Uncorked: Beyond the chardonnay comfort zone
Jun 23, 2010 | 2010 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When faced with choosing a white wine from a wine list or a grocery shelf, most Americans opt for a chardonnay. And why not? We are familiar with this varietal, and know we can count on it to deliver a pleasant wine experience.

Oh, we may occasionally venture out when pressed, trying white wines made from sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio, but we rarely stray far from our comfort zones.

For the more adventuresome wine consumer, there is a world of white wine, both domestic and imported, made from less familiar varietals that can be immensely enjoyable. At least for the summer, it might be good to adopt the philosophy that if you can’t be with the wine you love, love the wine you’re with.

The wines listed below are great for a summer picnic or dinner under the stars. Take along an ice bucket on such occasions, because white wines served outside in our climate warm quickly. If served too warm, they taste high in alcohol; if served too cold, they lose their taste; but if served between 45 to 50 degrees, they are just right, like baby bear’s porridge. Try one of these just right wines:

Oriel 365 Prosecco. $20.50 at Tyson Art and Frame in Golden Springs. A sparkling wine from Italy, prosecco is the name of a grape as well as the wine. A light, refreshing sparkling wine with hints of peaches. Serve as they do in Italy, as an aperitivo to cleanse and refresh the palate.

Aveleda Fonte Vinho Verde 2009. $9.75 at Tyson Art and Frame. A light, spritzy sparkling wine from Portugal. If you’re old enough to recall it, this wine is reminiscent of Mateus. If you’re not that old, this wine is somewhat akin to the wildly popular New Age. Vivacious, citrus-flavored wine. Serve as an aperitif or with seafood or spicy cuisine.

Eroica 2008 Riesling. $21.99 at the Wine Cellar on Quintard in Anniston. From the Washington State Chateau Ste. Michelle folks, this riesling is a versatile and crowd-pleasing varietal. It is a collaborative effort between Ste. Michelle and the Dr. Loosen estate of Germany. Named for Beethoven’s Third Symphony, Eroica is made exclusively from Washington grapes. Slightly off dry. Nice balance of fruit to acidity. Pairs well with most grilled seafood. Also nice as an aperitif with cheese.

Lagaria Pinot Grigio 2008. $13.75 at Tyson Art and Frame. A refreshing Italian pinot grigio, perfect for summer dining. Aged completely in stainless steel, floral on the nose with flavors of lemon zest and apricots on the palate. Smooth finish. One of the better Italian pinot grigios tasted in recent memory.

Karl Lagler Burberg 2006 Gruner Veltliner. $21.50 at Tyson Art and Frame. From Austria, gruner veltliner, a mouthful to pronounce, is an aromatic white grape grown primarily in Austria. This wine is light, refreshing and aromatic. Somewhat akin to riesling, but more subtle. A good fried chicken and potato salad wine.

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