Happy Spring! With the crazy weather we have experienced across the country this winter, I think we are ready to raise a glass to the start of spring, which officially occurs today. And with warmer weather, now is the time to consider lighter options, fresh white wine rose, and juicy, light to medium-bodied reds, like these beauties from across the globe.
The Spirit Hill Vineyard within Eola-Amity Hills in the southern part of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where gusty winds blow in off the Pacific Ocean through the Van Duzer Corridor, ensuring fruit locks in necessary freshness to create sparkling wine with vibrancy and lively character. Argyle Blanc de Noirs ($30) showcases Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, each contributing red fruit notes of wild strawberry, pomegranate, and blood orange, with a melange of earthy notes ranging from woody herbs, wildflowers, and rose. Bright and fresh, with tension and lively structure.
Galicia’s Rias Baixas showcases its maritime climate within their wines. Situated on the Northwestern coast of pain, heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, bringing saline-filled breezes into the vineyards, giving juicy wines a note of brininess. This influence ensures bright, vibrant Albarino is ideal for pairing with seafood and shellfish, the other staple of the region. From small vineyard lots initially planted in the traditional pergola method in 1990, Bodega La Cana Albarino ($18) is zippy, lively, and fresh, layering ripe apple, white peach, and melon, with the salty note that makes wine of the region so attractive.
With the perfect harmony of textured creaminess with a zesty freshness, Cuvaison Methode Beton Sauvignon Blanc ($40) showcases the utilization of concrete egg fermentation, keeping the lees (yeasts) in continuous motion and suspension for an extended period, adding textured richness to the vibrant wine. Crushed stone minerality melds with fresh citrus notes of lemon-lime and grapefruit, lychee, and kiwi with texture, giving structure to the well-rounded palate.
In the Gavilan Mountains of California’s Central Coast, Calera Wine has been producing high-quality, cool-climate wines since the 1970s, always with a focus on highlighting the diversity, elegance, and style the Central Coast offers. Calera Chardonnay ($26) is bright, luscious, and fresh from fruit grown throughout the Central Coast, layering ripe pear, nectarine, and apricot with marzipan and creamy lemon custard. Textured and rich without weighing down the palate, keeping you coming back for more.
With spring in the air, Rose sipping on the patio is here. From sustainably-farmed Pinot Noir fruit grown in the Arroyo Seco region, within Monterey, Wente Rose of Pinot Noir ($35) leads with floral aromas of wild rose and violets, melding with orange blossom, and fresh strawberry notes. On the palate, the fruit-forward wine carries the flavors of red berries from start to finish; raspberry and strawberry mingle with ruby red grapefruit and a touch of crushed stone, pairing perfectly with grilled shrimp, poached salmon, or fish tacos.
Pinot Noir is an obvious go-to when considering a light wine for spring. The light to medium-body is perfect for enjoying on a warm afternoon or evening, especially when elevated with ripe fruit notes, great acidity, and balanced tannin. When we think of the wines of Argentina the initial thought is not Pinot Noir. The country has hung its hat on Bordeaux varieties, particularly Malbec, for decades. However, in the southern region of Patagonia Pinot Noir shines. The region, the most southern within the country is an unlikely wine destination. Much of the region, spanning 200 miles and running along the Neuquen and Rio Negro rivers at the base of the Andes Mountains, is desert with warm days, cool nights, and an overall dry, arid climate. However, rivers running off from the Andes benefit from melting snow from the winter into spring, providing necessary irrigation for vineyards. Dramatic temperature shifts from day to night ensure that grapes ripen slowly, consistently, achieving juicy, fruit-filled flavor while maintaining acidity. From Bodega Tapiz Los Acantilados Estate in Patagonia’s southern tip, quite near the Atlantic Ocean, Wapisa Pinot Noir ($23) is light, fresh, and juicy with balance and structure. Layers of red fruit meld seamlessly with subtle herbal and spice notes. Wild strawberry, raspberry, cherry fruit nicely integrates with nuanced oak and vanilla notes, harmonizing into a delicate wine that beautifully showcases this emerging region.