Recently, my taste in wine has shifted radically towards white wines. All other things being equal, I am in a white wine mood two times out of three, though I usually hold back because my fridge hasn't quite caught up. You can blame the local weather, which make makes whites a much better choice, but mostly it's me. I like stylish, expressive wines and, pound for pound, dollar for dollar, those qualities are more easily found in white wines.
Not that I think style and expression cannot be found in red wines, but the oak and higher alcohol obscures them (which is one reason why I and my Old World brethren prefer the more classicaly built red wines). So sure, you've got your over-oaked Chardonnays that don't have the purity I'm looking for, but where my heart is right now is with white wines that derive their aromas and flavor from the fruit and its reflection of its homeland, made by winemakers who might be working some scientific mumbo jumbo but thankfully leave all traces on the cutting room floor.
Of course, I'm not saying you don't have all that with red wines but to get the purity of expression that I'm looking for, you need to invest more money and cellar time. So these wines become wines for special occasions, which brings me to my next point.
I'd share most of wines with friends but I have a more active need to share to share my reds. Because they're usually more expensive and because they bring out the social side in me. With whites wines, I find my enjoyment is a more private one and I don't have a need per se to share. For me, drinking a good white wine is like reading a book and red wine is more like watching a movie or a football match. I am also more confident of my understanding of white wines than I am of reds.
Some Tasting Notes
This week I opened two bottles at home. One was a very good German wine, Donnhoff, Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) QBA, Trocken, 2004, which I'd tasted about a month ago and liked enough to buy but did not enjoy it quite as much as I did at home. It's that "reading a book" effect I mentioned before; sometimes you just have to get through the exposition.
The fruit is tropical at first, backed up by sweet spices on the nose, then it picks up a green apple character, especially on the palate which really is like biting into a firm, cool green apple. Beautiful acidity! I thought at first it was a less heady version of Alsace but I was wrong; it is all Germany, albeit with an illusion of richness that is at odds with alcohol level. I probably underestimated it, its complexity and its potential at the Nahe tasting.
The other was a local white I'd rather expected more of, Pelter, Semillon, 2003.
Light in color and body, delicate apples, lemon and melon aromas and flavors, complemented by honey and herbs. The nose is excellent but the palate simply doesn’t have enough fruit, otherwise it would have been one of the best Israeli whites.
(I hope I'm too harsh with the Pelter. Semillon is very new to Israel and I may have opened it too early or too late and I'm sure Pelter is still learning his way around the varietal. For what it's worth, I'm interested in following future vintages.)