Colorado’s "comfortable season" is upon us.
Bright, promising mornings, long, sunny days, and lingering, gentle evenings beg a bit of reflection on the past year, even as we enjoy the rewards of winter’s effort. How better to meditate upon the bounty of Spring than with a thoughtful glass of wine? With this article I hope to present wines appropriate to the moment, with a focus on quality, value, and interest.
First and foremost - refreshment is king. When the weather is warm it is important to drink and serve wines that slake your thirst, cool your brow, and restore your spirit. This type of profile often means wines with lower alcohol, lighter tannins, and higher acidity. While many rosés and lighter reds play a definite role in the warmer months (both of which will be discussed in our next two study groups and blogs) this article will focus on lighter-bodied, white wines.
In general, wines from the ‘Old World’ (Eastern and Western Europe) commonly exemplify the qualities we might look for in a "Summertime wine". Bright and fresh wines, with an emphasis on balance and terroir, these whites often deliver with restraint and finesse, leaving you and your guests longing for another pour.
Loire Valley Wines
Try the whites from the Loire Valley of France. With such famed wines as crisp Sancerre (made from Sauvignon Blanc) and the light but creamy Muscadet (Melon De Bourgogne), the Loire offers delicate - though certainly not lacking for interest - wines of balance and pedigree.
Austria also offers beautiful, typically dry, white wines sure to please in the warmer months. Most notably, look for Grüner-Veltliner or Riesling from the regions of Wachau, Kamptal, or Kremstal.
For a touch of sweetness in the ‘Old World’, look no further than Germany. I believe that inarguably, Germany produces the finest Riesling in the world. Bracing acidity, levels upon levels of seductive sweetness and pure minerality are nurtured within compelling aromas of white flowers and mouth-watering flavors of ripe, orchard fruit.
"New World" Wines
The “New World” also offers many thirst-quenching, refreshing white wines. Considered the very model of powerful fruit and firm structure, whites of the “New World” still manage to craft juice of balance and poise.
New Zealand has become well-known, world wide, for their Sauvignon Blanc. With an elevated yet balanced profile (when compared to the Loire Valley of France), New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc cavorts in lush tropical fruit, piercing citrus flavor, and tangy, tangy, acidity.
For a white wine with a touch more reserve – let’s call it a delicate scent of white flowers, leading to generous, ripe tree fruit and candied lime flavors – try a Torrontés from Argentina. With the best wines hailing from the high-altitude regions of Salta and Catamarca, Argentina provides a gentle, yet well-balanced white wine that can even seem a little sweet in its approachable style.
'Tis better to taste than to read!
Looking back over these recommendations, I’ve left out a lot of incredible wine. For a little more depth of information I highly recommend attending the Cliff House’s April wine study entitled “Let’s Get Ready for Summer” (information available on our website at www.thecliffhouse.com). Most importantly, remember – serve a refreshing wine in the summertime. Enjoy!
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