Just in time, Wines for Spring!
Spring is officially here, and with it, white wine season!
The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer, so it is time to cellar the big bold red wines that warm us from the inside during the winter and switch to the perfect wines for spring, white wines that are crisp and refreshing during these warmer days.
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Grigio are all fantastic varietals to reach for on the shelves this time of year. However, I am a firm believer in stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. Here is a list of some interesting white wine varietals, some you may have heard of, and others maybe not, to try this spring.
Let’s start with Torrontes, a very interesting white wine from Argentina. Torrontes is one of the only grapes that is indigenous to Argentina, and is its most popular white wine. Torrontes has a golden yellow color with a floral bouquet and a touch of spice on the nose. The flavor is fresh, with good body and light acidity, with hints of citrus and stone fruit. This wine pairs well with light flaky fish, and chicken dishes. Taymente makes an outstanding Torrontes, and a great value coming in under $13.
Italy is home to two of my favorite different white varietals, Vernaccia and Falanghina. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is from just outside the village of San Gimignano in Tuscany. It is considered one of the finest white wines of Italy and was the first white wine to be granted DOC status. The wine is a pale yellow green color with medium intensity. Floral, lemon and melon notes hit you on the nose, with citrus notes and minerality on the palate. The wine finishes with refreshing acidity and minerality. Fontaleoni is a great producer of Vernaccia di San Gimignano, at a reasonable price of $15.
Falanghina is from Campania, Italy, just north of Naples. It is an ancient grape that dates back to Roman times, with considerable character and substance. The wine is crisp and fruity with light acidity. Almond, lemon and nectarine shine through with a medium to full finish, elegant and smooth mouth feel make this an elegant white. Cantina del Taburno is my favorite estate producer of Falanghina, with a great price of $15.
Off to the northwest of Spain’s Rias Baixas region is where we find Albarino. This interesting white varietal produces a wine that has floral notes and high acidity. Flavors of apricot and peach are prevalent, with medium body and a crisp finish. Columna and Granbazan are two great producers, with prices ranging from $15-$22.
Pinot Gris from Oregon is another fantastic white wine that I believe shines this time of year. Although Pinot Gris is originally from the old world, I find that the wines from Oregon are exceptional. Cristom is hands down my favorite producer. Their organic farming practices are one reason and the other is the fact that their estate bottled Pinot Gris is delicious. This full bodied white wine has citrus notes on the nose that are contrasted with flavors of apple, pear and melon on the palate. The finish is long with a touch of minerality and spice. The complexity and balance of this wine are exceptional, and all this for around $20
The final wine on my list that doesn’t get enough recognition is dry Riesling. Germany may be home to this great wine, however right here in New York is home to one of the best Riesling estates in the world, Herman J. Wiemer. This aromatic, mineral driven wine is exceptional, and should be a must try for all of us New Yorkers this spring and summer.
Now is the time to get outside and enjoy all the beauty that the Hudson Valley has to offer. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new this spring. Ask your local wine professional what suits your palate, or what wine pairs well with the lighter fare we all enjoy during the warmer months.