Yesterday, Dr. Vino’s Wine Blog posed the following question: what white wine would you give to a red wine drinker to convert them to drinking whites too?
This is a question near and dear to my heart, as I used to be a red wine snob who disdained white wine as an inferior beverage. I came by my snobbery honestly: when I was a kid, my parents drank only red wine. Red wine was a glorious concoction that warmed the belly, delighted the palate, and elevated meals. White wine, on the other hand, was barely a half step above Smirnov Ice or Zima. My dad complained that white wine was boring, that it was either too thin or too sugary. My mom simply said that white wine had no flavor.
So, as a recovering second-generation red wine snob, here’s what I would suggest to convert my fellow red wine drinkers to a more omnivorous approach.
1. Viognier. At its best, Viognier is a big, rich white wine, and it has more than enough flavor and complexity to impress those who are used to dismissing whites as “simple” or “boring.” A Cline Cellars Viognier was the white wine that set the light bulb off in my head — it was round, slightly floral, thoroughly fascinating, and nothing like the pale, acidic Italian Pinot Grigios I’d been poured at restaurants and college parties. Four years later, a Viognier we ordered at a Thai restaurant made my mom say, “I don’t usually like white wine, but this is really good!”
2. Gewürztraminer. Like Viognier, this white grape has an intense, fascinating flavor — it’s got sort of a spicy sweetness to it, without being sugary or cloying. It’s definitely got the chops to intrigue and impress someone who thinks white wine is usually a snore. Gewürztraminer is usually associated with Germany, but I’ve had several good ones from Washington State lately. Try the one from Hogue Cellars, one of my favorite bargain producers.
3. Dry Riesling. I absolutely love the clarity and pure fruit notes of a good dry Riesling, and I think one of these restrained yet flavorful wines might impress a red wine drinker. Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling, one of my favorite white wines, was a hit with both of my red-wine-snob parents when I shared it with them.
Any other recovering red wine snobs out there? What whites would you pick to change someone’s mind?