It is almost white wine season again, although we tend to smash white wine all year-round. The sound of people sneezing in your direction and then not washing their hands, and goopy noses hints of Spring coming. That means some of our favorite white wines coming down the pike with it. For those of you who are willing to stab us in the back by drinking wines from other producers, we decided to throw out some of our favorite ‘Spring White Wines’- while these are great for the season, most of them pair well with any weather. The cool thing about some of the ‘best white wines’ of the Spring is they are off the beaten path.
Since many of these bright and aromatic whites don’t see oak barrels or age long in the cellar they are often more affordable. This can especially be true when compared to big California or Burgundy Chardonnays- though you might have to ask the wine department in your local store where the “other white wines” are located. We love digging around in the dirt (pickax reference) for wine: red wine, white wine, pink wine, orange wine (it’s a thing), but we do especially love a good Spring white wine. In any event, here are some of the best white wines to bring to any Spring Fling:
It’s a diverse grape, ol’ Sauv Blanc. What we love about Sauvignon Blancs, is how they typically show where the grapes were grown: California vs Bordeaux vs New Zealand, etc… all the while letting you know that it is still Sauvignon Blanc. Its classic hints of guava, cat pee, grapefruit and grass are unmistakable when compared other varieties. It’s strange how we can write CAT PEE as a descriptor and hardly bat an eye… gross. Yum. And Yes, we make a nice Sauvignon Blanc at $17. (What? You want some? Buy here.)
This grape is a Hungarian native. We first had it while working behind the bar at Willi’s Wine Bar, in Sonoma County. A Furmint produced by Kiràlyudvar was a staff favorite and seemed to come back every season. Furmint may be best known when made into a sweet wine- with up to six other varieties, called Tokaji, or Royal Tokaji- one of my favorite dessert wines (originally created for Hungarian Royalty). Pretty interesting wines! See the following link for a little more history on the region (More on Tokaji). We’d lean toward a Furmint wine from Hungry, but shit- get crazy and experiment. Good luck finding this wine from elsewhere. Slightly off dry to dry is what we would recommend for a ‘Spring’s Best White Wine.’ Try Kiràlyudvar (we can't pronounce it either) as a producer and their Furmint Sec sold by Rare Wine Co. at about $20 a bottle
She’s not among the most popular white wines in the United States, but Chenin Blanc does have a special place in the old world’s heart. A pretty diverse grape, Chenin Blanc can be made sweet, dry, and sparkling (both sweet and dry). Ever heard of Vouvray? Try a couple wines from Vouvray sometime- they are great at showing what the grape can do. Again, for our ‘Spring White Wines,’ we recommend dry or just off dry. One of our favorites is a little more expensive CHÂTEAU D’ÉPIRÉ found it's importer's site at around $25-$35 Kermit Lynch
Grüner, as we call it, can be made into some really fun, white wines. A gram of sugar per liter here or there can turn a good white wine into a great white wine. Grüner Veltliner is one of those wines that works very well with a just touch a sweetness. Austrian Grüner Veltliner are great and assessable, but we would love to find some locals- know of one? Here is an old-world, Biodynamically (AKA Organic, with a little Voodoo sprinkled on top) produced, wine you can get a hold of at a good price. Note the crown top! We love it at around $17/L H&M Hofer.
Ultimately, the best white wines are the white wines YOU like. Try a bunch of wines early on and then impress your porch pounding friends with a house white that is delish, for the rest of the season.
NOTE: Don’t be afraid to ask the wine department, server, or bartender for something a little different- If they give a shit about wine, they might even enjoy the fact the someone else cares, too.
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