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How to organise a wine tasting with white wines

There are so many fun ways of comparing wines.

03 Feb 2016

If you haven't read part 1 and part 2 of this series, please do so before continuing. It will help fill in the gaps!

Trying some white wines

Let’s start on whites! Here are 2 themed wine club sessions you can try, both involving white wines.


Whatever anyone might argue to the contrary, Chardonnay is actually the king of white grapes – mainly because it’s so versatile which makes it a great subject for a tasting! I would plan this tasting in pairs and put an unwooded version up against a wooded version (if you can get them from the same wine region, then that would be better) and then a cooler region against a warmer one.

What’s a warm and what’s a cool region? Cooler regions are generally nearer the coast where the sea breezes reduce temperatures and allow the grapes to ripen more slowly. Warmer, inland areas tend to produce more tropical fruit flavours and sometimes slightly higher alcohols. If you want a third pairing, perhaps choose a wine which has been left on the lees (dead yeast cells) to add more complexity.

Wines to consider trying:

Sutherland Unwooded Chardonnay 2015 vs Thelema Chardonnay 2014. Same winemaker, different styles.

Baleia Wines Inge Chardonnay 2014 vs Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay 2014. From the cool climate of the Cape South Coast to the warmth of Franschhoek.

De Wetshof Chardonnay sur lie 2015 vs Excelsior Chardonnay 2015. Same region, very different styles and tastes.

Chenin vs Sauvignon

According to Ken Forrester, SA’s King of Chenin, his favourite grape variety offers better value and more flavour, depth and intensity at every price level when compared to Sauvignon. Put it to the test and see!

Try and find a Chenin Blanc and a Sauvignon Blanc under R40, under R70 and under R100 and put them together. If you can get them from similar regions, that would help and you should probably look at unwooded or very lightly-wooded Chenins just to be fair.

Wines worth trying:

Sub R40 - Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2015 vs Du Toitskloof Sauvignon Blanc 2015. Two very popular wines but which will you prefer?

Sub R70 - Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc 2015 vs Fat Bastard Sauvignon Blanc 2015 – both big volume wines but very different flavours.

Sub R100 - Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2014 vs Mulderbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2015 - the Ken Forrester is a Platter 5 Star stunner and is a great wine to compare with a good Sauvignon.

Next week - onto the weird stuff – some more white wines to try!s

Follow Cathy Marston on Twitter @CathyMarston for wine-fueled fun and interesting tidbits!

- Cathy Marston

Read more on: wine  |  wine tasting  |  sauvignon blanc

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