Monday, June 4, 2012

Starting Off Summer with White Wine

On any given day, all things considered, I'd probably choose a white wine over a red. Maybe its my constant desire to beat the heat, maybe its the foods I like to cook, maybe its my obsession with white grapes like riesling, chardonnay and chenin blanc. Whatever the reason, I'm likely to go for white wine. That probability is even higher when it's June in Washington, DC.

Sitting on my back patio, hanging outside, cooking with seafood and fresh veggies, it makes me salivate for white wine. I've popped quite a few whites over the past week with various friends, and it seemed each one was refreshing and delicious in its own way. Here are a few notes on recent white wines that are the cure for any sunny Sunday afternoon.

Non-Vintage U més U fan Tres Cava Brut 1+1=3 - Spain, Cava
I like the spicy aromas of this wine, like ginger, lemon zest and toast. A lighter styled Cava with lots of acid, citrus flavors and toast. Not too complex, and a little bitter on the finish, but still quite nice. As far as grocery store sparkling wines go, this is a solid one. (84 pts.)

2010 Domanine Bonnet-Huteau Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Les Laures - France, Loire Valley, Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine
I've had this wine several times and it always demonstrates itself as a delicious Muscadet with lots of creaminess and minerality. Great with summer salands and appetizers, and delicious on a sunny Summer afternoon. (90 pts.)

2009 Birgit Eichinger Riesling Gaisberg - Austria, Kamptal
What a great riesling for the price. Weygandt Wines in DC had it on sale for less than $25, which is a real steal considering the quality of the juice. Intoxicating, classic riesling aromas: intense minerals, melon, lime and slate. The palate has fresh acid and lots of corresponding white peach fruit. Gorgeous lime and minerals on the finish. A very focused and pretty riesling that will gain complexity for years. I'd love to try this five years from now. (90 pts.)

2010 Domaine Plouzeau Touraine - France, Loire Valley, Touraine
A surprisingly full of nose of nectarine and melon, along with lemon and lime. The palate shows sharp acid, it's like a burst of intensity on the palate, followed up by creamy honeydew melon, lemon and margarita salt. It's an interesting combination of zesty and mineral-driven sauvignon with a richer, more fruit-forward style. Val poured this for some of her girlfriends, and I knew it was going to be a hit. (87 pts.)

A young chenin and an aged riesling: two aswers to heat and humidity.
1989 Weingut Reuscher-Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
This wine, the old man of the week, must've been stored perfectly because the label, the cork, the capsule, everything was in pristine condiction. And the wine itself, while showing the complexity of its years, is still surprisingly fresh and alive. Reuscher-Haart is one of my favorite Mosel producers, and they consistently put out quality riesling at very reasonable prices. As this wine demonstrates, their rieslings can age beautifully. Honey-lemon color with thick legs in the glass. Aromas of lemon oil, nougat, orange zest, smoky slate and petrol, just a lovely combination of mature Mosel riesling aromas. Over time, some lychee nut and pineapple came out as well. The palate has lots of juicy melon fruit, spritzy lemon flavors, fresh pineapple. Crunchy acid with an overall sense of precision. It's subtle in its approach, delicate even, while still maintaining concentrated flavors. Frankly, it's beautiful. The minerality is really attractive with its flavors of blue slate and sea salt. Those mineral flavors combine with a candied orange peel flavor on the long finish, which finishes with a kiss of acid. Superb stuff. Wish I had more. This wine is in a perfect place right now, and should probably be consumed in the near-term, although it will surely develop some crazy aged flavors with another ten years of cellaring. (91 pts.)

2007 François Chidaine Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Bournais - France, Loire Valley, Montlouis-sur-Loire
My friend Bob popped this superb chenin blanc, and we were both really impressed. The aromas have Champagne-like intensity, showing limestone, lemon zest and white flowers. The aromas changed so much with air and an increased temperature, showing pineapple sauce, mango nectar and smoked nuts over the course of the evening. What a gorgeous nose. The palate is huge, starting off with a burst of rich melon and pineapple fruit. Then the acid comes in, searing, with intense minerals and chalk. There is so much canteloupe in this wine, it's ridiculous. I love the mango nectar and slate flavors that linger on the finish. This wine evolved eons over the course of the evening, and it will continue to gain complexity for a decade, easy. Rarely do I find a chenin blanc that has equally massive amounts of richness and minerality. It's an intriguing wine indeed. Good choice, Bob. (91 pts.)

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