Chill out with wine
Cool, zippy wines to sip into summer.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve surpassed my winter quota for heavy red wines. I’m ready for some refreshing, palate-cleansing white wines to add a little zip to my summer step. As summer heats up, chilled wines have so much more appeal than full-bodied reds.
What makes white wines more refreshing than red wines? Acidity. White wines have higher tartaric acid than reds, which contributes to crispness in the wine. We tend to eat a bit lighter in the summer as well, which means we also lighten up on our wines. Plus, a little chill in the wine cools us down faster than Cabernet or Syrah.
White wines should be served at 50 to 55 degrees. Many people over-chill their white wine, which can mute its flavors and aromas. I suggest taking white wine out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before drinking so it can release some of its beautiful aromas and offer actual flavor when sipped.
And make sure to drink white wines young — don’t age them unless you have a French Montrachet or cult California Chardonnay. White wines lose color as they age, as well as fruit and zip. So drink your white wines within one to two years of purchasing them.
Huber Gruner Veltliner, Austria — $14.69
Yup, it’s actually nicknamed “Groovy.” This is a sensational summer wine in that it is high in acid, has notes of limestone mineral in it and has a tarter fruit profile consisting of lime zest, Meyer lemon and green apple. Turn your friends on to something different and they’ll think you’re groovy.
Cool and different
Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina — $19.59
You’ll definitely be the cool cat on the block serving this. The grape is Falanghina and most people will have never heard of it. Coming from the south of Italy, its reputation has shot up in the last decade, along with Greco di Tufa, Fiano di Avellino and Asprinio. The Falanghina has delicious flavors of bosc pear, lemon zest and nuttiness. It is crisp, refreshing and unique.
Best of Spain
Martin Codax Albariño — $13.49
This is Spain’s best white wine, in my humble opinion. The grape is Albariño, which comes from the Rias Biaxas area of northwest Spain. The wine delivers aromas and flavors of yellow peaches, ripe pears and Fuji apple. The wine has a mineral characteristic to it that only adds to the complexity and alluring nature of Albariño.
*Wine columnist Randa Warren is a Certified Master Sommelier; Certified Wine Educator; has earned a Diploma of Wine and Spirits, granted through the Wine and Spirit Education Trust in England; and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits.
In addition to the Albarino, Gruner Veltliner and Falanghina white wines featured this month, consider a few other whites off the beaten path.
Dry Chenin Blanc — High in acidity, Chenin Blanc has some tropical flavors and is a great food partner.
Viognier — Lovely aromas of white flowers, peaches and apricot, Viognier has a little weight to it and is a great accompaniment to a cheese course.
Garganega — Found in Soaves from Italy, this is a forgotten wine, it seems. It has high acid, notes of candied lemon and ripe pears and can even be a little nutty.
Gewurztraminer — A heavy style of white with only medium acid, this is one of the most aromatic wines you can buy. With aromas of roses, lychees, honeysuckle, spiciness and tropical fruit, this is superb with smoked salmon, spicy food, Asian and Indian food, pates and strong cheeses.
Muscadet — From the Loire Valley of France with bracingly high acid, this wine is perfect with mussels, oysters and all shellfish.
Torrontes — From Argentina, this lemony-floral light-bodied wine is the perfect summer refresher. Light appetizers and salads work well with Torrontes.
Prosecco — Summer isn’t summer without some bubbles. From the Veneto area of Italy, this sparkling wine from the Prosecco grape is light with notes of lemon, apple and pear and is as refreshing as it gets during the heat of the Tulsa summer.
Pinot Blanc — From Alsace or California, Pinot Blanc is the stepsister to Pinot Gris. The Blanc is lighter and perfect for drinking without food — if one must suffer in such a way.