With labor day fast approaching, it’s hard to believe summer is almost over. If you live in northern California, you might think summer started only last week. As today it’s already over 97 degrees in my backyard, I’m already thinking about what wine to pop the cork on this evening. I want something fragrant, something luscious. That can mean only one thing – aromatic white wines.
Viognier, Riesling and other varieties come to mind. Definitely not Chardonnay and probably not Sauvignon Blanc. These are my top choices:
Viognier – I love the Rhone wines, and it’s for the heady perfumed wines that Viognier, and other Rhone varietals have. I have two choices for Viognier, Cold Heaven, made by Morgan Clendenen, with Santa Barbara fruit, and Skipstone Viognier, Makena’s Vineyard with Alexander Valley fruit. Each has its own lovely flavors that linger on your tongue, like a delicious nectar. Makes me think of biting into a really ripe peach, and the juices run down your chin.
I’m also in love with Sarah’s Vineyard Cote de Madone Blanc, a blend of white Rhone varietals Rousanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc that is just amazing. It was included in my wine club shipment, and I want more. It’s crisp and rich and easy to sip.
I met the Cinnabar winemaker, George Troquato at a wine event, and we got to talking about aromatic whites. He told me about Cinnabar’s Picpoul Blanc, made with another white Rhone variety. He was nice enough to send me a bottle, and I have to tell you it is fantastic! It’s fresh, with great acidity and alluring tropical and honeysuckle aromas. You can buy it only at Cinnabar’s tasting room in downtown Saratoga. I’m glad I live close by!
I’ve been drinking Qupe‘s Marsanne for a few years now, whenever I can find a bottle. The fruit is from Santa Ynez Valley, and a little Rousanne is mixed in to round out the wine. It’s lively and fresh, with bright citrus and pear flavors. The Rousanne contributes to the plush mouthfeel.
I’ve also been a fan of Crios Torrentes, made by Susana Balbo in Argentina. It’s a wonderfully aromatic white, with honeysuckle and jasmine giving off heady scents. It’s medium bodied and also great for just sipping.
Perhaps we’ll have a late summer, so we can enjoy these wines for a few more weeks. Cheers!
We’ll be enjoying a Riesling this evening outdoors…savoring the warm weather we have been waiting so patiently for! –Rob