It is still a matter of style…
Why should a visitor here pick our white wines to purchase when there are so many choices out there? That’s a good and reasonable question, and one De Angelis Wines should be able to answer.
We could say “Because they are really very, very good.” That may not work because all wineries say that. We could say that they are a great value, especially in today’s economy – tomorrow’s too. Everyone else says that also.
So why buy our white wines? The best answer we have is that they are made in a style which makes them enjoyable to drink, and consistently represent the conditions of harvest during the year in which the wines were made. This means that each year when the fruit is picked, we make a determination about how that year’s wine shall be crafted, and why. A hot, dry year calls for one approach, and a cool year, with two or three heat spikes call for another. As a very small production winery, we have the luxury of making these types of determinations. Never are we awaiting a delivery of 30 or more tons of fruit that needs to be processed according to a standard procedure that cannot be either easily, or economically modified. Most importantly, our wines are true to each varietal.
We sometimes wonder why make white wines at all. We ponder that because making a good, and occasionally great, white wine can be a pain in the neck – or elsewhere. When a winery is as small as we are, it is difficult to find growers who will sell smaller lots – 2-3 tons of fruit to us. Over the past 10 years we have made a number of relationships that now allow us to obtain whatever fruit we need for a given year.
White wines generally sell for less than red wines, even if the white is considered as good, or better, than some reds. Because white wines need to be cold stabilized, fined, and are subject to oxidation processes which can change color, aroma and taste, it is much more risky, and expensive to make a fine white wine. (Cheap white wines are actually easier to make) For us – a winery that tries to produce minimally processes wines – we struggle with how much cold stabilization to do. This process changes a wine, and not always for the better. Yet if we do not cold stabilize, and a wine clouds, we would be castigated for making a “cloudy” wine, even though cloudiness itself is not considered a wine flaw. So we cold stabilize, because we must…but minimally. Some of our older white wines, may cloud if left in a refrigerator for hours on end. They need be cooled for 30 minutes at most.
We our style here is to minimally cold stabilize our whites, and keep them crisp, fresh, and balanced. This goes for our Rhone varieties as well as our Bordeaux whites when we make them. All we hope is that a buyer does not leave them in the refrigerator for a week!