With summer officially starting and 4th of July on the way, you’ll want something cool, crisp and refreshing to enjoy. When you think of your wine options, study your ABC’s with “Anything But Chardonnay,” exploring wines that may not typically be on your go to list, but should. This morning I offered a few suggestions on KXAS/NBC DFW, just in time for the holiday weekend. A link to the segment is here. More on each below.
Texas continues to impress with both red and white wines, but a few in particular that are somewhat unusual, and completely delicious, from Texas are being produced by McPherson Cellars in the Texas High Plains region of the state. The winery, known for their expressive red Sangiovese, is also growing and producing wines like slightly briny, mineral rich Albarino, floral and stone fruit-filled white Rhone varieties, like Roussanne, and juicy, bright Picpoul Blanc. All very affordable too, as each is under $15. Also from Texas, day in and day out, my go to Texas white is Vermentino from Duchman. Consistently, the wine delivers crisp, juicy citrus and tropical fruit that is light, bright and yummy, around $14. Spec’s, Sigel’s and Total all have lovely Texas wine selections.
I am in love with the wines of Alto Adige, Italy. In the far Northeast corner of the country, with a German and Austrian influence, this pocket of Italy shines with fresh, highly aromatic, and simply delicious wines. Thanks to the elevation of their vineyards throughout the region, wines maintain a level of brightness, and acidity, even with well-rounded palates and rich flavors. Look for varieties like floral Gewurztraminer, Mueller Thurgau, Pinot Bianco, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Kerner, a crossing of Vernatsch and Riesling.
Each of these wines will have wonderful, inviting aromas of everything from white flowers and stone fruit, to juicy citrus and tropical notes. The key attribute, maintained throughout each wine in the region, is the freshness, making them ideal for sipping on their own by the pool or pair with your favorite summer fare. Great wineries include Elena Walch, Abbazia di Novacella, Tieffenbrunner, and Alois Lagader. Jimmy’s Italian Food Store has one of the best selections in Dallas.
Also from Italy, maintaining a little bit more sweetness and a seriously low alcohol point is Moscato. Often slightly effervescent, with an alcohol level of around 5% and varying degrees of residual sugar, Moscato is a great wine to sip if you are sipping all day, or if you prefer your wine with a bit more sweetness. Favorite producers include Vietti and Ricossa.
Consider the wines of Loire Valley a try with a Chenin Blanc from Saumur or Vouvray. Champlou and Domaine Rouche Nueve are two fantastic examples of dry Chenin, layered with earthy wet stone and soft herb with texture, structure, and taste. From Napa, Pine Ridge blends stone fruit filled Viognier with their Chenin Blanc for a harmonious, approachable, summer sipper. Sigel’s carries a great selection of Loire wines, as does Spec’s.
Oregon continues to shine with interesting white wines that are not the norm, but once you taste them they will be. Raptor Ridge Gruner Veltliner, classically an Austrian variety, shines with layers of spice, pepper and ripe orchard fruit with hints of crushed stone, thanks to the mineral-rich Chehalem Mountain soils of their Willamette Valley estate. The winery also makes incredible Auxerrois, classically an Austrian white, Pinot Gris and of course, Pinot Noir.
In addition to these Austrian whites, Riesling from Oregon is some of the finest in the world from producers like Trisaetum, Brooks, Chehalem and very dry, crisp and mineral intense Penner-Ash Riesling. Wines available via their websites.
Trefethen in Napa Valley also proves that even in warm California, crisp, high acid, refreshing white wine can be produced with their dry Riesling.
Or, of course, bubbles are always, always in order. I love this time of year as Domaine Chandon releases their adorable summer packaging for their Brut and Brut Rose, both made in the traditional method from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the classic varieties for Champagne, but made in Napa Valley. Both crisp, light and effortless. The summer packaging is available via their website in both 750ml bottles, or mini bottles great for entertaining a crowd. The summer packaging is available for a limited time through their website or at various Kroger locations.
Domaine Carneros, one of my favorite producers in the world for sparkling wine, partnered recently with San Francisco’s premium ice cream producer, Humphry Slocombe, for a #RoseAllDay sherbert, made from Domaine Carneros Brut Rose. Add a touch of the sparkler into the sherbert and you have the best reinvention of a root beer float in the world! The Rose is available here, the sherbert (which can be shipped anywhere in the country) is available by reaching out via their website.
I am also thrilled that Domaine Carneros will be our partner for our next Dallas Uncorked event, our annual Harvest Dinner, this December. Details will be on our website shortly.
And, my go to $10 bottle of bubbles, Segura Viudas Brut Rose Cava from Spain. Made in the traditional method from classic Spanish grapes, this is always a well-priced crowd pleaser. Available at Spec’s & World Market.