Sweet Whites

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  1. Are sweet white wines the most technically precise to make?
    • Yes. Picking the grape at the right moment is paramount. Also financially challenging; 50% sold in futures.
    • Dry whites: several hours for skin contact (if any)
    • Red: several weeks for vatting, fermentation, maceration. 80-95% sold in futures.
  2. What is the sign of a good sweet white wine?
    • High levels of sweetness
    • Commensurately high levels of acidity
  3. What are the only 2 sensations all white wines have?
    Dry, sweet, and sparkling white wines only have sweetness and acidity
  4. Name the 5 communes of AOC Sauternes
    • Sauternes
    • Barsac
    • Bommes
    • Preignac
    • Fargues
  5. What is the permitted yield and RS for Sauternais sweet whites in Bordeaux?
    • Sauternes and Barsac: 25 hl/ha and 221 g/l
    • Cerons: 40 hl/ha and 212 g/l
  6. Name the 6 AOC for Bordeaux sweet white wines
    • Sauternes
    • Barsac
    • Cerons
    • Sainte-Croix du-Mont
    • Loupiac
    • Cadillac
    • Graves
    • Image Upload
  7. Name the 2 AOC for Bordeaux semi-sweet white wines
    • AOC Graves Superieur: 947 hl, 29 ha, = 33 hl/ha
    • AOC Premiers Cotes de Bordeaux: 5,602 hl, 207 ha, = 27 hl/ha
    • These AOC wines are rare but of high quality
  8. How much residual sugar is allowed in dry, semi-sweet, and sweet white wines in Bordeaux?
    • Sec: < 4 g/l
    • Moelleux: 4-45 g/l
    • Liquoreux: > 45 g/l
  9. What rivers join around Barsac/Loupiac/Sainte-Croix du-Mont?
    • La Garonne: a large warm river
    • Le Ciron: a cool stream (flows through pine forest)
  10. Is Cadillac within the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux appellation?
  11. Is the altitude of the left bank AOCs (Sauternes/Barsac/Cerons) lower or higher than on Garonne's right bank AOCs(Cadillac/Loupiac/Sainte-Croix du-Mont)?
  12. How is the progress of grapes affected by Botrytis Cinerea measured?
    Image Upload
    Potential alcohol
  13. Name three levels of potential alcohol
    • Ripe (No botrytis): 14%
    • Pink ("pourri plein" -- fully rotten): 18%
    • Shrivelled ("cuit" -- cooked): 20-23%
  14. Compare yields of red vs sweet white wine
    • Bordeaux: 50 hl/ha (1 vine = 1 bottle)
    • Sauternes: 25 hl/ha (1 vine = 3 glasses)
    • Yquem: 8-9 hl/ha (1 vine = 1 glass)
  15. What does Botrytis give to a wine?
    Spicy, Apricot, Honeysuckle, Canned corn, Shoe polish
  16. Who is the winemaker at Chateau Raymond-Lafon?
    Pierre Meslier (was winemaker at d'Yquem... adjacent property)
  17. What sensory affect does Botrytis itself have on sweet wine?
    • None according to Denis Dubourdieu, Bordeaux oenology school
    • Rather, it stimulates the grape to overproduce aromatic precursors
  18. Can over-ripe grapes not affected by Botrytis produce sweet wine?
    Yes, e.g., Alsace Late Harvest
  19. Describe sweet wine made without botrytis
    • evaporation and concentration impact taste but lack aromatic richness of botrytis
    • increases precursors by a factor of 2 (vs 10 with botrytis)
  20. When must botrytis occur for desired results?
    • Right after ripeness is achieved
    • Too early - unsatisfactory results
    • Too late - grapes not stimulated
  21. What is the main white grape for dry whites?
  22. What is the main white grape for sweet whites?
    • Semillon
    • Pineapple, mango, passion fruit
    • Thinner skin takes well to botrytis
    • Increases aging potential
    • Chateau d'Yquem - 80%
  23. What does Sauvignon contribute to sweet whites?
    • Acidity
    • Should be < 50% (because it reduces aging potential)
  24. What does Muscadelle contribute to sweet whites?
    • Little - reduce the appeal of the wine
    • Inappropriate Muscat aromas
  25. Compare Barsac and Sauternes soils and wine
    • Barsac: red sand above limestone (lively)
    • Sauternes: gravel and sand (richer)
  26. Name 3 other appellations that make sweet whites, but NOT exclusively
    • Cotes de Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire
    • Bordeaux-Haut-Benauge
    • Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux
    • Most producers in these appellations DON'T make sweet whites
    • Sweetness due to over-ripeness, not botrytis
  27. Do Bordeaux producers refer to their sweet whites as dessert wines?
    • No - they HATE that term
    • Has financial implication since fewer people drink at end of meal due to DUI laws
  28. What do you eat with Bordeaux sweet whites?
    • Aperitif: doesn't impact wine served next since enough time
    • First course: foie gras
    • Main course: roast chicken (salt, pepper, tarragon)
    • Cheese course: blue cheeses like Roquefort
    • Dessert course: lemon/apple tart
  29. What percent of 2009 Bordeaux production was in St-Emilion, Pomerol, and Fronsac?
    • Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur: 50%
    • The Cotes: 13%
    • Graves/Medoc: 17%
    • Saint-Emilion/Pomerol/Fronsac: 10%
    • Dry White: 8%
    • Sweet White: 2%
  30. Name Dewey Markham Jr.'s favorite good value Bordeaux wines
    • Fronsac
    • Cote de Castillon
    • Chateau Raymond-Lafon (Sauternes)

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Sweet Whites
2013-11-11 15:58:23
FWS Bordeaux

FWS Master Level
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