Story by Dave Eckert @eatsanddrinkswithdave
As I’m writing this, Spring is just peeking in the door. So, I’m penning an article on white wine selections for springtime consumption because I KNOW warmer temperatures are coming, and I want to be prepared with the right bottle(s) of wine to herald them in. Here’s a bevy of white wines perfect for quaffing as the grass greens, the birds chip, and our mood and cuisine lighten! They are in no particular order, just categorized as domestic and foreign.
Happy sipping and hunting!
Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Chardonnay ($20 SRP)
I’m not generally a fan of domestic Chardonnay as too many tend to be dominated by oak with an emphasis on tropical flavors and aromas. That’s just not my style. But then I taste something like the Tamarack Cellars Chardonnay, sourced from Washington State’s Columbia Valley, and I understand why Chardonnay remains the king of white wine. Perfectly balanced with lovely aromas of roasted apples and lemon framed by brilliant acidity, Tamarack’s Chardonnay brought a smile to my face while pairing perfectly with my roast chicken.
Bonterra Chardonnay ($14 SRP)
The largest producer of domestic organic wines, Bonterra has long been a favorite of mine. This Chardonnay, with a simple California designation, reminds me of why. A real crowd-pleaser with aromas and flavors of green apples, pears, oranges, and lemon, the wine balances those flavors with a kiss of new oak and malolactic fermentation. Beautifully balanced and deliciously quaffable, the Bonterra Chardonnay will likely be the first empty bottle on your table.
Balletto Vineyards Pinot Gris ($20 SRP)
I usually turn to Alsace, Alto-Adige, or Oregon’s Willamette Valley for top notch Pinot Gris, but this one from Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley took me aback with its strong, full-bodied fruit flavors and crisp acidity. Also featuring a lovely un-oaked Chardonnay, the family-owned Balletto Vineyards is a white wine source to keep an eye on.
Stags’ Leap Winery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($32 SRP)
One of the most focused, complex, and delicious domestic Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted, Stags’ Leap’s version features citrus, herbs, and floral aromas and flavors. Fruits range from peaches, lemons, and grapefruit. Herbs run the gamut from lemongrass and white pepper to ginger. Meantime, the floral notes of the wine are unmistakable. Yes, this is an expensive domestic Sauvignon Blanc, but in my opinion, worth every penny.
Browne Family Vineyards, Premier Collection White Arrow Blend ($32 SRP)
Another Rhone-inspired wine, Browne Family’s White Arrow Blend from Washington State’s Yakima Valley combines Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Picpoul to produce a floral and spicy wine with tasty citrus flavors and aromas and lip-smacking acidity. Often, white Rhone blends leave me cold with their over-the-top viscosity, but this one hits all the right notes.
Aperture Cellars Sauvignon Blanc ($40 SRP)
Tasted blind I would likely guess this as a high-end Bordeaux Blanc. No surprise, as the style of floral aromatics and tropical flavors reflect winemaker Jesse Katz’s experience at Chateau Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. The barrel fermented grapes won’t be for everyone, but I found the wine to be complex, rich, and balanced.
Louis Jadot Bourgogne Blanc ($19.99 SRP)
An entry-level White Burgundy, Jadot’s Bourgogne Blanc is definitely a gateway wine. Fresh, elegant, and rich, this 100-percent Chardonnay is sneakily delicious!
Gustave Lorentz Pinot Gris Reserve ($21.99 SRP)
Value and pedigree. Now that’s a combination you don’t often find in the wine world. A Reserve Pinot Gris from the region that gave the grape its birth at $22 is fantastic, but not as fantastic as the wine itself. With very ripe fruit (ripe, not sweet), the wine is layered and complex with grilled and smoked notes and a very long finish.
Matetic Coastal Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99 SRP)
I love a good Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, and Matetic’s Coastal version definitely fits the bill. A bit more tropical in nature than a lot of Chilean Sauvignons, Matetic balances those notes with bright acidity. As for the price, well, that’s just a bonus.
Miguel Torres Chile Las Mulas Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99 SRP)
Another tasty Sauvignon Blanc from Chile from the famous Spanish house of Torres, this wine also packs tropical fruits and aromas into the mix along with nuanced hits of citrus. Silky and complex, this is a food wine and another stunning value.
Marques de Caceres Verdejo ($12.99 SRP)
Speaking of Spain, Spanish whites are among my favorites on the planet. I love a good Albarino, which I consider perhaps the single best white wine to pair with seafood, and Verdejos aren’t far behind. From the Reuda appellation, not far from Madrid, this Verdejo from the excellent Marques de Caceres caresses the nose with aromas of flowers and white peaches before layering freshly peeled citrus over the palate. The price makes this one more terrific value.