Tastes of Spring
As Spring approaches, the focus of wine drinkers slowly switches from the heavier reds of winter to lighter white wines. The salads and fish dishes of spring and summer are the perfect compliments to the crisp or fruity whites. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are my personal favorites, and I’ve grown a preference for California Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand.
California Chards are very varied and offer many different styles and tastes. They can be fermented in steel tanks, which provides more fruity and light flavors. When a Chardonnay is fermented in oak, it tends to be more complicated in structure. The fruit flavors are present, but they are overlaid on flavors of oak and vanilla. These heavily-oaked Chardonnays provide a drinking experience very similar to a red wine in that they’re more full-bodied and complex.
In contrast to the bold California Chards, Sauvignon Blancs are very light and taste of citrus. They spend little or no time in oak at all, and are refreshing. They are simple yet elegant, and the style of the New Zealand wines makes me think of warm summer days. This a simple and approachable wine style which can be enjoyed by everyone.
Here are a few choice selections:
2005 Grgich Hills Chardonnay
This lighter Chardonnay has pear flavors and even a hint of honey. This is more of an Old world style wine, and has an understated elegance.
2005 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay
This wine has a full body with ample apple and mango flavors giving way to a long, pleasurable finish.
2007 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
This wine has abundant fruit flavor; most prominent are the grapefruit and lemony flavors. Some light herbal notes are also present.
2007 Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
This light wine has an intense apple flavor followed by some light herbal notes. A hint of lantana also comes through in this atypically flavored wine.
Joe “Wine” Giordano