwerk Reinhard Waldschutz

If you’re less familiar with Austrian white wines, this is a great wine to start with. It’s extremely versatile thanks to its flesh flavour. You will taste notes including lemongrass, white pepper and herbs. As it’s so refreshing, it’s ideal to go with salads, seafood and crispy potato dishes.

 

5. From Portugal: Gazela Vinho Verde

White wine from Portugal and Spain are becoming increasingly popular. The youngest variety on offer is vinho verde, and it’s definitely worth trying. Generally, on the cheaper end of the market, these wines don’t suffer from a lower price point. This version is perfectly light, very crisp and ever so slightly fizzy. Thanks to this combination, you’ll find it stimulates the palate and goes excellently with seafood.

 

 6. From Naples, Italy: Feudi Di San Gregorio Cuttizi Greco du Tufo

Made from a grape called ‘greco’, which is found in the volcanic terroir in the hillsides of Naples, this is a special white wine. It’s great for a celebration or other special occasion, thanks to its minerality, clean flavour and smoky texture. It deserves to be served with a fish dish, such as john dory or turbot.

 

7. From Sardinia, Italy: Poderi Parpinello Ala Blanca Vermentino di Sardinia DOC 2018

White wine lovers are usually more familiar with wines from Sicily. Sardinian versions are less well known. This white is made in the vineyards situated near Alghero in the northern area of Sardinia. Its distinctive flavour includes tropical fruit, lemon and spices, with a fresh and zingy finish.

So, don’t be afraid to try some new white wines this autumn. Just because the nights are drawing in, you don’t have to stick to reds. And as you can see from this list, there are plenty to sample. Look online for some extra special white wines ideal for any occasion.

Looking for the perfect wine holiday? Try a cruise

Wine lovers have it better than ever before, with so many ways to enjoy their favourite drink. From collecting fine wine from specialist sellers to heading out on wine-based holidays, there’s something for every oenophile.

And what could be better than a wine holiday on a cruise ship? There are all kinds of wine cruises, many of which include wine-pairing events on board and exclusive visits to local winemakers. Here’s why a cruise should be your next wine holiday.

 

Why a cruise could be the ideal wine holiday

Cruise liners are clamouring to provide the ideal wine-lovers holiday. Regular cruise goers expect high levels of entertainment, and for the cruise company to provide lots of entertainment choice. Over recent years, this has increasingly included wine-related activities both onshore and on board.

Many cruise lovers are well-travelled, and they also tend to be discerning. This is why cruise liners are now offering some of the best wines in the world in their restaurants and bars. On the right kind of cruise, you can expect to sample everything from world-famous wines to lesser known labels. For example, Cunard serves wine from the novel and growing wine region of Nashik, which is found on the northwest coast of India.

 

Rare vintages and specialist wines on board

Showing the commitment cruise liners now have to providing the best wine experience, Crystal Cruises sends its team of sommeliers to the Napa Valley to blend a unique premium wine. And every year, this special wine sells out.

Cruise liners can buy wine at duty-free cost, making mark-ups on board lower than in premium hotels and restaurants on land. This means cruise goers have the chance to sample high-end wines at lower prices. That doesn’t mean you can’t spend a fortune on a bottle while you’re abroad, but it does mean there are plenty to enjoy at around £20 per bottle.

And while you may not find a Chateau Lafleur 1990, there are high end fine wines available on many cruises. Holland America Line stocks the 2005 Chateau Petrus, Pomerol (France) at $2,300, Cunard the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti ‘Le Montrachet’ 2001 (France) for £4,302 ($5,295). The Crystal Serenity cruise ship boasts a wine list with the rare vintage from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti for around £16,250 ($20,000).

 

Cruise passengers look for luxury wines

And if you’re wondering whether people actually buy wines at this price while on board, the answer is yes. In 2018, Crystal Cruises sold a bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild and a magnum of Chateau Petrus. These sold for more than £1625.00 ($2,000) each.

Many cruise liners offer impressively stocked wine cellars. For example, Crystal Cruises’ passenger ships Serenity and Crystal Symphony each hold around 1,000 people. And to cater to the passengers, each shop carries approximately 300 bottles of dessert wine, 2,500 bottles of champagne, 8,000 bottles of white wine, 2,000 bottles of sparkling wine and 10,000 bottles of red wine.

Cunard’s ship, the Queen Mary 2, holds 2,700 passengers. And it sets sail with more than 45,000 bottles of wine. Storing an entire wine cellar on board has its own challenges. The wines are stowed securely in temperature-controlled rooms in the lower aft part of the liner. This moves less than other parts if the weather gets wild, and for extra protection the bottles are wrapped and stacked in v-shaped wine racks.

 

Wine-related activities and vineyard visits

But it’s not just about the wine served on board. There are a growing range of wine-related activities for passengers to enjoy. For example, the Koningsdam (run by Holland America Line) has its very own wine blending room. Here, passengers can make their own blend of wine under supervision from experts.

