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Mar 23, 2007 06:12 PM

Help! Red wine lover needs to switch to white

I've just discovered that red wine is probably a contributor to some recent health issues (not life threatening, thank goodness). But I've mainly drunk only red wine for as long as I can remember, aside from the occasional pinot grigio during intense summer heat--or champagne whenever the mood or occasion strikes.

In general, I like pinot grigio and some chardonnays. I don't like sauvignon blanc ( it always tastes like raw grass to me.) Any suggestions?

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  1. I'm not a Chard fan (too buttery). Consider Roussanne and Marsanne; amazing white wines that go surprisingly well with many ethnic foods as well as meat (okay, a steak always needs a big red... sorry!).

    Also, you might be surprised at some of the complexity of German whites; Riesling Spatslase and Gruner Vetliners are not as sweet as their reputation portends.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218

      Oh, Rousanne and Marsanne are such good white wines. I've mainly had the ones from
      this country. Zaca Mesa and Qupe come to mind.

      1. re: maria lorraine

        Here's an older thread on American Roussanne that might help! (I can highly recommend the Tablas Creek!)

      2. re: Carrie 218

        If not a chard fan because of the butteryness why not consider going to some Chablis? It's the same grape but with the colder environment and a lot of vinyards not aging in oak you'll get a lot less of that butter flavor.

        1. re: Carrie 218

          Several California wineries produce a blend of Viognier and Marsanne. Treana is one of them. The Marsanne (usually about 1/3) really adds a dryness and complexity to this wine that makes it very special. I guess the blend is more typical with Roussane added as well.

        2. Try Spanish Albarino (there's a tilde over the n, but I'm too lazy to enter it). It reminds me of chardonnay without being overwhelmingly oaky. Nora makes a nice starter Albarino. I really like Lagar de Cervera (or something like that).

          Or just drink Champagne and sparkling wine! There are enough styles to match almost any kind of food, and you deserve it.


          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            Another thought - can you drink rose? (Again, I'm too lazy to enter the accent on the e...)

            There's a dynamite Australian rose that my "red wine only" friends really like: Charles Melton Rose of Virginia Barossa Valley. But it's such a deep pink that it's almost a red wine.

            Any dry, crisp European rose (Spanish and southern French are my favorites) is very tasty and great with food, especially with garlic-flavored dishes.

          2. you have my deepest sympathies....I drink red only and champagne.
            If one has to drink white..I'd go with a Montrachet....rather pricey but worth it if you have to drink white. My second consideration is another white which is much less money and easy to drink~ Picpoul De Pinet...Enjoy!!

            1 Reply
            1. re: flipkeat

              Come on, now...


              Let's try and stay within a reasonable budget.

            2. I second the recommendation for Gruner Veltliner--kinda trendy right now, but it's got some backbone, with a little edge of white pepper, usually. I also like Albarino, though I don't know much about it. And some of the southern Italian whites are up-and-comers, fun to look out for--falanghina (which I've heard referred to as "the banana wine," although don't worry--it's not at all sweet and I've never really gotten the banana aroma thing), fiano, Greco di Tufo. I was recently in Spain and had a Basque white called Txakoli--young, light, very slightly effervescent, although not sure if this would appeal if you're used to big reds. I wonder if you can drink rosés at all--that would open up a ton more possibilities. The point is, if you have to switch directions altogether, at least it would be fun to seek out some of the more obscure whites to see if you can find anything that fits your taste. Good luck!

              1. I would consider trying a Viognier ( pronounced VEE-OH-NYAY ).......I think somebody
                like Rosenblum you can find readily available around $16-18............I drink mostly reds
                and consider this grape varietal appealing as far as whites go for someone who primarily favors a red.........It has good texture and some layering that could satisfy
                your savouring for something that might be able to quench your palate somewhat like
                a red can....Hope you'll enjoy it............

                4 Replies
                1. re: jonathon

                  My Viennese friend W would be aghast at hearing Grüner Veltliner referred to as a German wine! A Germanic cépage to be sure, along those from Germany - indeed I tasted some lovely dry Rieslings and other German wines this past summer - and of course Alsace.

                  I was just about to write a Viognier - something "meaty" about it, but not the allergenic substances in reds. I've had to bone up on this as my best gf has migraine and red wine tannins are one of her triggers.

                  I wouldn't be so rude as to ask your health issues, but I've also read that red wine can be a trigger for some forms of arthritis (and not only gout). I've had a bad arthritic flareup and am avoiding red wine and red meat - I think there are some of my beloved dark green vegetables that I should avoid for a while, alas...

                  And jonathon, that is a good phonetic spelling for Viognier - of course your vowels have to be much shorter in French than in English (sorry, I'm a translator and ESL/FSL teacher...). Removing pedant's hat and pouring another glass...

                  1. re: lagatta

                    I had posted elsewhere on the board recently regarding needing a white to go with appetizers. I'm not really a white wine drinker so I have found this discussion very helpful. You've given me more leads on my search to provide an enjoyable white wine for my friends. Thank you!

                    1. re: lagatta

                      Health issues are two - migraines and rosacea. Neither is horrific nor life-threatening, but I notice that migraines do seem to come on after I drink red wine-- and particularly pinot noir, of which I am very fond. Though I tried to deny it, after just a week of not drinking red wine, I notice that the rosacea seems to have subsided, as well. Thanks to everyone who has responded so far -- your suggestions have certainly brightened my day!

                      1. re: phoebek

                        Old thread but I think OP is still reading...

                        Have you noticed a difference between french vs italian vs california reds? I can drink massive amounts of red french wine (old and young) and not get a headache but even an aged barolo or barbaresco can give me a headache the next day. So I could never make a connection between the tannins theory. Recently while in Italy, I was told by a not very reliable source that wines exported out of Italy to the US have additional sulfites added. Again, I would rank this source very low on the reliability scale, but if he is correct and it is the additional sulfites causing you headaches, maybe you could try reds from other countries?

                        Just a thought.

                        Also give white bordeaux and white CDP a try sometimes.