Yes I know it is September but I also know that there used to be a rule about not wearing white after Labor Day that has long since been forgotten. And much the same I wish most wine drinkers would give up the similar disposition that white wine is for the summer and as the season changes we bid them adieu until the following spring. Now let’s get a couple things out of the way. First, I use to be one of those waving goodbye. In my earliest days I wasn’t a huge fan of whites. Since I have begun to appreciate them as 1) they usually offer great value compared to their red counterparts and 2) there are so many interesting regions and varietals out there to try. Second, it is certainly more compelling to drink red as the weather cools and you can use something heartier but I no longer forget about white like I once did.
With that long winded introduction out of the way let’s get to the point. I enjoyed a lot of white (and rose) wines this summer. For those long time readers you’ll likely be surprised to find that no Trader Joe’s wine made my Top 10. That said there are still three choices under $10 and nothing checks in at over $16. You won’t find the same varietal twice and some like Elbling will be far off the beaten path. Some varietals are entirely missing like Riesling (not happy I somehow forgot to drink this one during the Summer of Riesling). It may be too late for you to run out and grab a bottle to enjoy on a warm summer evening but I wanted to share nonetheless. And just in case I lose you before you get to the end be sure to let me know which wines you enjoyed this most next summer; always looking for good tips! Now let’s get to it…
- 2010 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare – What better way to start off the list with a rosé and few are consistently better than this Vin Gris from Bonny Doon. Sure to remind you of the dry rosés from Provence this one is made primarily from Grenache and I can’t get enough (and this holds true for many of the Doon offerings). Great color, great nose and equally as exciting on the palate. This is the definition of $15 well spent.
- 2010 Trajarinho Vinho Verde – Another long-time favorite of mine this comes from the Adega de Monaco cooperative and continues to deliver the goods. I’ve served this to hundreds of guests over the years (it’s a staple for parties) and have heard nothing but good things in response. Crisp, citric and dry with a slight spritz this one offers a whole lot of refreshment and excitement for just $9. If shopping be sure to grab a bottle of their Muralhas as well.
- 2010 Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc – This is the last in my trio of long-time favorites. Clean, fresh and juicy on the palate with vibrant grapefruit flavors and a racy, stony acidity. It’s hard to find this type of consistency from vintage to vintage for a wine under $10. Worth seeking out and easy to find as it is widely available.
- 2009 Franz Etz Gruner Veltliner – I had my first introduction to Grüner Veltliner last summer and I knew it wouldn’t be my last. Since the Franz Etz has emerged as an early favorite. This one is dry, crisp and refreshing with nice mineral driven acidity and juicy lemon flavors that gently fade into a white pepper finish. Simple, clean and delicious and the fact that it comes in liter bottles makes it fun to boot.
- 2009 Matthias Dostert Elbling Alva – Elbling was a new varietal to me and boy do I love to explore; especially when I find gems like this. Dry and crisp with loads of peaches on the palate before a lively tangy acidity emerges to deliver a refreshing finish. Very little of this varietal, which was once widely planted, is bottled today which makes it obscure and difficult to find which is a shame. Give it a try if you can but if not do me a favor and try a new varietal soon…
- 2010 Martin & Weyrich Moscato Allegro – Onto my most surprising wine of the summer. Not overly sweet, surprisingly refreshing and only 7.5% ABV. Honeyed peaches on the palate before a light acidity emerges leading to crisp, focused and surprisingly refreshing finish. A versatile wine that is well suited for the patio, as an aperitif or for pairing with a dessert of fresh fruit. Grab a bottle for your next picnic.
- 2010 King Estate Pinot Gris – Those following along know that I spent a few weeks on vacation in Oregon this summer. I tasted through a handful of Pinot Gris while there and found many flabby and lacking the acidity I preferred. That said this one hit the mark. Bright tangerine and lime fruit on the palate with nice mineral acidity that leads to a lively, refreshing finish. Keep an eye out for their Acrobat label as well which checks in under $10 and I hear (but yet to try) delivers a nice value.
- 2009 Uvaggio Vermentino – Vermentino is widely found in Italy; not so much so in California but Uvaggio is a winery that focuses on “interesting Italian grape varieties offered at extremely interesting prices” and this one delivers. It greets you with a great multi-layered nose with green apple and floral blossoms. Fresh and bright on the palate with a plush dose of cantaloupe flavors before a nice minerally (with a salty tinge) finish that lingers on refreshingly. This one makes me want to drink more Vermentino.
- 2010 Blanco Nieva Verdejo – Talk about wanting to drink more of something! If I was only a wine drinker that could be settled down… Another beautiful nose here with intense grassy, grapefruit aromas. Fresh, crisp and vibrant on the palate with zesty lime flavors over a stony, mineral backbone that lead to a dry, refreshing finish. This wine isn’t shy or coy but unabashedly forward with lively acidity and is a perfect match for Ceviche.
- 2009 Willm Gentil – I sadly didn’t have any of the Navarro Edelzwicker on hand this summer which is a mistake that must soon be corrected. That said this Gentil Willm stood in ably. A blend of Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat this one had a nice floral blossom nose with big white apple and pear flavors on the palate that lead to a nice mineral driven acidity on a lasting, ever so slightly sweet, finish. One of my favorite styles to pair with spicy Thai or Chinese dishes this shows equally as well on its own.
So there’s my list. How about you? Have you had any of these? If so what did you think? If not what were your favorite wines from this summer? Let me know in the comments below…