Thursday, 26 January 2012

Wine of the week – Corbieres (White/South-West France)

Hi all,

Last week of January; anybody still on a Detox???
Special focus on healthier wines this month i.e. wines with slightly lower alcohol content.
Ever heard of Corbieres? Surely, a nice full-bodied red. Well, this week, we try a White Corbieres: 12% abv and £4.99! Cheaper, healthier: what else?

What it is 

Dry white wine from the South-West of France made from Macabeu and White Grenache grapes.

What to expect
Appearance: Pale Lemon-Gold

Nose: light fragrance of generic white peach and indistinct tropical fruit with a hint of flowers (iris/elderflower?).

Palate: the wine is light but not as light as expected for its alcohol content. The texture is thin but with a stronger fruit intensity on the palate than perceived on the nose. You should get the same generic white peach flavour but building up towards a denser apricoty flavours. The finish is crisp and short.
Again, a relatively simple & lean wine with little flavour complexity, a short length but with a very good balance between the fruit flavours and the crisp acidity. To drink chilled now or within next 24 months.

Score: 6-7/10 (wine shown)

You'll like it if you like: white peach, standard Trebbiano, Soave, Verdicchio or Pinot Grigio; Bordeaux Blanc.

Have it with
A grilled white fish or again a chicken salad

Where to find it
Majestic - £4.99. As tested & approved above

Did you know
> There is more than 9 chances out of 10 that the next Corbieres you come across is a red. In the Corbieres AOC, the reds indeed represent 95% of the production while the Roses represent 3% and the Whites only 2%.

> Grenache Blanc and Macabeu are 2 of the 10 varieties of white grapes allowed in the Corbieres area.

> Grenache blanc can be found in white wines from the Rhone usually in blend. Famous examples include the white Chateauneuf du Pape and the Cotes du Rhone Villages where it can make up to 10% of the blend or the vin doux naturel Rivesaltes AOC. It is usually low in acidity,high in alcohol and provides fruitiness and structure to the wine. Since the 80s, it has been the most widely planted grape in France. It is also present in Spain where it's called Garnacha Blanca.

> Macabeu is most often the main grape in the white Rioja or as part of the 3 grapes in Cava (with Xarel-lo & Parellada). It creates wine that are mildly acidic and ready to drink young. Macabeu is called Macabeo or Viura in Spain.