Cunard, on the other hand, has teamed up with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET), to offer courses in wine education on board. Classes are run by trained educators and sommeliers. Passengers can complete the WSET Level 1 course in five days or the 12-day Level 2 course.

Many passengers look forward to the destinations as much as being on board. And plenty of cruises are stopping at vineyards along the way. In 2018, Holland America Line offered 23 specialist food and drink excursions for passengers. These include a trip to the Mazzorbo island in Venice, which is world renowned for its vineyards.

Oceana Cruises joins Holland America Line to offer trips to vineyards on the beautiful island of Santorini. This boasts a particularly interesting terroir thanks to the volcanic rock and seat mists. These are just a couple of examples of the vast array of wine-related cruises available.

If you fancy booking one next year, you could book on the Queen Mary 2 for a transatlantic trip to New York. The voyage will include a Festival of Food and Wine and costs from £1,649 per person. Head to cunard.co.uk for more information. Or you could go on the ten-day Wines & Artistry Cruise from Barcelona to London with the opportunity to try wines from France, Portugal and Spain.

What goes into the art of fine wine collecting?

Fine wine collecting is a fascinating asset class for investors. The fine wine market offers numerous financial opportunities for the discerning wine collector. Understanding how industry trends play out is important to understand how to take advantage of it.

 

Why is fine wine collecting so popular?

Wine is a drink that has always been in fashion. Back in the time of the Ancient Greeks, it was extolled as a source of pleasure, as well as a product that boosts economic growth. Thucydides, a Greek historian, wrote in the 5th century BC about civilisation and how it only really began when people learned to “cultivate the olive and wine.”

Many centuries after he wrote about wine, the market continues to thrive all around the world. And in the luxury wine sector, there are plenty of big money deals to be done. In 2016, French wine collector Christian Vanneque laid out an astonishing £75,000 for a single bottle of wine. He bought a bottle of Ch.d’Yquem 1811, and made it the single most expensive white wine sold in history.

 

What makes a successful fine wine collector?

Technological developments and a global economy have transformed wine from simply a pleasurable drink to a source of great financial reward – if you know what you’re doing as a collector. So, how to you build a collection of fine wine?

Successful wine investors and collectors generally have two main qualities. These are an instinct for a good deal, and a passion for fine wine. It’s important to understand the wine market itself, and that fine wine is a luxurious product. It also is one of the few asset classes that improves as it ages. Because it is produced in small, limited quantities, fine wine also becomes rarer over the years.

 

Fine wine is an ever-evolving market

And to successfully invest in fine wine, it’s vital to understand how the market is changing. There have been many changes for the fine wine market during the last ten years. New routes have been opened up, making it easier for fine wine collectors to buy wine from across the world. For example, there has been a surge of US interest in wines sold by traditional London vendors, which has put pressure on an already limited supply.

Buying fine wine online has also become much more accessible and has had the added effect of making fine wine prices more transparent. Social media has also increased the sway and influence of wine critics. In many ways, the fine wine market has become more mainstream. Check out our Collector’s Guide for information on fine wines and how to begin your personal collection.

Changes we are seeing this year include a diminished appetite for Bordeaux fine wines. Around ten years ago, the Asian market upped their interest in this marketplace, which only covered a few wine estates in the region. Due to this interest from Hong Kong and China, prices shot up faster than the secondary growths. By 2013, there was a marked contraction of this market as prices fell away. However, since then it has levelled out into a more mature market.

In 2019, Burgundy is seeing huge price polarisations. For example, the very top of the scale, including Roumier, Leroy and DRC have increased hugely. They are now going for more than £10,000 per bottle. However, other wine estates that used to be considered on a par with these are reaching far lower prices. Ponsot Clos Roche is selling for £3,500 per case of 12 bottles. This is the case for even the finest vintages.

For newcomers to fine wine collecting, the marketplace can appear confusing. It is packed with many different wine merchants, producers, regions and vintages. The best advice is to only buy the finest wines from the best winemakers. Identifying the best wines for your collection is the first step. Second, ensure you buy wines that have been kept under bond. This means in Government controlled warehouses that ensure proper temperature control. This also adds a layer of security that helps to stop the possibility of buying forgeries of fine wines.

 

Break the rules with these unconventional wine and food matching choices

The rules for wine and food are simple: red with meat and white with fish. Similarly, it should always be white in summer and red in winter. At least that’s what most people think. But there’s no need to be so rigid when it comes to food and wine. Here are some unconventional wine and food matching choices that are just as delicious.

Delicious but unconventional wine and food matching options

Free your mind when it comes to choosing wine for your dinner party. Take a look at these pairings and give them a go next time you’re wondering what to drink with your dinner. Here are some unconventional wine and food matching choices that are just as delicious.

