the Trouble with White Burgundy

Happy New Year from Mauna Loa Volcano

2017 was good for tBoW. We started posting again. Having fun with it. Found a new webmaster who likes wine. Look for change in utility but not in tone. Sticking to the same POV when it comes to wine. We see no separation from life when it comes to wine. Life brings plenty of  interests and conondra. Like the plural of conondrum. Dictionary says go “s” for plural but this does not seem correct. Which brings us to white Burgundy.

tBoW is loving red burgs but they are getting pricey. Good thing snappy observers such as Lettie Teague of the Wall Street Journal offer guidance to V-A-L-U-E wines “in the space.” Unfortunately, not even Ms. Teague can persuade tBoW to buy another bottle white Burgundy, value or not. Our (royal “we”) problem with the genre is we have lost our flavor for chardonnay. There are dozens – docenes – of white wines we would rather taste and swallow. Here are just a few worth your searching out.

Etna Bianco from Tenuta delle Terre Nere is made from “white grapes… a mumbo-jumbo of local varieties: Carricante, Catarratto, Grecanico, Inzolia and Minnella. So that’s what my Etna Bianco was: a field blend of all the above, with Carricante dominating the blend with roughly 65%.” We paid $21 for the 2016. Simply espectaculo. Sicilia wines are hot in the marketplace; deservedly so. Good news for small vintners not from California or Bordeaux. Look for it and buy some.

Arneis is the white wine from the Barolo region (southern) of Piemonte. Keep in mind the northern region (Milano) known as Altopiemonte produces our favorite red wines. Bottles of Arneis can vary in quality. Price point is around $20 and up. A tBoW favorite is Bruno Giacosa.

Spain makes excellent white wines. We are most familiar with Verdejo and Albarino. There are other white wines from Spain however these two can seem most reliable. Check out the big tasting profile!! Ochechonya!!Verdejo is dry, charming like Robert Morely might have been. Albarino is acidic, zesty and full of picque. Like Terry Thomas; sneaks up on you. It is the nature of Spanish culture that there always be an abundance of choices and ways to enjoy life. Here is a brief and engaging overview of Spain’s white wine varietals to be challenging, distinctive, even if to a fault. If you get the culture you will get the point. Here is a brief description of Spanish varietals. Of course it is not simple!

Gruner Veltliner is the go-to Austrian wine. Notice we do not say Austrian white wine becuz that would be like introducing a German red wine. German and Austrian wines are known for white varietals especially Riesling. Supposedly climate change has resulted in the production of decent red wines from the Boch regions. Where Riesling runs racy and sweet (simplified, I know) Veltliner is racy and sleek. When it’s on it is really on.

Why chardonnay no longer? As a varietal I find it kind of monotone with a narrow flavor profile. Make it fat and it becomes tropical (think Rombauer). Make it lean and without oak and it gets better but stays foxy. I did have an aged Leflaive Chevalle that was so aged it tasted like butterscotch in the glass. That was exotic and certainly delicious.

That reference to Robert Morley made tBoW think of Terry Thomas. I was able to find this lovely brief of the wit of Englishmen like Morley and Thomas. If oyu find yourself with a couple minutes to spare you really should give it a look.

Happy New Year all.


  1. Wavatar
    doctore says:

    Let me describe a grape:
    –been used in winemaking for centuries
    –recognized as remarkably versatile, not only for it’s ability to be grown, but for it’s wonderful ability to reflect the terroir
    –if grown in rocky soils, can be minerally and lean
    –if grown in richer soils can produce wines that have a broader flavor profile
    –can reflect a wide range of flavors, ranging from citrus to pineapple to stone fruit
    –can be aged in oak or stainless steel
    –can be aged for decades under the right conditions, even attaining a “butterscotch” flavor and texture
    –is remarkably reflective of the winemaker’s skills and sensibilities
    –pairs well with a wide range of foods
    –is widely regarded, and has been for many years, as a noble grape, capable of producing some of the world’s finest (and most expensive and collectible) wines
    Chardonnay “undimensional”?
    I think TBoW has gone the Leonard Tose route.

    • Wavatar
      Bacchus says:

      Let me describe blogging. Writing reflects opinions and observations of writer. Comments encouraged. Intelligence not required. Obstinate views strongly encouraged. Helpful to orient reader to which grape is being discussed. Vaporous content good for gas. I am done with chardonnay. Dotore strongly nudged to share views on grapes. Please continue. This comment reminds me I need to initiate Stuhl Report. Only a “u” mitt dem umlaut stands in my path! Where do the Field Mouse and KrisB stand on the merits of chardonnay?

  2. Wavatar
    doctore says:

    Obstinate? Vaporous? Intelligence not required?

  3. Wavatar
    Kris-B says:

    I have to agree with Dottore: Kris-A even likes to drink Meursault on occasion(!) and it’s hard to beat a top-notch Chablis.

    Have to correct you on German red wine, at least the pinots. There are increasing numbers of producers making spatburgunders that can rival what comes out of their Burgundian neighbors to the west. I believe we’ve even tasted a few of them together!

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