2017 Wine Buying Guide – Aromatic White Wines – by Wine Folly

Aromatic White Wines

Aromatic white wines have higher levels of a compound group called monoterpenes which produce aromas of flowers and sweet stone fruits (apricots, peaches, honey and rose). These wines can be made in both a sweet or dry style, but are often described as sweet due to their intense aromatics. If you’re into this style of wine, you’re in for a treat this year:

Germany is queen bee in the aromatic wine category since Riesling is the country’s star grape variety. 2015 was a crazy, exceptional year and believe me when I tell you that you want these wines (some for now and others for cellaring). Be sure to learn the classification system, including Pradikat and VDP.We have an article all about it here.
Austria creates a style of Riesling that’s similar to Germany often with a slightly more linear profile. For this reason, Austrian Rieslings age in a really fascinating and somewhat savory way. Unfortunately, not much of this stuff is imported so you’ll need to dig.
Alsace is the most aromatic wine region of France and it happens to be right upstream of the Pfalz region of Germany. The Riesling here is dry, but there are other delicious finds to be had as well, including Muscat (on the Grand Cru level) and Gewürztraminer. Definitely read up on Alsace and seek out something from 2015 and 2014.
Riesling from Washington is truly starting to hit its stride. There are some especially good AVAs for it within the Columbia Valley including the newly anointed Ancient Lakes and Naches Heights AVA. This is a great place to go for awesome, everyday drinking wines (Thai food anyone?).
New York
With flagship producers including Dr. Konstantin Frank and Ravines in Finger Lakes, we’re starting to see Riesling wines that are proving that New York Riesling is quite serious indeed. The 2013-2015 vintages are all worth investigating.
Furmint, the grape traditionally reserved for Tokaji is also being produced in a dry style from the region. The wine is like a fine Riesling with similar levels of acidity, but a bit more structure and body. Additionally, a rare find we just discovered is a variety called Cserszegi Füszeres (chair-seggi foohsaresh) that smells like roses, elderflowers and mint. For Hungarian wine, 2015 is a winner.
Long before Cabernet was the most important variety in Napa there was a bastion of sweet varieties growing in the North Coast (Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino) of California including Muscat and Gewürztraminer. The vines are now close to a century old (if they weren’t ripped out) and make some of the most luscious sweets coming out of Napa and Sonoma. For example, we were shocked and delighted by 2 well-known wineries in Sonoma making Gewürztraminer: Alexander Valley Vineyards and Gundlach Bundschu. Be sure to buy these as fresh (youthful) as possible.
Northern Italy
2015 will be another vintage you need to stockpile for Moscato d’Asti. Additionally, we found some producers of Gewürztraminer in Trentino-Alto Adige that make a style strikingly similar to those of Alsace, France (and usually a lot cheaper too).

Published on: 16th of January 2017
By: Madeline Puckette