Two weeks ago when my turn rolled around, I brought in a mysterious bottle of white wine I found at home. Now, often, when you blind taste a wine your mind can start to trick you. One aroma or scent can trigger a memory of another wine, and then you start to believe you smell other characteristics! Sometimes this trick can help you to be very successful, but other times it can make you dizzy.
While we allowed the aromas to challenge our knowledge and senses, we all took a moment to notice the wine's intricate nuances and were surprised about the amazing quality of the wine! We couldn't stop commenting on how exceptional it was. "Do we carry this?" "Why don't we carry this?!" were among the questions that puzzled our little wine gathering.
The first whiff of a white wine can be very blunt. There are five varietals that are commonly known as the aromatic varietals. They include Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Torrontes. While the blind wine had a beautiful nose, it was clear it was not one of the five aromatic varietals. This made all our brains and palates annoyed at the struggle to decipher the delicious liquid's true nature!
Jeff, one of our most seasoned staff members, thought "the finesse of the wine means Chardonnay, but a new world Chardonnay that did not come from California." It had a fresh and lively character with a hint of finesse, but lacked any oak character. A few other staff members thought Chardonnay as well. Lilia, our Burgundy liaison, thought it could be Burgundy due the fresh acidity laced throughout the wine. A good guess as its parent grape is a Burgundy native. Elsa, our Loire liaison, thought that the finesse could mean a California Chardonnay, but from the Russian River to match the brightness of the wine.
Two great guesses came from our NZ liaison, Stefanie, and our Champagne and Spirits liaison, Alex. Stefanie came to the conclusion of a dry Malvasia from Sicily based on the liveliness, gentle but prominent minerality, and ripe citrus fruit. A great guess as it is another native varietal from the Mediterranean region. Alex was a bit closer guessing that it was Kerner from the Alto Adige. This would account for most of the wine's characteristics: the color, the acidity and the minerality. However, Kerner is a cross between Riesling and the red varietal, Trollinger, so it would be much more aromatic. This wine was so elusive!