Six Sizzling Summer Whites
by Stan Bliden
I used to believe that there were two reasons to drink white wine. The first was as an apéritif before the red wine was served and second if you’re out of red. These days however, I find myself drinking more and more of the non-red stuff. Maybe it’s because my diet has changed or my tastes have changed or maybe it's because the quality and variety of white wine is the best it has ever been. I occasionally taste with a group of local collectors and our most recent wine dinner was focused on 1990 Barolo’s. This wine is arguably the most complex red wine on earth. Five of us shared some monumental top wines of the vintage preceded by two whites. One of the whites, a 2000 Chateau Haut Brion Blanc made from almost equal parts Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grape varieties was in some opinions, the wine of the night. As the night began the fruity freshness combined with nicely balanced oak of the Sauvignon Blanc dominated but as we concluded 3 hours later the nose had changed to the honeysuckle and almond flavors of the Semillon variety. WOW!! Granted, Haut-Brion Blanc is a very expensive wine but you need not spend a fortune to get a delicious bottle of white. There are a vast number of wines from all around the world to satisfy the most discriminating palate and budget minded wine lover as well. I have worked very hard to search out six sizzling whites to delight your summer drinking.
Finca El Origen Torrontes Reserva 2007 Valle de Cafayate Salta, Argentina • $9.99
The scent of fresh flowers, peaches and citrus fruits explode from the glass of this hot variety. The palate has nice structure and acidity yet it’s not too dry. It is a lovely summer white at a bargain price.
Burgans Albarino Rias Baixas, Galicia, Spain 2007 • $12.99
The Albarino grape yields a medium to full-bodied wine, which at its best, is crisp, dry, and vibrant with a complex texture. The nose is highly aromatic with excellent peach, apricot and orange blossom characteristics.
Monchhof Estate Riesling QBA, Germany 2007 • $14.99
It has a fruity nose with a hint of petrol followed by a burst of white peach and light sweetness. The minerality and acidity makes for a super refreshing taste that balances the sweetness. It is the perfect summer deck wine, all by itself or with some fruit and cheese.
Chateau de la Greffiere Macon La Roche Vineuse Blanc “Sous le Bois” France 2007 • $15.99
Now that’s a mouthful without even tasting the wine! But oh what a wine. This 100% Chardonnay from the Maconnais Region south of Burgundy sees a little oak aging (sous le bois). It drinks like a $40 White Burgundy with its rich creamy style and lovely minerality.
Pieropan Soave, Italy 2008 • $16.99
At $24 a bottle I could not recommend this wine, but at $16.99 it has re-entered the reality price range. The texture is full, revealing excellent ripeness and the wine shows good length. It is the perfect apéritif wine and matches perfect with asparagus and lighter seafood dishes.
Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley California 2008 • $21.99
The nose of lemongrass and minerals jumps right out of the glass and pulls you in for more. The palate of fresh grapefruit, lemon and herbs just goes on and on. It is only 12.5% alcohol so it doesn’t kill you and goes beautifully with goat cheese or grilled seafood. The vineyards located in the heart of the Napa Valley Bench are dry–farmed and organic. The new winery is solar powered.
Stan Bliden, the second-generation owner of Midway Liquors on Pulaski Highway in Joppa, grew up in the wine business. His passion from early on has been wine and he is "continually amazed" by how much there is to learn about the subject. You can reach him at: email@example.com
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