Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memorial Day’s Past – Pull Out Those Summer Whites

It’s that time of year when a bold red wine just doesn’t seem quite right after a long, hot, sultry day.  It appears that our grandmothers had it right – Flaunt your whites after Memorial Day – Here are just a few of the summer white grapes/white wines to cool down with.

Chenin Blanc Grapes
Chenin Blanc is not a grape that’s really raved about, despite its French pedigree, but it's one of the most adaptable and blendable grapes out there, and it relies on the winemaker to make it memorable. A Chenin Blanc wine can be crafted to be sweet and honeyed, minerally and refreshing, or crisp and sparkling. It all depends on what style you like, so find a Chenin that appeals to you, chill it down, and enjoy liquid gold on a hot summer’s evening.

Black Muscato Grapes
White Muscat Grapes
Muscat/Moscato grapes are grown around the world and can range in color from white to almost black. In fact, Muscat is not just one grape variety but a family of grapes, with over 200 varieties. With its sweet, floral aroma, Muscat is an unforgettable wine. 

As of last year, Moscato, the new white wine darling of the industry, became the third most popular white wine in the U.S.  The grape can be crafted into a light, dryer wine, or as a sweet, sparkling like the Italian Asti Spumante.  Grab a bottle – or three, chill well, and put on some Don Ho & Tiny Bubbles....

Riesling Grapes
Riesling grapes are mainly recognized for the sweet German wines they can produce.  This is another grape with a floral nose, wrapped around the flavors of pineapple, honey and citrus. Riesling can also be crafted in an off-dry style and still maintain that fruity flavor, plus a wonderful, crisp finish, which is so welcome during the sultry, summer weekends.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes
Sauvignon Blanc is French for wild, white grape. (In other words, it is an indigenous grape in Southern France.) And it’s well named because Sauvignon Blanc is not your stuffy, pretentious kind of wine - It was one of the first wines to be bottled with a screw cap.  The flavors range from grass, to melons, to tropical fruit, and the aromas vary from lemons, to herbs, to minerals, and yes, sometimes cat pee.  Sauvignon Blanc is usually crafted as a dry wine, with a light, crisp, finish; or winemakers may aim for more spicy, floral flavors with a smoky, flinty finish – Fume Blanc, anyone?  When blended with Semillon grapes, a sweet, late-harvest Sauternes can be the result, to be enjoyed as a sweet, summer wine.

So, with those hot, muggy days upon us, now’s the time to stock up on some cool wines to banish your thirst, and pair wonderfully with those fresh-from-the-garden meals. Now, pop a cork, chill out, and Enjoy!

~ Joy