Summer is in full swing so it’s “legal” to wear white….and drink white wine! Okay, there’s no rule about white wine but it is a good excuse to start if you haven’t already!
There’s so much great white wine out there from light Pinot Gris to full body Chardonnay and plenty in-between.
LIGHT-BODIED white wines are known for their dry, refreshing flavors. They are intended to be enjoyed young while at their peak acidity and fruitiness. They’re the perfect accompaniment for warm, summer days, food optional. Some of the tastiest are Albariño, Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Soave and Vermentino.
AROMATIC white wines are some of the most interesting. People either love ‘em or hate ‘em. They have distinct characteristics that set them apart and make them unique. As I’ve mentioned, I am not one to throw back a lot of wine. I am, however; one who likes a wide range of wines so this category is one I appreciate. These guys are highly perfumed often with sweet fruit aromas like guava and lychee. They have floral notes of rose, jasmine, honeysuckle, and geranium. They can even be peculiar with notes of beeswax and petroleum. Their descriptors can make them sound mostly sweet but they can also be very dry. Aromatic wines are the ones to drink if you’re eating Asian or Indian cuisine. Look for Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc and Torrontés.
FULL-BODIED whites are known for their rich, bold flavors. These fellas (I assume they are dudes, I guess) are often aged in oak barrels or on their lees (dead yeast cells) giving them creaminess and flavors of butter and vanilla. You are probably familiar with Chardonnay, but try branching out to a lush Viognier or a meaty Roussanne.
If none of these “WOW” you, there’s always sparkling wine…but that is a whole other post.
Thanks to my former role as military spouse, I spent 3 years living in Naples, Italy. I loved living there – the food, the culture, the wine….oh the wine!
While indulging in the Italian experience, I developed an infatuation for Italian wine. Like many European countries, eating and drinking local is daily life in Italy; thus, I spent many days drinking the local wine. Unfortunately, that encompassed brief encounters with “landlord wine” (loosely translated, wet gym socks wrung into a wine bottle) – just to be clear, only brief encounters because I also had good landlord wine. I had the privilege of drinking exceptional local wine from the ancient, indigenous grapes of the region. One of the wines I grew especially fond of was Falanghina, a refreshing white wine with classic flavors of green apple, pear, citrus, and depending where it is grown, pineapple, floral, spice and/or mineral notes.
I always say “drink what you like, like what you drink” but in general agree with the saying, if you want a good pairing, pair wine and food from the same region. In fact, I would say that’s how I first fell in love with Falanghina, but have learned this wine just seems to go well with most any food. Seriously, I’ve had success pairing Falanghina with anything from Super Bowl junk food to gourmet artisanal salted dark chocolate.
When I moved from Italy it was with a heavy heart for many reasons. One being that I thought it would be hard to find Falanghina. Thankfully, Falanghina has been in my wine glass pretty much whenever I’ve wanted it, from sipping on it reminiscing about my days in bella Italia to pairing it with a pile of nachos.
How can it be that summer is over! Kids are well into school, the days are shorter…and white wines are once again forgotten until next spring.
I have little prejudice when it comes to wine but I tend to drink white wine mostly during the warm months when the sun is shining and a chilled, crisp white is the perfect patio sipper.
So goodbye Chardonnay – I realize you’re the world’s most popular white grape variety but you can be fairly neutral. I mean you’re sometimes used as a blending grape! Time to move on from your apple, lemon, pineapple, starfruit and mango aromas even though you can be deliciously full bodied with buttery nuances and toasty notes when aged in oak barrels.
So long Sauvignon Blanc – Let’s face it, some people have never really cared for your aromas of grass and green pepper. I will remember you more for your grapefruit, melon and gooseberry. Oh, and the fact that you pair so well with so many foods.
Farewell Riesling – I’m guessing not as many people drink you even though I think you ROCK…and pair perfectly with spicy food. Your aromas of lime, apple, peach, apricot, honeycomb and jasmine will be missed.
Arrivederci Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris – I know, I know, your name means gray and it seems appropriate for you to be around for the impending gray skies but the weather will be too cold to enjoy your delicate, light bodied character. We’ve had enough of your aromas of apple, lemon, nectarine and saline (for the Pinot Grigio hanging out around the coasts of Italy). And you’re just too confusing being the same grape variety from different origins.
WAIT! There is no way I can go on hiatus until spring to enjoy these beauties again. In fact, I’m grabbing a Riesling at my favorite Thai restaurant tonight!