Slipping into Summer

white wines...

Broaden your white wine horizons this summer. Be adventurous!

 

Instead of picking your favourite California Chardonnay, think about a Chardonnay from right here in British Columbia or look for bargain priced Chardonnay from even farther afield.

Founded in 1918 – more than a hundred years ago – the KWV Cooperative is still the largest wine and spirits producer in South Africa. KWV's 'The Vinecrafter' Chardonnay $8.99 is entirely un-oaked and remarkably affordable. Green apple and pear aromas are echoed in the flavour profile with a twist of lemon rind in the finish.

The Loire Valley in France is the spiritual home of Sauvignon Blanc but New Zealand has become the go-to source for many wine

lovers. Sauvignon Blanc is also being made to the west, across the Tasman Sea in Australia.

 

Australian Vintage Ltd's Duplicate Sauvignon Blanc $12.49 has aromas of wet gravel, peach and melon, without the 'grassy' character of most NZ examples. Melon, cantaloupe and mango flavours develop as the wine open up in the glass.

With vineyards in every nook and cranny, Italy is awash in wines, many of which are rarely seen here in British Columbia. As well as being any Italian cheese made from sheep's milk, Pecorino is a white wine grape grown in the Marche, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio regions of Italy.

From Abruzzo – on the calf of the boot of Italy - Citra's 'Sheep Thrills' Pecorino $13.99 has all the zingy, grassy notes of a dry NZ Sauvignon Blanc, pineapple and passion fruit notes mid-palate, and the lean and chalky minerality in the finish that sets many Italian whites apart.

Portugal's widely exported white Vinho Verdes are most often blends of indigenous Iberian wine grapes: Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal, Arinto, Loureiro, and Trajadura.

Made from only one variety, Maria Bonita Loureira Vinho Verde $14.99 has a medley of subtle white-flower, lime and grapefruit aromas. Unlike many mass-produced Vinho Verdes. Green apple and pink grapefruit flavours lead the pack.

Argentina made its mark internationally with red wines made from the Malbec grape. Torrontes is Argentina's primary white wine grape but it hasn't quite penetrated international markets as successfully as Malbec. Valentin Bianchi’s Torrontes grapes

come from vineyards located in San Rafael, Mendoza.

 

Named after Dona Elsa, the late grandmother of the current Bianchi owners, Elsa Bianchi Torrontes $15.99 seduces the nose with wisps of rose petal and fresh crushed grape aromas. Light and fresh, it offers up flavours of lemons, oranges and grapefruit over classic green apple and honeyed peaches. Keep chilled and sip slowly...

Not all Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc when it comes to white wines, Australia has grown other wine grape varieties for decades. Today, some of the most intriguing Australian white wines are blends.

From Redheads Studio based in Angaston, South Australia, Yard Dog White Blend $17.99 marries 80 per cent of the Portugese specialty Verdelho with splashes of Riesling and Chardonnay. Ripe apple and pear notes dominate but this white has lime and kiwi fruit notes and a richly textured mouthfeel.

Picking a local BC white is a challenging exercise because there are so many great wines to choose from. Located on the Naramata Bench in the Okanagan Valley, Bench 1775 aims “...to capture the full expression of grapes grown in vibrantly healthy and balanced vineyards”.

 

Bench 1775 Viognier $24.99 blends grapes from two different vineyards – one in Naramata and one in Osoyoos. Apple, honeyed apricot and mango aromas and flavours come together in a mouth-filling medley. Winemaker Valeria Tait scores another winner with this rich and captivating wine.

Inexpensive Spanish whites from new plantings of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are beginning to capture our attention but we often overlook and undervalue more traditional wines.

 

Made from a blend of Viura, Malvasía and Garnacha Blanca grapes, Tres Viñas Blanco Reserva $30.99 is aged in American oak for 12 months then spends a year in the 

bottle before release. Initial aromas of almonds and very dry apricots lead into honeyed apple and pear flavours as the wine warms in the glass. Notes of sultana raisins and marzipan linger in a subtly salty and sage-brushed finish.

 

Step out of your cozy white wine rut this week and make a point of finding an exciting white wine that is new to you!

Reach WineWise by emailing douglas_sloan@yahoo.com