Add Interest With Aromatic Whites

Aromatic whites and food pairingsWhite wine is closing the gap on red and is increasingly the colour of choice for 15% of the UK’s affluent consumers, with a particular increase in the consumption of new wave aromatic styles. These perfumed, and sometimes sweeter, wines are adding interest to wine lists across the country and offer exciting food and wine pairing opportunities.

With three sites in London, Ceviche focuses on Peruvian food served alongside South American wine. Miguel Arbe, executive bar manager, explains that the likes of Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontes, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are generally the most recognisable wines on their list. “Although the more obscure grapes, like Albarino or Gewurztraminer, are not very common in South America, these styles are becoming more attractive,” he says.

“Most guests identify Albarino as a quality wine from Spain, so they are usually surprised to see our Garzon Albarino from Uruguay. After the first try, however, we often see another bottle going to the same table.” For Miguel, this Albarino is an ideal pairing for any of their ceviches or tiraditos.

Albarino is by far the fastest growing aromatic white variety in the UK, with a growth of more than 400% both in terms of value and volume, year on year. According to our Market Insights team, New Nesters* are almost twice as likely as the UK average to name Albarino as one of their favourite grapes, while twice as many Urban Professionals* consider Riesling and Torrontes a favourite compared to the UK average.

“Aromatic white wines are becoming more popular in the On Trade. More and more people are being attracted to wines that will give an extra dimension to their dinner and I think aromatic whites are great to excite diners,” Miguel says.

Michelin-starred House of Tides in Newcastle is the single biggest seller of Prophet’s Rock Riesling in the UK, which is also their best-selling white wine. Head Sommelier Will Dennison explains that “aromatic style whites are food wines through and through. They have so much character and flavour – paired with anything from subtle dishes to bold flavours, these wines seem to wake up, hold their own or even turn into a different wine completely.”

He continues, “Riesling is my favourite grape, but it comes with a lot of baggage. Especially with the older generation, who presume Riesling is always made in the sweeter German style. The younger generation loves New World Rieslings, like the Kung Fu Girl Riesling from Charles Smith, which has a touch of residual sugar to make it very easy-drinking.”

“It’s really important to remember that guests come to your restaurant to eat, and these wines are ideal with food!” Will recommends the Prophet’s Rock Riesling with their pan-fried sea bass and Shetland Island mussels, with a curry, coriander and saffron broth. The Kung Fu Girl Riesling is delicious with their Whitby crab, caviar, apple and turnip dish.

London restaurant Aqua Kyoto lists a number of aromatic white wines, which are all perfect matches for their range of Japanese food. Sommelier Carlo Piana explains that aromatic white wines are becoming increasingly popular – especially in Asian restaurants. The Alois Lageder Am Sand Gewurztraminer from Alto Adige in Italy is particularly popular, and while it may not be the top-selling wine, Carlo explains that once customers try it, they often order a second bottle.

Staff recommendations, especially with the right food, are a great way for consumers to experiment with these styles, but according to our Market Insights team, there is still a lot of untapped opportunity.

While 22% of UK consumers have heard of Gewurztraminer, only 14% have tried it. Similarly, 7% of UK consumers have heard of Torrontes, while only 3% have tried it. These conversion gaps indicate an opportunity for aromatic white wines – with many consumers having heard of these grapes, but not necessarily having had the chance (or confidence) to try them.

Want to add interest to your wine list? Contact us or your Account Manager to taste any of our aromatic white wines.

*See the Consumer Portraits guide here

5th April 2016

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