Spring Time and New Wine Time!

white wine for spring

What do we all think of as the weather gets warmer? Lighter wine, of course. Put aside those rich, velvety reds that took us through this frigid winter. Start looking and shopping for some light and sprightly gems. I generally transition into white with some of the following wines, thanks to Chapel Hill Wine Company

(New Zealand) Giesen Sauvignon Blanc  – approx $15.99 As you have come to expect from a Kiwi SB, aromas of tropical fruit – guava, gooseberry, grapefruit and passion fruit – explode from the glass. Flavors of the same, combined with zesty citrus notes and vibrant acidity tickle your palate…a wake-up call for the taste buds! Perfect for Sunday Brunch…what? Too early in the day? Okay, try with fresh tomatoes from the garden, drizzled with a little olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

(Austria) Leth Gruner Veltliner  – approx $17.99 Typical for Gruner Veltliner, this has vibrant acidity, ripe citrus flavors and a hint of white pepper. What sets this wine apart from the pack is how rich and creamy it is. The trick? Well, in addition to riper than typical grapes, the wine sees three months of aging on the lees. When left in contact with the wine, they impart uncommon richness and a creamy texture. Okay… so what? So the wine is absolutely rocking! Aromas of ripe Golden Delicious apple, green mango, lemon verbena and oleander. Full-bodied but not at all lacking in mineral and acid structure. Delicate apricot and apple elements mingle with abundant mineral notes. It is delightful on its own, but has the stuffing to pair with a litany of cuisines – think simple, though – herb-roasted chicken, grilled halibut with a squeeze of lemon…

(Italy) Hofstatter Pinot Grigio – approx $22.49 Bright and exuberant right away, aromas of white flowers, orange and peach blossoms, bursting like crazy out of the glass. Besides the floral notes there’s tons of apricots and peaches, plus a bit of flinty-ness, hinting at the racy minerality we’ll find on the palate. It’s a joy to drink, all juicy ripe white peaches, apricots, and quince – a fresh fruit cocktail, but all balanced by vibrant, mouthwatering acidity. There’s no oak in this wine, nothing to get in the way of its powerful fruit and elegant mineral flavors. I’d be pretty happy sipping this alongside an antipasto of smoked cheeses and prosciutto, and it has the stuffing to hold up to a main course too, especially fried chicken or pan-seared NC mountain trout.

(France) Cave de Pomerols Picpoul de PInet 2011 – approx $11.99 You know this wine – it is one of our top selling whites, year after year. Fresh off the boat juice means super-snappy, super-clean, super-refreshing…it’s just SUPER-DUPER! Sorry. Lost control. Anyway, light and crisp, with a firm core of lemon and citrus fruit, and this year even a fuller, tropical fruit quality. Picpoul means ‘lip stinger,’ referring to its bright acidity.  A perfect match with steamed clams or mussels, delightful with raw oysters, and a joy to drink on its own!

As I head out to Chapel Hill this weekend to take my youngest on a college “Campus Days,” I relish in my memories of undergrad at UNC, hence the nod to Chapel Hill Wine Company! Happy tasting and please let me know some of your favorite Spring wines.


About Laura Levy Shatkin

Laura Levy Shatkin served for 10 years as food and wine critic for the Chicago Reader. Later, she became an Emmy-nominated executive producer for Taste, a 30-minute food and wine show on NBC-5 Chicago, which later merged into www.WineTasteTV.com, where Ms. Levy is a partner/owner. Today, she teaches private wine classes and hosts wine parties for consumers and firms, and continues to tell the video stories of wine, girlfriends and wine travel on her TCW blog, Wine…ing Women.