Wine 101 Tasting #4 - Soft & Rich white wines
Wine Varietals in Wine Tasting #4
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay
Wine Words in Wine Tasting #4
Body, Oak, Malolactic Fermentation
This tasting features these styles of white wine, Soft and Rich. To prepare for the tasting take a quick look at how to organize a wine tasting. If you are ready to buy wine, the suggested wines for this tasting can be found by searching our wine reviews section for Soft wines and Rich wines. Be sure the wines are chilled before starting your tasting.
Tasting the Soft Wine
Give the Soft white wine a swirl and a sniff. What aromas do you detect? If this is the first white wine tasting you have done. Frequently Soft wines will produce aromas such as red apple, melon, vanilla, spice, and toast. Some of these aromas are caused by either fermenting the wine in oak barrels or aging the wine in oak barrels. Sometimes wine makers do both.
Typical tastes associated with Soft wines include apples, melon, and citrus. When you taste the Soft wine, do you notice a creamy/buttery taste? This comes from malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation converts malic acid (think green apple) to lactic acid (think red apple). This process often occurs in wine treated in oak barrels.
What is the body of the Soft wine? Typically Soft wines are medium body wines with relatively low levels of acid. Most Soft wines will not make your mouth water.
Tasting the Rich Wine
Rich wines are the biggest white wines and are typically made from Chardonnay grapes. Like Bold red wines, most Rich white wines are produced in the US or Australia, although there are Rich wines produced in Europe.
Compare the color of the Rich wine to the Soft wine. Is there any difference? Some Rich wines will be a bit more golden compared to a Soft wine. In fact, everything about the Rich wine will be “just a little more” when compared to the Soft wine.
Give the Rich wine a good sniff. Typically, the first aromas noticed in a Rich wine are butter/cream and wood/oak. This is followed by apples and melon. Some Rich wines will even produce exotic tropical fruit aromas such as pineapple and papaya. Rich and Soft wines made from Chardonnay grapes will have similar profiles, there is just a lot more of it in a Rich wine. Can you detect the slight burning due to alcohol vapors in the nose of the Rich wine? Frequently Rich wines will have 14.5 % alcohol or more.
What flavors do you detect in Rich wine? As the name implies, Rich wines are often very buttery or creamy. The rich butter/cream flavors tend to “wrap around” the apples, citrus, peaches, melons, and pears often found in Rich wines.
What is the body of the Rich wine? Rich wines are full bodied wines with low levels of mouth watering acid. What food do you think might go well with a Rich wine? This is wine geek trick question, because Rich wines are not exactly food-friendly, but they can be a great “cocktail or contemplation” wine.
What to Do Next…
Now that you have tasted these two wine styles side by side, which do you like better? Search our wine reviews section for either Soft wines or Rich wines. Also, you can continue on and do the other wine tastings.