With warm temperatures on the horizon and small gatherings of family and friends in the forecast, a refreshing, crisp, lively white wine is the perfect way to toast this Easter Sunday. From every corner of the globe, zesty white wines reveal diversity with terroir-driven wines that tell the story of the land.
Pinot Noir reigns in Willamette Valley, but on the white wine front, the region continues to experiment with non-traditional, cool-weather varieties, like Auxerrios and Gruner Veltliner, while also bringing some of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Gris wines to the forefront.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021, Adelsheim Vineyards has been a groundbreaking leader in Willamette Valley since the start. Their first vineyard on Chehalem Mountain became the home to world-class Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay vines, followed quickly by cool-climate Pinot Blanc. From Adelsheim’s LIVE Certified Bryan Creek Estate Vineyard in the high elevation, volcanic soils of the Chehalem Mountain AVA, Adelsheim Bryan Creek Pinot Blanc ($30) layers lime leaf and lemon blossom with crushed stone, and zesty citrus with bright freshness carried throughout the welcoming palate.
Authentique Wine Cellars toasts the sister variety of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, with organic and biodynamic certified fruit from Keeler Estate Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills. Fermented in a combination of concrete egg, Italian amphorae, and neutral French oak gives a multi-dimensional character to the wine that is sometimes missing in wines produced from the fruity, juicy, crisp variety. Authentique Leisure Skin Contact Pinot Gris ($32) opens with citrus aromas of lemonade lemon leaf, lime blossoms, and a touch of soft herb, followed by a generous palate layering ripe citrus and orchard fruit.
The second generation of Yamhill-Carlton’s Kramer Vineyard has as strong of an affinity for bubbles as they do for still wines, with at least twelve different sparkling releases every year. They also like to craft white wines from the unexpected, like Gruner Veltliner and Muller Thurgau. With just 2.5 acres of sustainably grown Muller Thurgau planted, the Kramers reveal expressive floral and fruity characteristics of the variety, creating an approachable, delightful wine. Kramer Vineyards Muller Thurgau ($18) opens with floral wisteria and gardenia, followed by layer upon layer of tropical lilikoi, kiwi, green apple, and mango.
Raptor Ridge Winery captures Austria’s essence in Oregon with their high elevation Tuscowallame Estate with Laurelwood soils on Chehalem Mountain, quite similar to the soils of Austria, making it the ideal place to grow Gruner Veltliner ($30.) Fermented in stainless steel, locking in the variety’s racy freshness while highlighting its inherent roundness, showing white peach, Meyer lemon, ripe pear, and soft herb.
Anarchist Wine Co. breaks the mold with their The Anarchist white blend ($24) of Gewurztraminer with Pinot Gris, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay blending the best qualities of each together. The wine highlights wildflowers, lychee, white peach, and roses, with a nice clean note of minerality that keeps the palate fresh.
A blend of varieties from a blend of California regions come together in Upshot Wines White Blend ($17), creating a rather unexpected and easy-going wine. Lush and crisp, filled with stone fruit flavors of ripe apricot, nectarine, and peach, melding effortlessly with floral notes of jasmine and magnolia, with lovely texture on the palate.
Almost a melding of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, Italy’s Garganega variety from the celebrated Soave region in the northeastern part of the country shines like sunshine in the glass. Pieropan Soave Classico ($23) highlights this with bright, fresh acidity on the open, showing fresh white flowers, white peach, and golden apple. The wine is fermented in cement and then aged on the lees (yeasts) for six months, giving a nice note of minerality to the wine with a lovely creamy marzipan finish.
From the heart of Rutherford in Napa Valley, classic Bordeaux style Sauvignon Blanc shines as the darling white wine of the region, particularly at the historic Inglenook Estate. With sandy-clay loam top soils to help with water retention during hot summer days, and gravel underneath, to help with drainage ensuring vines reach deep into the earth for nutrients, Inglenook delivers a world-class expression of Sauvignon Blanc ($35). Juicy, energetic, and fresh, the wine leaps from the glass with aromas of lemon-lime, gooseberry, and freshly cut grass, leading to flavors of orchard, and stone fruit.
As spring is also the time for setting up your seasonal gardens, Sonoma’s Chalk Hill Estate is hard at work prepping theirs to create garden-to-table tasting options for their tasting room, and nothing is better with spring and summer salads and light pasta dishes than a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. Chalk Hill Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($33) from volcanic soils of chalky white ash on the estate highlights a distinct earthy minerality in the expressive wine, melding with hits of tropical guava and kiwi, ripe grapefruit, and fresh lemon.
Rich and succulent, Paraduxx Proprietary Napa Valley White Wine ($34) blends Chardonnay with Viognier and a touch of Marsanne, creating a well-rounded, textured wine. The palate melds bright freshness with luscious abundance showing layers of orange blossom and honeysuckle meld seamlessly with ripe apple, melon, nectarine, and peach.
The Rueda region of Spain has been crafting wine since the 10th Century, showcasing racy, vibrant, citrus filled Verdejo fruit. Beronia Rueda Verdejo ($16) showcases the varieties fresh tropical fruit and fragrant citrus notes, like mango, guava, and passionfruit, with a textured, full-body and bright acidity.