News article taken from Richmond Times Dispatch
Something rather interesting happened recently at the Celebration of the Vine festival in Virginia.
“This could be a first for a red grape,” New Kent winemaker Tom Payette said.
To make a White Merlot, the juice from the merlot grapes has virtually zero contact with the skins just before and during fermentation.
“Most people feel they should shy from a sweet wine because it seems to be somehow burned in our brains to say we shouldn’t like sweet wines,” Payette said. “A misconception if you will. Truth told, most Americans, and others, like wines that have a delicately dialed-in balance of acid and sweetness. This is the key and what we do with this wine.”
I can’t say I’ve ever tasted a White Merlot I’ve been fond of….but then again….I haven’t tasted one in over 5 years! Fair play to New Kent Vineyards though! They might be onto something.
Much in the same way as White Zinfandel, White Merlot often gets shunned by most oenophiles as “the stuff you start out drinking before you actually get into ‘real’ wine”.
I do however think there’s a potential market for making really good quality examples of wines which “real wine drinkers” have come to reject. I’d love to taste a hand-crafted, small-production, 100% White Zin!