White Blends

E Wine of the Week

By Bruce Cochran

Hello Everyone,

Let’s begin our eighth year of E Wine columns with a special announcement: It’s time to mark your calendars for the big Riverfest wine tasting, “Art on the River,” a benefit for the Thea Foundation from 5 to 7 p.m. April 18 at the Little Rock River Market west pavilion. More details at www.riverfestarkansas.com under the Attractions button. Look for Wine Tasting Event Conducted by Bruce Cochran. Area restaurants and caterers are preparing food to match each wine. Ticket are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, if available. For tickets, e-mail info@riverfestarkansas.com or call 501-225-3378. I’m looking forward to sampling some great wines with my wine friends.

Try a new wine this week!


Trevisani ‘Bali’ a 50/50 blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

While it’s very common to see red wines made by blending together more than one grape variety, most white wines are unblended. Pinot grigio is mostly pinot grigio, chardonnay is mostly chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc is mostly just sauvignon blanc.

White wines from Bordeaux, France are an exception. Dry wines from the Grave subregion and late harvest wines from Sauternes and Barsac are often blends of sauvignon black, Semillon and muscadelle.

In California this is sometimes called a White Meritage, though that name isn’t seen so much today. In southeast France, in and around Provence, grapes like marsanne and rousanne are sometimes blended together. Blends like this are being done now in California’s Paso Robles district, parts of which have similar “Mediterranean” climates.

Some years back, when Australian wines were in their heyday, chardonnay/semillon blends were popular.

Most French Champagne is blended, but it’s a blend of chardonnay with pinot noir and occasionally a little pinot meunier. The red skins are removed from the pinot, leaving the clear juice without the color.

But in today’s wine world, a new generation of winemakers has been experimenting, trying new things to see what works and what doesn’t.

I found a white blend that I like a lot, on a recent trip to northern Italy. In the Lombardia region, on the western shore of Lake Garda-the largest of Italy’s row Alpine-hugging lakes-is a winery named Trevisani near the ancient town of Salo, Mussolini’s final stronghold.

Trevisani “Bali” ($15-$20) is a 50/50 blend of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, dry but with lots of fruit, crisp and just a touch of oak. “Bali” is the name of one of the famous winds that occasionally whips down from the Alpine peaks, having bedeviled local fisherman for more than 2,000 years.

Categories: Legacy Archive