Spring Wines: Whites

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By Dave Eckert

Last week, I sent along some sparkling and rose wine picks to herald the new season and help us weather our current Stay at Home order and the Covid-19 pandemic in general. Never one to let my thoughts gather dust, especially when it comes to wine, I’m back today with input on some great white wines to enjoy this spring. These wines, an eclectic selection of local, domestic, and international bottlings, are guaranteed to ease your mind and please your palate. Enjoy!


I drink all colors and flavors of wine year-round, so I’m definitely not an “only in spring and summer” white wine kind of guy. Still, there’s something really refreshing about a lovely bottle of chilled white when the weather starts to warm. There are terrific white wine choices from all over the world that fit the bill. I’ll start with two local wines.

Traminette ~ Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery, Louisburg, KS ($14.99 SRP) – a delightful, estate-grown wine, Somerset Ridge’s Traminette is a lovely springtime choice. Related to the Gewurztraminer grape, this Traminette is dry but fools you with tropical fruit flavors and a honeysuckle-floral nose. A definitely “go to” wine for spring and summer.

Photo by Pete Dulin

KAIscape ~ Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery, Excelsior Springs, MO ($17 SRP) -KAIscape, which is named after owner-winemaker Shriti Plimpton’s golden doodle, is an off-dry blend of Vidal Blanc and Seyval grapes. You could easily drink a chilled bottle on its own, but I might suggest pairing KAIscape with some spicy cuisine. I love the acidity of the wine, and the fact it was made in a fresh, Vinho Verde-style, with lower alcohol and terrific fruit flavors and aromas.

Sauvignon Blanc ~ Bonterra Organic Vineyards, California ($14 SRP) – I’ve long admired the wines of Mendocino County’s Bonterra Vineyards. In fact, the time I spent with then-winemaker Bob Blue taping a segment of my PBS television show, Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert, was among my most enjoyable shoots. This Bonterra California Appellation Sauvignon Blanc sources grapes from three counties: Mendocino, Lake, and Sonoma. The resulting blend is intriguing combination of citrus fruit and fresh cut grass. That’s my style of Sauvignon Blanc and at my price point too!

Sauvignon Blanc ~ Cakebread Cellars, Napa Valley ($29.99 SRP) – one of my two favorite domestic Sauvignon Blancs, the second to follow, Cakebread’s Sauvignon Blanc is wildly expressive. Tropical fruit and floral aromas leap out of the glass
while flavors of peach and melon envelope the palate. With all that’s going on, you might think the wine would be flabby or out of balance. Nothing could be farther from the truth as Cakebread’s Sauvignon Blanc has a core of acidity and touches of minerality that keep it fresh with every sip!

Sauvignon Blanc ~ Provenance Vineyards, Rutherford, Napa Valley, CA ($38) – More than I would ever spend on a Sauvignon Blanc, yet worth every penny, this might be the single best domestic SB I have tasted. Tropical notes of pineapple and mango abound, but they are just the entrance to a core of ripe stone fruit elements that harken to white peaches. Wrapping it all up is a hint of spice and wonderful bracing acidity. I love this wine!

Chenin Blanc ~ MAN Family Wines Chenin Blanc, South Africa ($11.99 SRP) – There is more Chenin Blanc planted in South Africa than any other white grape. The grape, native to France’s Loire Valley, thrives in the climate and soils of South Africa. This version from MAN shows the vibrancy of Chenin Blanc with gobs of fresh fruit flavors and aromas. The wine is held in check by racy acidity. Great on its own or with a wide variety of food, the MAN Chenin Blanc is a terrific introduction to the joys of this versatile, under-appreciated grape.

Chenin Blanc Old Vine ~ Lievland Vineyards. South Africa ($18.99 SRP) – if the MAN Chenin Blanc is an introduction to the grape, Lievland’s Old Vine version is more of an engagement. Lievland takes all of Chenin’s high tone fruit and natural acidity and turns it into a complex and elegant package. Approachable now, Lievland’s Old Vine Chenin Blanc has the capability of aging 5-7 years. One of the great white wine values the world over!

Chenin Blanc ~ Cave B Estate Winery, Columbia Valley, Washington State ($22 SRP) – one of the most complex domestic Chenin Blancs I have had the pleasure to taste, the Cave B Estate Chenin runs the gamut from grassy notes, to a melon-dominated middle palate, to exotic tropical aromas ranging from mango to pineapple. Even with all those elements, the wine remains harmonious and balanced. A new winery for me, I look forward to learning and tasting more from Cave B.

Angevine ~ Bainbridge Vineyards, Puget Sound, Washington State ($22 SRP) – Since there’s no baseball, I thought I’d throw in a wine out of left field. Angevine is a French varietal that is produced in a dry, crisp style by Bainbridge Vineyards located in Washington State’s Puget Sound AVA. If you like a grassy Sauvignon Blanc, you’re sure to like this wine!

Chardonnay ~ 375ml can, Waterbrook, Columbia Valley, Washington State ($7.99 SRP) – Waterbrook is part of the fast-growing Precept group of wineries, the largest family-owned collection of wines in the Pacific Northwest. Waterbrook is a trailblazing winery located in the Walla Walla AVA. This wine, a citrus and tree fruit-dominated Chardonnay is packaged in a convenient, easily chillable, eminently transportable can. It’s perfect for that Springtime picnic which, this year, can be held on your back deck or your patio!

Un-Oaked Chardonnay ~ River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA ($13.99 SRP) – If you’ve never had an un-oaked Chardonnay, you’re in for a treat. And if you have, you’ll appreciate the purity of fruit and crispness of flavors you find in River Road’s version. Perfect for a warm sunny afternoon, serve this wine slightly chilled and watch everyone smile.

There you go, 11 white wines from four states and a couple of countries.

See you next week with some delicious, red wine choices. Cheers.



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