Posts Tagged ‘white wine’

Is Chenin Blanc the New Riesling?

June 14, 2011

An old new wine variety is starting to gain some traction in this country and it’s time to add it to your wine list. The wine in question is the Chenin Blanc variety, which is grown primarily in the Loire Valley and has a similar flavor to that of Rieslings, which have become all the rage these days for the white wine crowd.

The thing that seems to make Chenin Blanc less popular is actually the thing that would seem to make it something that every serious sommelier would want on their list and in their cellars. In essence, unlike the more popular Riesling, Chenin Blanc is grown primarily in the Loire Valley and in few other places, making it somewhat harder to come by.

Also known as Vouvrays, Chenin Blanc is a rather dry wine, though there is a hint of sweetness to the vintage, making it a perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of meals (especially seafood) – which of course is traditionally served with whites anyway. The wines are available from a number of vintners.  However, the most popular ones do seem to come from Huet Clos du Bourg.

It is worth noting for your restaurant’s sommelier that not all Vouvrays are actually quite so dry and as such one really needs to read reviews in order to find the right wines to stock in the wine cellar and to recommend to diners looking for that something new. Still, given the fact that Chenin Blanc does seem to be gaining in popularity, it does make sense to add a few cases to your cellar and possibly even to run the gamut of dry to slightly sweet in order to satisfy the palettes of a wide variety of your customers, some of whom just want to taste something different but don’t necessarily enjoy very dry wines.

Looking to Expand Your Wine List? Try Adding Viognier.

January 3, 2011

So here’s an interesting option to consider adding to your wine list: it’s a little known kind of grape from Northern Rhone called the Viognier (it’s pronounced vee-0-nier). The grade provides a fruity kind of wine which is quite different from the whites you probably are already offering your diners.

Unlike Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, which are all staples of any decent restaurant’s wine list, Viognier was considered an extreme rarity, offered from just a handful of vineyards and offered to the world’s wealthiest clientele.

Viognier Suppliers in High Demand

All that began to change around twenty years ago. Today, the grape is grown in a number of countries, including Australia, France, Chile, Spain and Israel to name a few. For those looking for more unusual wine manufacturers offering Viognier, consider Swiss, South African or even Lebanese Viogener.

Experts describe the wine as offering a more “fragrant aroma” than traditional whites and report aromas of peach, pear and apricot from the wine. It is reported as being a softer wine than traditional whites. It is often mixed with Shirax or Syrah grapes for an interesting experience, which also helps to stabilize the color of the vintage.

Offering Viognier on Your Wine List

While you should certainly continue to offer the more traditional wines on your wine list, we’re suggesting you ask your sommelier about Viogener in order to offer your guests a unique dining experience. The wine is generally offered as dry or semi dry so it is most appropriate with dishes traditionally served with white wines, such as fish.

Now you can acquire Viognier at reasonable prices. With bottles from some producers being offered at retail for as little as $10 (a far cry from the outrageous prices traditionally associated with this grape just a few years ago), it is appropriate for medium level restaurateurs to offer to their guests.