1. White wine and cheese

Traditionally, it’s always red wine with the cheese board. But many French cheese producers believe white wine works best. Sweet wines go perfectly with salty blue cheeses, for example. It also works well with creamy mild cheeses, such as camembert and brie.

2. Sparkling rosé and steak

Ask anyone you know, and they’ll more than likely say it has to be a rich, deep red wine for steak. But try your next steak with a sparkling rose, whether a Champagne or from another region, and you’ll discover why it goes so well with a medium rare, perfectly cooked piece of steak.

3. Sauvignon blanc and salt and vinegar crisps

Well, we did say these pairings are unconventional! According to wine director Ferguson Nagan, any Sauvignon Blanc goes beautifully with salt and vinegar crisps. He told the Spectator Wine that it’s his favourite unconventional wine and food pairing. And if olives are more your style of snack, try a Sicilian white wine.

4. Red wine and chicken

White wine is always touted as the best choice for chicken dishes. But it’s most definitely not the only option that works. Try a red wine with a roast chicken. It may surprise you.

5. Rosé and fish

White is also the first choice for fish due to the low tannin content in its grapes. Tannins are responsible for any sharp or bitter flavours in your wine, and when paired with fish can leave a hint of iron on the palate. Examples of high tannin grapes include Nebbiolo, Cabernet and Sangiovese. However, that doesn’t mean you have to choose white for your fish dish. Instead try low tannin wines, such as rosé, Champagne or a red made with Rossesse, Grenache or Pinot Noir grapes.

6. Sparkling wine and a rich dessert

Rather than choosing a sticky, sweet dessert wine or another glass of red, opt for a sparkler for your dessert. In general, you should avoid wines that are the same level of sweetness as your dessert. However, prosecco, Champagne and demi-sec are all bubbly and forgiving with flavour.

7. Chardonnay and popcorn

Popcorn is full of toasty flavours of the corn itself, and either a savoury or sweet finish. A creamy Chardonnay goes really well with this popular snack and could really lift movie time into something special.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to pairing wine with food. The best thing to do is try different combinations until you find your favourite.

Research says red wine is good for your health – here’s why

Researchers from King’s College London say their new research shows red wine is good for your health. The findings suggest that red wine increases the number of different good bacteria in your gut, which improve general health.

The research team say that the benefits from red wine comes from the polyphenols present. These compounds are still present in cider, beer and white wine, but in much smaller quantities. They’re also found in many vegetables and fruit, which is why they’re so good for you.

Wine is good for your health, but how much should you drink?

Just one glass of red wine every two weeks is enough to make a positive difference to your gut health. The researchers say that it’s about limited quantities of the high levels of polyphenols.

Polyphenols are present in lots of plant foods. The micronutrients are full of antioxidants, which is why they offer health benefits. Current scientific thinking suggests that polyphenols can help improve digestive issues, help to manage weight, control diabetes and improve the prognosis for people suffering from cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disease.

The polyphenols present in red wine include resveratrol, which comes from the skin of the grapes. They are thought to act as fuel for the useful bacteria and microbes that live in the bowel.

Gut bacteria is essential for good health

Human guts are crammed with trillions of micro-organisms and bacteria. It’s these so-called ‘friendly’ bacteria that work to keep us healthy. A growing raft of research shows that tiny alterations to the microbiota in our gut can make us much more susceptible to illnesses. The common problems associated with this include irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, heart disease and mental health.

If we eat poor diets, have sedentary lifestyles or even take certain types of medication, it’s possible that the fine balance of our gut health can be destroyed. And that’s what leads to illnesses.

The King’s College London study on the possible health benefits of red wine was published in medical journal Gastroenterology. It studied thousands of people and their eating and drinking habits from all around the world. Participants from the Netherlands, the US and the UK, are all twins. During the study they reported on their diet, what they eat, what they drink and what type of alcohol they regularly ingest.

Red wine drinkers show diversity in gut bacteria

Red wine drinkers from the study showed much more diverse gut bacteria than those who drink other alcoholic drinks, or none at all. And the more red wine you drink, the more the good bugs multiply. However, the researchers say that none of the people studied are heavy drinkers.

Just one glass a week or a fortnight, depending on your gut makeup, is enough to reap the microbe advantages of red wine. Needless to say, heavy drinking is not encouraged by the research team. They warn that drinking too much red wine will have a poor effect not only on gut bacteria, but the overall health of the person.

As this is what’s called an ‘observational’ study, it does not prove red wine is good for the gut. However, it can be surmised that if you want to drink something, red wine is probably better for you and your health than other alcoholic drinks.

Researcher Dr Le Roy says that she wants to do further study on people drinking red wine or red grape juice without alcohol. She tells BBC.com: “Gut bacteria is complex, and we need more research. But we know that the more diversity there is, the better it appears to be for our health.”