ABC White Wines….Anything but Chardonnay that is. We gave Chardonnay some love last week for National Chardonnay Day…now let’s shift the palate a bit to other refreshing white wines, and though Chardonnay is America’s favorite white wine, the availability of interesting varieties extends to every pocket of the globe. Here are a few favorites to look out for this summer, of which a few were sent for editorial consideration, and all are delicious and patio worthy.
When it is ridiculously hot outside…as it is here by early August, you just want something cold and refreshing, cool and delicious. A crisp and light Sauvignon Blanc of Pinot Gris is often perfect here, but why not look to our Italian friends for one of their favorite white wines, Vermentino. Aia Vecchia blends a touch of Viognier in with theirs adding a hint of of white flowers and stone fruit to their grassy, mineral and citrus filled wine. $15 available at Jimmy’s Food Store.
Vermentino is also a variety that does very well here at home in Texas. Duchman Family Winery Vermentino is one my favorite Texas white wines, bringing in that great acidity and dryness that I look for with this variety, while marrying it with layers of juicy lemon and tangerine notes. A Texas white that will also impress, as I have served this on numerous occasions for winemaker friends when they are visiting Dallas from other wine growing regions.$18, available locally at Spec’s locations.
June 12 is national Rueda day….one of Spain’s favorite wine regions known for their vibrant, juicy Verdejo wines, boasting great acidity and herbaceous freshness, with a slightly more rounded palate making them good food wines with summer salads topped with grilled shrimp and cilantro pesto. Look for one from Trascampanas or Palacio de Bornos Rueda Verdejo, available locally at Total Wine and More for around $12-$15 a bottle.
Along those same lines, a white wine with great acidity, freshness and filled with tons of juicy lemon-lime is Assyrtico from the island of Santorini, in Greece, with one of my favorites coming from the prestigious family run winery Boutari. Some find this dry white to be a bit too dry for their taste, but I love it for its bright, steely, mineral and freshly mowed grass filled wine enhanced by the freshness of the citrus. $20 available locally at Spec’s and Sigel’s locations, as well as Central Market.
Pinot Grigio is an ideal patio/pool wine, and there are two that are perfect for the season. From Argentina, Las Perdices melds the juicy apple and citrus notes we love in the variety with a touch of the earthiness and herbal notes inherent in Argentine wines, especially their whites. Las Perdices can be found at Spec’s for about $13 a bottle.
Masi Masianco blends 75% Pinot Grigio with 25% Verduzzo, creating notes of honeysuckle, melon and tropical fruit, with just a hint of creaminess from a portion of the wine going through malolactic fermentation, balancing with classic citrus notes for a fresh, approachable and affordable option (around $15 a bottle.) Available locally at Jimmy’s.
Terra d’ Oro just released their first summer blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier, but don’t let the blend make you think this is a sweet wine, it isn’t, but it does have great floral notes of white and wild flowers, melding with stone fruit and a balanced hit of citrus, giving the wine good acidity and freshness. A perfect wine for summer. $16, widely available throughout Dallas.
Verdicchio is one of Italy’s beloved whites known for its mineral rich, steely, clean qualities, creating lively, fresh and easy to enjoy wines. Garofoli in Italy’s Marche region has been producing the variety in the region’s hilly, clay and sand filled soils since 1901. Their Garofoli Macrina Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC blends stone fruit flavors like peach and apricot with apple and pear notes for a fresh, balanced and very elegant wine perfect on its own or with light fish or pasta dishes. $14 available at Jimmy’s.
Riesling can be a bit confusing to consumers, especially if the style and description aren’t clear to the buyer and you pick up a bottle of sweet Auslese when you really want a dry Kabinett. They don’t have to be confusing though, and they aren’t all sweet. Dry Riesling is one of my favorite summer wines as they are filled with steely, peach and white flower notes, sometimes with a bit of petrol or pencil lead, creating a light palate with flavors that sing of spring and summer without weighing you down. Washington state has become known for some of their Dry Riesling wines, and recently Oregon is getting into the action as well. The Umpqua Valley of Oregon, in the southern part of the state, prides itself on growing a vast array of varieties in their warm weather climate. Brandborg Winery in Elkton, OR created their mountainside, estate vineyard with the goal to work with both varieties that have proved to be successful in Oregon, like Pinot Noir, but also simply those they loved, like Riesling, from vines that have been on their property since 1983. The result for their Brandborg Riesling is a wine with depth and character filled with golden apple and pear aromas with hints of honey and white flower, yet with bright and balanced acidity on the palate, making it well rounded and delicious, especially with spicy Asian or Thai food. $16, available via their website.
I recently had an event where we poured an Albarino blend from the Rias Baixas region of Spain, home of the great Albarino wines of the country. We poured one from Bodegas Terras Gauda, their O Rosal Albarino, a part of the Avenui Brands portfolio, which blended in a touch of Loureiro and Caiño Blanco, two regional whites, with 70% Albarino, rounding out the citrus and stone fruit filled palate, adding in a touch of creaminess and honey to the crisp wine, and perfect paired with a white Gazpacho soup. $20, available at Goody-Goody locations. I am heading to the region next week to sip more Albarino wines so I am sure I will have many more suggestions for Albarino wines in the weeks to come.