2018-06-01 / Wine Notes

Turning on the Porch Whites

Summer is finally here. The lazy days and balmy nights beckon us to sit outside on the porch or deck and sip something crisp, cool and refreshing — and that doesn’t have to mean lemonade.

The old standbys — Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc — are great in a pinch, but this summer, why not try a less common white that’s sure to make a refreshing splash with you and your guests?

Albariño is one of those wines. Hailing primarily from Spain (or Portugal where it’s called Alvarinho), this light, crisp quaff is sometimes referred to as a “green wine” because of the cool climate in which it grows, which includes the breezes off the Atlantic Ocean. The region also gets its share of rain, so it’s not as hot as other areas of Spain. That cooler climate contributes to the citrusy notes in the wine.

Albariño’s high acidity makes it a good wine to pair with food, including a variety of cheeses that you might like to serve alongside it — Gruyere, Brie and Chèvre, to name a few.

And speaking of “green” wines, Grüner Veltliner (the name literally means “green wine”) comes mainly from Austria and, like Albariño, has high acidity and notes of grapefruit, lemon and lime, with a smattering of green pepper hints. Its minerality and acidity make it a perfect wine to drink young.

Pinot Blanc also provides a nice distraction from the ordinary vinous fare. This wine has more body than the others mentioned above in the same way that Chardonnay compares with Sauvignon Blanc. Yet it is crisp and acidic like the others, which makes it food (and porch) friendly. Widely grown in Alsace, it often is used in the sparkling wine Cremant d’Alsace, but it is found in other parts of the world too, including Oregon and Long Island. •SCM

Paco and Lola Albariño
Rias Baixas 2016

(#44780, $18.99)
This fruit-forward, medium-bodied
wine has hints of grapefruit, lemon
and pineapple.
Markowitsch Grüner
Veltliner 2016

(#37758, $13.99)
Aromas of pear and lemon
highlight this clean, crisp wine.
Ponzi Pinot Blanc
Willamette Valley 2014

(#73418, $19.99)
Stone fruit, peach and plum and
a touch of vanilla characterize
this Oregon offering.

Robert D. Richards, CSW, is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators and has passed the first-level certification of the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers.

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