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Vino 101 – September 2023: Late-Summer Whites

Vino 101

Late-Summer Whites

“Wine is just like a person, absorbing influences around it to form its personality.” – Erin Lindstone

Autumn has been SLOWLY approaching here in Texas. While we’re usually ready to switch from chilled white wines to light/medium-bodied reds, it is still hot enough to cook an egg on a sidewalk (with some reprieve in the near future!). Considering we are still free to enjoy a summertime sip a little while longer, I’d like to share some great white wines with notes of warmer fruits and softer acidity that will help you transition into fall wines.

Warmer regions typically produce lower acidity whites due to the grape being able to ripen further and produce more sugar. More sugar doesn’t equate to sweet wine, think of sugar as a tool for the wine maker – yeast eats sugar to create alcohol and the more sugar, in this case, the more body to the wine. The three white wines I’d like to focus on are Sémillon, Marsanne, and the classic Chardonnay.


This grape hails from the most famous wine region in the world, Bordeaux. While Bordeaux is known for its reds, their whites are equally delicious. Sémillon is the grape used in the world-renowned delicious dessert wine Sauternes that is created from ‘noble rot’. A glass of Sémillon will have notes of peach, chamomile, and beeswax. In Bourdeaux, you can find oaked versions of this wine in the Graves and Pessac-Léognan regions that add complexity and a creamier texture to the wine.


Marsanne is known as a blending grape in white Rhône wines. Most often, you’ll see it in a bottle with Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and/or Viognier (my favorite white and one that I’ve talked about in the past). The grape shows flavors of apricot, mandarin orange, and quince. The best expressions of Marsanne come from the Hermitage AOC in Rhone, which has a phenomenal story of how the region came into existence dating back to the 1200s.


The world’s most widely planted white grape, Chardonnay, is a staple in the wine world. The expression of one Chardonnay can be vastly different than the next: cool vs warm climate, oaked vs unoaked, old world vs new world, etc. Many people think of Chardonnay as being buttery, but that is not always the case. The buttery-ness of a wine comes from malolactic fermentation (MLF) where tart malic acid is turned into creamy lactic acid, a naturally occurring process when Chardonnay is placed into an oaked barrel, hence an oaked wine. If you are not a fan of the creaminess that MLF produces, try to look for an un-oaked Chardonnay that displays more of the fruity characteristics of the wine.

These are some great options for you to enjoy as we round out summer and head into fall, but at the end of the day, the best glass of wine to drink is the one you enjoy!