The days are getting a little longer, the sun is starting to feel a little warmer, and the birds are chirping a little earlier. This can only mean one thing…Spring is finally on the way. As the weather heats up and we start to think about outside gatherings, one thing is for sure...we always start reaching for those lighter-bodied, refreshing white wines.
When we talk about the word “fresh,” we’re primarily referring to the level of acidity in the wine. Acidity is what causes your mouth to water. How much and how quickly you salivate after a sip is a great way to gauge acidity levels. Two significant factors that influence how much freshness can be found in the wine are grape variety and terroir (the natural factors in the vineyard plus the winemaker’s expertise that affect what you find in your glass).
Generally speaking, grapes grown in cooler climates tend to have higher acidity levels. This is because when grapes ripen, acidity levels fall. When the climate is cooler, there is less sugar accumulation in the berry, and those acidity levels are retained. The grape variety also plays a huge factor in determining acidity or freshness. Sauvignon Blanc, for example, is a variety with naturally high acidity levels versus Viognier which generally has lower levels.
If you’re wondering where you can find these bright, crisp wines perfect for Spring, I have you covered!
1. Domaine Isabelle & Denis Pommier Chablis “Les Reinettes” 2018
When I think about warmer weather, I always think about Chablis! Chablis is 100% Chardonnay from the most northern part of the Burgundy region. The climate here is noticeably cooler than the Côte d’Or to the South, which in turn gives wines with bright acidity and notes of citrus, apple, pear, and wet stone. Isabelle & Denis Pommier started with just 2 hectares of family land and now own 23 hectares throughout the Chablis region. They are certified organic and believe in minimal intervention to preserve the purity of the terroir.
2. La Grange Tiphaine "Clef de Sol" Blanc 2019
All hail Chenin Blanc! The number one white grape variety of the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc has natural freshness and can be made into many different styles of wine (dry, semi-sweet, sweet, sparkling). Clef de Sol is a dry white wine made in Montlouis-sur-Loire AOC. This subregion flanks the Loire river directly across from the famed Vouvray. Husband and wife team Damian and Coralie Delecheneau are at the helm of the Domaine, making certified organic and biodynamic wines. Clef de Sol comes from 80-year-old vines that treat us to aromas of lemon pith, quince, white peach, honeysuckle, and ginger.
3. Domaine Vincent Pinard “Le Château” Sancerre 2018
Staying in the Loire Valley but heading East, we’re going to Sancerre, where Sauvignon Blanc reigns supreme. Vincent Pinard is known in the region as the “King of Sancerre,” which makes sense considering his family has been making wine since the days of Henry IV! Being as far east as it is, Sancerre has less moderating influence from the Atlantic, which means it is noticeably cooler compared to subregions to the west. Vincent’s terroir is rich in Kimmeridgian limestone, which adds vibrancy and energy to the wine. You can expect to find lemon, grapefruit, white peach, chalk, and toast in these certified organic wines - the perfect accompaniment to a strawberry and chèvre salad with balsamic vinaigrette.
4. Josmeyer Riesling “Les Pierrets” 2016
No grape variety is more mouthwatering than Riesling! This wine hails from Alsace in Northeast France, where the Vosges Mountains protect the region from wet, westerly weather. Riesling is indigenous to Germany but also thrives in Alsace’s cool climate. Domaine Josmeyer is a 5- generation estate led by sisters Isabelle and Céline Josymeyer, who took it over from their father in 2009. This wine comes from vines over 50 years old, concentrating the flavors of lime, lemon, green apple, white peach, apricot, honey, and a touch of petrol. These are the perfect wines for more exotic foods like cuisine from Southeast Asia. !
5. Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours Le Blanc Bonhomme 2018
When you think of Bordeaux, do you think of white wine? Probably not, but the truth is, you definitely should! Although only 10% of wine production in Bordeaux is white, the dry white wines are comprised of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The climate in Bordeaux is moderate maritime, meaning there isn’t a massive shift between the coldest and warmest months, however as mentioned before, Sauvignon Blanc always brings freshness. Brother and sister team Guillaume and Rachel Hubert are fourth-generation winemakers running the estate and converted the property to biodynamics in the 1990s. Expect to find notes of honeysuckle, white peach, honey, passionfruit, and quince. The body on this wine is a little fuller, so it would be perfect with a meal. Think clams, mussels, chicken, or pork.
Nicole has shared with us some of her favorite white wines to pair with the spring. What’s yours? Do you generally pair wine with seasons?
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