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Why I prefer white wine to red (and I don’t care what that says about me)

When did white wine get a bad reputation?

I don’t quite know when or why this happened, but the Wine Powers That Be apparently all got together and anointed red wine as “serious wine.” Having a certain level of knowledge about red wine implies that you have a sophisticated palate. And the corollary to that conventional wisdom is that white wine is for amateurs and dilettantes.

And I completely disagree.

I love white wine. There, I’ve said it. My go-to wine is a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, but I also love to experiment with other whites like Spain’s Albarino, which Jancis Robinson dubbed “the perfumed, elegant aristocrat of the Rias Baixas in Galicia,” or a floral, full-bodied Torrontes from Argentina, perhaps alongside a selection of tapas.

What is it about white wine that appeals?

Maybe it has something to do with the freshness and acidity, which makes it such a natural match for cheeses, charcuterie, and other appetizing tidbits. It stands up to a garlicky pasta dish without overwhelming, and the acidity quite literally sets your mouth watering.

Maybe it’s the range of aromas and flavors in the white wine set. On the lighter side, I’d love to wear as perfume those fragrant white flowers, grassy notes, grapefruit, melon, citrus zest and other bright fruits. On the other side of the spectrum, white wines can veer toward honeyed, with stone fruits and tropical fruit flavors standing out. To those who sneer at “oaked” Chardonnays – I have a soft spot for those too, with mellow butterscotch and maple notes that put me in mind of whiskey.

And then there’s that elusive concept called “minerality.” I still remember the first wine class I took, where the instructor stood in front of the room and bellowed, “Have any of you ever licked a stone?” Although stones obviously are not exactly chucked into the wine fermentation tanks, those hints of terroir – steely or granite-like notes – still somehow find their way into wine, and are particularly apparent and refreshing in the white category.

To the other white wine lovers out there – Lot18 would love to know, what’s your favorite white?

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