Aromatic Whites

"Over the past couple of weeks I've had the opportunity to taste several aromatic white wines…" Yonatan Sternberg suggests you enjoy white wines as much as he does. Let him tell you all about it

Over the past couple of weeks I've had the opportunity to taste several aromatic white wines. When referring to aromatic white wines, I basically mean white vinos, which are produced using aromatic white grape varieties. These grape varieties tend to offer pronounced aromas and flavors which are reflected in the wine as well. For the most part, these wines are not aged in oak barrels, as the intention of the winemaker is to capture and reflect the characteristics of the grape, and barrel aging or barrel fermentation would undermine this objective.

Aromatic whites have become increasingly popular over the past few years. These wines are usually very approachable and are of the few that pair relatively well with Asian and even Indian style dishes. The list of aromatic white grape varieties includes Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Gruner Veltilner, Muscat, Viognier and others while the Sauvignon Blanc qualifies for the aromatic category only when grown in certain terroirs.

Tulip, White Tulip, 2009 – Tulip winery's recent release is a unique blend of Gewürztraminer (70%) from Kfar Yuval and Sauvignon Blanc (30%) from the Kerem Ben Zimra Vineyards. The wine is medium bodied, light straw in color showing aromas and flavors of tropical fruits, citrus peel and slight grassy notes. The winery suggests serving the White Tulip alongside classic ceviche or piquant Asian style dishes. Although it certainly is a member of the aromatic wine category, but if you have the opportunity, I also recommend trying the winery's Black Tulip blend.

Fusion Global Winery, Riesling Spätlese (late harvest), 2009 - The Fusion Global Winery is a unique project involving four wine enthusiasts (including winemaker Doron Yitzchaki) who decided to travel from one prime wine region to another, producing different wines from different countries every harvest. I first sampled Fusion's offerings about a year ago, tasting a couple of concentrated Australian Shiraz based wines and another from Spain, relying on Tempranillo and Garnacha. This year it was time to travel to Germany and bring back an off-dry Riesling from the Rheinhessen wine region. A blend of three different Rieslings and a dash of Chardonnay come together quite nicely. While not as complex as some German Rieslings, this wine is very enjoyable and offers aromas and flavors of candied apricots, white peaches, green apples and flowers all leading to a pleasant finish.

Tishbi, Gewürztraminer, 2009 – made using 100% Gewürztraminer grapes from vineyards in the Judean Hills, Tishbi's aromatic white is semi-dry and offers aromas of candied pineapple, white fruits and a touch of spices. The winery suggests serving the wine alongside grilled salmon steak or cheese based quiche.

Villa Wilhelma, Floral Blanc, 2009 – A semi dry blend of Riesling (40%), Sauvignon Blanc (40%) and Semion (20%), this is a light, refreshing and very aromatic wine suggesting generous aromas of green apples, white flowers and peaches. Not complex at all, but when served chilled on a warm summer afternoon it really hits the spot.