The Past, Present and Future of White Wine

Everything goes in cycles, and so it is with white wine.

In ancient times, much of the most coveted wine was white — typically sweet, and often fortified so it could be transported from the place of origin to faraway locales without spoiling. That was an important consideration during the centuries before refrigeration and air travel.

We’re in another Golden Age for white wine now, as demonstrated by the Summer Refreshment Collection from Vinesse.

With just three types of white wine, we can savor the crisp, bright zestiness of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc; the assorted fruit flavors and toasty lees of a perfectly made California Pinot Blanc; and the rich, viscous mouthfeel of a California white-wine cuvee.

Talk about diversity. And this comes on the heels of an era when a different white wine — Chardonnay — was all the rage at wine bars and Michelin-starred restaurants.

I’m pretty certain there’s yet another white variety presently sitting in the on-deck circle, to borrow a baseball term, just waiting for its moment in the spotlight. What will it be?

If it’s ever produced in sufficient quantity, without sacrificing quality, to reach more thirsty people around the world, my bet would be on Torrontes from Argentina. It’s everything I love in a white wine: bright, refreshing and fruitful.

Another big possibility is that so-called “un-oaked” Chardonnay could catch on, especially versions that come from cooler climates.

The future will reveal itself soon enough. Right now, there are plenty of white-wine reasons to be perfectly content living in the present.

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Posted in Editor's Journal
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