What to Drink Now: ABC Whites

Anything But Chardonnay…or Sauvignon Blanc…or Pinot Grigio….though all of these varietals are delicious, why not opt to open an unconventional bottle of white wine this week. Maybe open something new to your palate, or one that you haven’t enjoyed in a while, like a Napa Valley Marsanne, a silky Viognier from Central Coast, a Semillon from Walla Walla, a crisp Soave from Italy, even wine we think of as red made white ….the options are endless.   A few selections were sent for editorial consideration, all are delicious.

I was at the Jimmy’s super wine sale a few weeks ago and picked up a few bottles of interesting whites, including a Remo Farina 2009 Soave Classico. I love Soave, and think it is one of the most elegant whites made…with a name like Soave it needs to be. Light and aromatic with peach, orange blossom and golden apple intermixed with white pepper and subtle herbal notes.  A perfect wine to start an evening or enjoy with an herb salad or grilled white fish.

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2009 Zaca Mesa Viognier from Santa Ynez Valley  - a winery dedicated to producing estate grown Rhone Varietals using sustainable growing practices throughout their Santa Barbara County vineyards.  From the first hint of an aroma you know you are drinking a Viognier, as the highly aromatic and intense floral notes rise from the glass, followed by white peach, honeydew melon and ripe apricot with bold yet balanced acidity.

2007 Quill Wine Pitchard Hill Viognier from Napa Valley’s Stagecoach Vineyard, this is a delicate and refined expression of the Viognier grape, not quite as aromatic or acidic as the Zaca Mesa, but exuding light floral notes like white lily, honeysuckle and wild flowers, with ripe pear, ripe peach and apricot.

Amavi Cellars 2010 Semillon from Walla Walla – Most people think of Semillon as a blending grape with Sauvignon Blanc to create stellar White Bordeaux, which is a bit of a shame because it is beautiful on its own.  There are several wineries in Washington State that are making Semillon; Amavi Cellars in one that is doing it well.  Filled with honeysuckle, citrus, stone fruit and lychee fruit, this is a crisp and lively wine made from sustainably farmed, Walla Walla Valley fruit.

2009 La Diligence Marsanne from Miner Family Vineyards in Napa Valley, working with French Producer Fancois Villard of Condrieu to produce a Rhone style white using grapes grown in Napa’s Stagecoach Vineyard, bringing old and new-world styles together.  Dave’s Miner has always had a love for the Rhone region of France and making Rhone style wines in Napa gives him the opportunity to express his passion for the region in his own backyard.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t see an actual French project from Dave at some point though.

2010 Novy Willamette Valley Blanc de Pinot Noir from the Dallas couple, Adam and Dianna Lee, who met and fell in love with both wine and each other working at Neiman Marcus together. If you close your eyes and sip this wine you might think you are drinking a chilled glass of traditional Pinot Noir, just a little lighter and softer.  The color in most red wines comes from their skins, with color developing in wine after the juice is left on the skins.  If you remove the skins you remove the color, but you are still able to maintain incredible depth of flavor from the actual fruit. Filled with orange zest and lemon curd with layers of spice and just a touch of earthiness present in many Willamette Valley wines, this is a fun one to enjoy with anything from sushi to roasted chicken.

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