Most wine research confirms that the Millennials have been driving new growth in the US wine industry over the past 5 years. Research also suggests that they enjoy red wine and sweeter white wines. This latter fact proved to be true in an informal wine tasting experiment in Bus 305W this semester at Sonoma State University.
Forty-three Millennials tasted 6 white wines as part of our introductory tasting session this semester. The wines included chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, chenin blanc, riesling, gewürztraminer and muscat, and were tasted in order of increasing sugar.
At the conclusion of the tasting, before brands or prices were revealed, we took a class vote on first and second favorite wines of the evening. The clear favorite was the 2009 Chateau St. Michelle Riesling Columbia Valley ($8.99) with a residual sugar level of 1.85%. It had an inviting peach nose which followed through on the palate with a touch of lime and mineral. Excellent concentration, high acid, and medium to long finish; it would pair well with chicken dishes and salads.
The second favorite of the evening was the 2009 Fetzer Gewürztraminer California ($7.99) with a residual sugar level of 3.54%. This is a classic gewürztraminer with apricot and roses on the nose, honeysuckle and peach on the palate with a spicy finish. Medium-bodied with a medium-plus acid, it would pair well with Asian cuisines, or as great wine to sip as a cocktail.
Interestingly the much sweeter muscat from Argentina, which tasted of peach juice and delightful floral notes, did not score as highly. Likewise, the drier chenin blanc and chardonnay came in third and fourth, and the bone dry sauvignon blanc, with very high acid, was in last place.
Though not a scientific experiment with a sample of only 43 Millennials, it was interesting to see that the semi-sweet wines were preferred over the very dry and the very sweet.