30 September, 2009
Now we all know that wearing white post labor day is verboten, but is it cool to DRINK white after the first Monday in September?
Fear not, kids! I bought off the "wine-style" police and they're turning their eyes the other way, so drink up!....but just WHAT should we drink while we're on the run???
When it's about a zillion degrees in August, there's not much better to me than a California or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or an Albariño from Rias Baixas Spain right out of the chiller to quench the thirst and cool the burn. ..and when the temps thankfully turn south, it's nice to turn to other varietals that perhaps offer alternatives to the crisp, cooling whites of summer with their wider body, fuller fruit and more robust character.
Rather than focusing more frequently on refreshing, let's try and tempt the fate of the fruits originally from Burgundy in Chardonnay, Rhone in Rousanne, Viognier, Marsanne among many, from Navarra in Grenache Blanc and perhaps from Mendoza Argentina, Torrontes.
With the holidays quickly approaching, a "bigger and bolder" white is often in order and these are the source of the flavors of fall when meals turn richer, warmer, deeper.
For Chardonnay, I'm finding myself going for newer California styled offerings. These are much more like the California wines of the mid-80s before malolactic fermentation and over oaking became the "thing". Try and find a smaller craft winery focusing on organic or biodynamic production.
Torrontes is a great varietal with super flavor. Fresh, citrus, but not sharp or piercing, at all. It's a super choice with richer fish such as halibut, shark or swordfish...and there are some super bargains out there. You can easily find great quality from Argentina for around $10.
The Rhone varietals are the most elegant of the group, but are also quite approachable. They sometimes do cost a bit more, but are still very reasonable and definitely within our price point. Rousanne is more often than not blended with Marsanne so, you'll likely have more success finding a blend than a single varietal. Viognier, on the other hand, if often found as a single varietal and is very drinkable and easy on the wallet. It's a bit crisper than the '-ANNEs, but should not be disregarded when thinking about cooler weather. I really enjoy Viognier paired with roasted fowl, particularly duck. Delicious.
Finally, there are some opposing ideas to this, but Grenache Blanc is now thought of originating from Spain as a genetic mutation of Garnacha, and is found mainly along the regions of the Pyranees, such as Navarra. It's super if you can find it and is now widely grown in the US as well as other New World regions. A good example of Grenache Blanc provides a full, wide mouthfeel and is a flavorful experience. It's a great complement to fresh cuts of pork and also with spanish beans and lentils as well as Paella.
So, while the mercury has headed south, your white wine efforts need not be shelfed. Get out there and drink some white after labor day. Focusing on the varietals mentioned here, you'll have a rich experience.
(For specific recommendations, please click on the keyword search terms on the right side of the page)