I’m asked the question a lot: “Are you a red or white wine drinker?” Of course I drink both, but as the summer season arrives, I admit to preferring white for everyday drinking.
These are a few of my top picks for refreshing white varietals.
This is a love it or leave it grape variety for many consumers. It’s known as “the king” and “the Coca-Cola of the wine world.” Chardonnay tops the list for the most consumed grape variety, topping out all red and other white grapes. It comes in different shapes and sizes. In warmer weather growing conditions it exhibits ripe, tropical fruit aromas such as pineapple, mango, peaches and pears. In cooler climates such as France’s Chablis, the wines are more delicate, citrusy with a slight honey character.
- 2014 Bogle Chardonnay, California (about $12 retail)
- 2014 Force of Nature Chardonnay, California (about $24 retail)
This underrated white grape is beautifully aromatic and can be an ideal blending partner for chardonnay. On its own viognier overflows with its intoxicating smell of apricots, fresh flowers and oranges. On the palate it is fuller-bodied than most whites but has a well balanced mouth feel and low acidity. It shines in France’s Rhone Valley but exceptional viogniers are also produced in Chile, Australia and South Africa.
- 2014 LaPlaya Estates Viognier/Chardonnay, Chile (about $9 retail)
- 2013 Calera Mt. Harlan Viognier, California (about $38 retail)
Chenin Blanc has been referred to as “handier than a Swiss Army knife” by many because it can adapt to any production method, be it sweet, dry or even fizzy. It shares many taste similarities to sauvignon blanc, with its refreshing hints of green apple and fresh herbs. It’s at home in France’s Loire Valley, where the style can be racy, dry, luscious or sweet. You can also find Chenin Blanc in the vineyards of South Africa, where it has in the past accounted for a staggering quarter of all wine grown and produced.
- 2012 Robertson Winery Chenin Blanc, South Africa (about $14 retail)
- 2013 Clos de Nouys Vouvray, France (about $24 retail)