Varietals: Muscat Canelli, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Malvasia
Region: California (99%); North Carolina (1%)
Cost: $16 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Straw yellow color with aromas of rose, lychee, licorice, and lime. Refreshing with hints of tropical fruit, lime, lemon, and honey. A nice balance of sweetness to acidity with a pleasant, lingering aftertaste. Pairs with Chinese, Vietnamese, sweet & sour dishes, coconut shrimp, ambrosia salad, pear tart, coconut cake, and as an apertif.
My Review: I’ve had previous versions of the Biltmore Century White and they tend towards the sweeter side of the spectrum, making them a good option in my house for when I want something spicier. The latest offering, however, just didn’t click with either my wife or me.
On the nose I picked up a mix of lime and a touch of honey mixed in with floral aromas of white flower. In the mouth the wine strove for a mix of sweetness and acidity, but sweetness won out. I looked back at tasting notes from the previous vintage and the newest release actually has less residual sugar, so it’s either more prominent this year, or I’m becoming more sensitive to it.
We paired the wine with a spicy dinner, and while we didn’t go all out Vietnamese spice, I thought there would be enough spice to help mellow out the sweetness of the wine, but either we needed more spice, or there needed to be less sweetness – either way, the spicy Mexican-inspired meal may not have been the best pairing.
I’ve never thought of the Biltmore Century White as anything other than a sweeter white table wine, and while I would never go so far as to say that I’ve “loved” any of them, this was the first year where I was categorically unimpressed. If you prefer sweeter wines this might appeal to you, but you avoid sweet wines you’ll want to avoid this one as well as I don’t know how much spicy food you’d need to mellow it.
Editor’s Note: I received this wine as a free sample for review.