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Aromatic thirst-quenching whites

What do we mean by “aromatic”? Derived from the word “aroma” it is perhaps obvious, but worth commenting on, nonetheless, because most wines have aroma of one kind or another. However, when a wine is described as “aromatic”, in wine-speak, the term suggests an aroma which is pronounced, and primarily of a fruity and floral nature, derived from the grape. Different grape varieties have different signature aromas, possessing a high number of natural aroma compounds, which are also found in fruits and flowers. A good winemaker will take care to preserve them in his or her finished wine exactly because they are the essence of the grape. Gewurztraminer is in many ways the most bombastic of these, boasting lychee, roses, lavender, and pink grapefruit among its aromas, and sometimes tangerine. Turkish Delight comes to mind. We have an especially fruity rendition from Chile`s Rapel Valley, “Emiliana Adobe Gewurztraminer 2020, £9.99 per bottle”. Produced from organically grown grapes, the wine represents fabulous value for money, ideal with sushi, smoked salmon, soft cheeses, and Asian food.  For us it`s an easy “go to” with Thai and Chinese takeaways. Other aromatic grapes include Riesling, Muscat, Albarino, Torrontes, Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc. The latter of these has been much discussed in wine circles of late, because of the very particular nature of its aromatics in the Marlborough region of New Zealand. These, it would appear, are not after all an innate compound of the grape, but rather they are formed as a biproduct of yeast action during fermentation. Technically, not aromatic, therefore? Or is this being pedantic? At any rate, they yield exotic aromas, most notably that of passionfruit, and the aroma compound is most prevalent in Sauvignon Blanc grapes picked late. Early picked Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Marlborough are naturally high in levels of organic compounds which give typically green, herbaceous aromas, and the two, the late picked and the early picked, give us the instantly recognisable exotic and zingy wines so renown of Marlborough today.  And while it will wash down well with Thai and Chinese, for me it sings its merriest tune when accompanied, simply, with goat`s cheese on melba toast. Oh boy!




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