Today is the first official day of summer. Here, in CT we have a gorgeous, sunny day with temperature reaching 90° F. I can’t wait to sit on the porch in the evening, enjoying a nice bottle of wine with dinner. Most likely it’s going to be white. I don’t think it’s because that’s the wine that’s chilled. That has probably a lot to do with the fact, that most wine drinkers switch to whites during a hot days.
(As I am writing this, I realized there is none left in my wine cooler, so I ran downstairs to my cellar and brought up few white wines to chose from, and placed them in my wine cooler.)
I also love and enjoy the crispiness and dryness of good quality white wines. They go well with my summer choices of foods – lighter dishes like salads or seafood. These are wines I grew up on in Europe. Grüner Veltliner, Müller Thurgau, Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc were most typical varieties growing in my home country Czechoslovakia and nearby Austria or Germany. Unlike some reds, which could be just too heavy and tiring during hot days.
Funny to say that, because just a few years back, I didn’t drink whites at all. I wonder if you might have the same experience. Ever since I started to discover an excellent red wines (Californian Cabernets, Bordeaux blends, rich and jammy Zinfandels or Shirazes), I suddenly found white wines boring. I believed there was so much character in red wines, that I never felt like white, no matter what the temperature was.
Thanks to my job I was tasting hundreds of wines a month. When we tasted another-big-oaky-Californian-Chardonnay, which had to be like 12th that day, I wasn’t the only one who rolled their eyes. Despite the fact that they were excellent wines. I didn’t enjoy wines that I once loved. My palate was changing rapidly. We had the best selection of German Rieslings in the house, and I wasn’t enjoying them either.
It took me a few years to get enough of those big, impressive reds and return to appreciate the elegance, complexity and charm of Pinot Noirs, Beaujolais and other wines I was familiar with from Europe. That’s when I fell in love with whites all over again. I re-discovered the amazing potential of German Rieslings (and no, not all of them are automatically sweet – there are bone dry Rieslings to enjoy). I learned about new varieties coming from Spain, Argentina, Bordeaux or Italy, that I wasn’t aware of.
I have picked 10 favorite white wines that I really enjoyed lately. I deliberately left out those big, oaky and buttery style Chardonnays (sorry) but I promise I will review some soon. I don’t want to sound like I am putting this style of wine down – they are quite a few I tasted that are outstanding, deserving a special menu or even an occasion to be paired with.
However, my selected list of wines today is full of fresh, crisp wines, wines that offer lot’s of character and flavor and are complimenting many summer foods. I also picked some unusual choice of grape varietals. Sorry, I just realized there isn’t one Pinot Grigio. Well, maybe next time.
Most of these wines are around or under $10.00, with some exceptions….
Here we go:
1. Botani 2009, Malaga, Spain
2. Peter Lehmann Layers, Barossa, Australia
3. Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc, Sonoma, California
4. Las Brisas, Rueda, Spain
5. Weingut Huber Hugo Grüner Veltliner, Austria
6. Chateau de L’Hoste, Bordeaux, France
7. Bodegas Carrau Sauvignon Blanc “Sur Lie”, Uruguay
8. Muga Blanco, Rioja, Spain
9. Argiolas Vermentino Costamolino, Sardinia, Italy
10. Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnenühr Riesling Spätlese, Mosel-Saar Rüwer, Germany
Wines are listed in no particular order, I would hate to rate them from best to not so best. These truly are my current favorites so I rate them equally. With the exception of the last Riesling, all these white wines are dry. I have definitely left out several great whites that could make another few lists.
Please, let me know what you have tasted lately and what would make your personal list of favorites!