Thursday Night Wine Tasting–Those Other White Wines

Craig, an employee at Fine Wines of Stockton, presented the wine tasting Thursday night. He prepared a list of “Those Other Whites” for our consideration which included nine varietals and their descriptions. They included Albarino, Arneis, Auxerrois Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne, Muscadet, Muscadelle, Pinot Blanc, Semillon and Torrontes. Craig poured 6 wines and our assignment was to choose our first and second favorite. We could also guess the varietal if we liked.

Along with the wines Gail T prepared tasty nibbles for us that included two kinds of cheese, crackers, french bread, grapes,apples and peanut butter cookies. Yum!

2008 Sauvion Muscadet Sevre et Maine – The color was a medium yellow.The nose smelled like cheese initially, then blew off leaving a very closed nose. It tasted of minerals and citrus with a lot of acid. The finish was long with flavor and acid. As this wine warmed up, it became more flavorful. This wine drinks well on its own, and would be good with shellfish or pasta with a rich creamy sauce. There was some flavor memory present with this wine, I thought it was a Muscadet. One of only three I correctly guessed! This was the group’s third favorite wine. It received 1 vote for favorite and 3 votes for second favorite.

2009 La Cana Albarino – The color was a medium yellow. The nose was very distinctive and difficult to describe. It was slightly herbal. The flavors tasted of bitter citrus – like the white pithy part of orange or grapefruit peel. The wine had a lot of acid and a long finish with flavor and acid. I didn’t find the bitterness particularly pleasant tasting. I actually had no idea what varietal this was so, I cleverly and incorrectly, choose Pinot Blanc as the varietal.

2009 Roero Arneis – The color was medium yellow-green. The nose was toasty and smelled of green apple peel. The flavors tasted of apples, citrus and minerals. This wine had a rounder mouth feel and even looked more viscous in the glass. The acid was very good and the finish fairly long. This wine had the most complex flavors of the group. It was the overall favorite of the group, receiving 3 votes for first place and 1 vote for second. I correctly identified this varietal as Arneis.

2008 Argento Reserva Torrontes – The color was medium yellow. The nose on this wine was stinky initially, but blew off to show a floral nose. The flavors were floral as well, with lots of acid and a fairly long finish. The nose on this wine was described by tasters as perm solution and lipstick. We had quite a lively discussion about this wine, with the men in the crowd left shaking their heads regarding the lipstick and perm solution descriptors. It was fun! We finally described this wine as “gender specific”. I incorrectly identified this varietal as Albarino. I didn’t think it quite had the nose and flavors I associate with Torrontes.

2008 Schloss Grunhaus Weissburgunder – the color was medium yellow. The nose smelled toasty followed by toasty flavors with green apples. The acid was significant and the finish moderate in length with the flavor of green apples. This German wine is a blend of 80% Pinot Blanc and 20% Auxerrois Blanc. For reasons that are still unclear to me, I thought this was a Semillon. You may stop laughing now! This wine was the groups’ second favorite. It received 2 votes for first and 2 votes for second place.

2006 Chateau LaTour Martillac – the color was medium yellow. The nose was floral with flavors like flower petals (hyacinth) and lots of acid with a very long finish of acid and flavor. We just tasted the 2007 vintage of this wine last week and it tasted very different. This wine is a blend of 56% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon and 4% Muscadelle. I thought this wine was a Muscadelle, so I think it only fair to give me 4% correct on that choice! I have to take whatever I can get.

This was a very interesting tasting. These wines tasted very different from the usual white wines we drink during the Summer. We almost always gravitate toward Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. I found the flavors of the Latour Martillac the most pleasing of the group. I tend to like floral flavors as the weather warms.

Next week we will be tasting Pinot Noir, one of my favorite varietals.


  1. What a fun tasting! La Cana, Roero, and Argento are some of my favorite other whites. Hoping to see some more people venture into undiscovered territory. Next time taste the Auxerrois – crazy but good grape.

    • I’m glad you found this interesting. I have had an Auxerrois from Oregon that I liked. I’ll be going back up there soon and I’ll try it again and make sure it is really the same grape. Sometimes wineries in the USA blur the names a little.

  2. Pete, you definitely earned your 4%. Fun reading, TB