Stylish whites, rosés remind of better-weather days to come
S ome folks deal with February's hard chill and persistent snow by fleeing south to warmer venues.
God bless them.
For those of us staying put, recharging the spirits requires a little more imagination. Enjoying crisp white and rosé wines paired with tasty dishes offers a fun and relatively inexpensive way to forget the cold. So envision brighter, warmer days just ahead by starting with the following:
A mere 285 independent growers in northwestern Spain's Galicia province produce the albariño grapes for the terrific 2011 Burgáns Albariño Rías Baixas, Spain (Luxury 38622; $14.99). Galicia's unique terroir — a cool, rainy climate, persistent sea breezes and granite soils — plays a crucial role.
The relatively unknown albariño grapes grow on traditional trellises to ripen perfectly with distinct aromas and delicious flavors. The growers sell their harvest to Bodegas Martín Códax, a modern cooperative that makes the wine in commonly owned facilities.
Fermentation in stainless steel allows the fruit's purity to shine. Aging on the lees — the spent yeast — adds creamy touches.
Citrus, apple and smoky aromas open in the glass. Ripe apple and juicy apricot flavors balance mouthwatering mineral notes and fresh acidity. The wine finishes soft and fruity with deft balance.
The wine compliments seafood of all sorts perfectly. Try it with pan-seared scallops with mushrooms and shallots. Recommended.
France's Loire Valley boasts a clutch of famous white wine appellations including Sancerre, Vouvray and Muscadet. But few consumers have familiarity with Jasnières, an excellent appellation where Chenin Blanc grapes yield distinctive white wines.
For the 2011 Domaine de Bellivière Jasnières “Prémices,” France (Luxury 30767; $23.99), vigneron Eric Nicolas practices labor-intensive biodynamic vineyard methods. Plowing and hoeing, for instance, supplant herbicide applications.
He also restrains yields on vines toiling in marl and limestone soils in a cool and often damp climate. The resulting fruit has more concentration and complexity.
After harvesting by hand, Nicolas ferments the grapes in older barrels. The young wine rests on the lees to create creaminess. All in all, he succeeds admirably in framing chenin blanc's full potential.
Yellow peach, apricot, honeysuckle aromas unfold. Ripe and round grapefruit and peach flavors meld with fine, fresh acidity. The wine finishes fruity and dry. Pair it with grouper baked with a citrus sauce. Highly recommended.
February in southern France brings plenty of sunshine and clear, blue skies. But a persistent north wind known as the Mistral blows hard and cold to remind the locals of winter's sway.
The wind also helps to preserve the vines around Châteauneuf-du-Pape from rots and pests. Both white- and red-skinned grapes produce distinctive fruit that typically ferment in flavorful blends.
The 2001 Domaine de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, France (Luxury 31121; $24.99) uses a traditional mix of grenache blanc, clairette, bourboulenc, picpoul, roussanne and picardan. After harvesting by hand, careful sorting takes place to ensure only ripe, unblemished grapes go into the wines.
Part of the harvest ferments in stainless steel to highlight fresh fruitiness. The remaining grapes ferment in older barrels to add richness and complexity.
The wine opens with white peach, pineapple and citrus aromas. Ripe citrus and apricot flavors and a touch of honey unfold in the glass. Delightful, fresh acidity provides lovely structure and balance through the fresh, uplifting finish. Pair it with classic veal stew or creamy risotto with asparagus. Highly recommended.
Moving closer to the Mediterranean Sea, the 2011 Château Vignelaure La Source, Côteaux d'Aix- en-Provence, France (Luxury 39950; $13.99) offers a classic dry rosé.
The grapes come from vines growing at high altitudes in limestone and clay. The terroir allows the fruit to retain fresh acidity, a key factor in terrific dry rosés.
Well-made rosés mix white wine's freshness with the depth and fruit of fine red wines. This wine — made from grenache, cinsault and syrah — delivers beautifully.
The wine's light “onion skin” color offers fresh citrus, floral and light strawberry aromas. Refreshing citrus and berry flavors balance with bracing acidity. The wine finishes fruity, delicate and dry.
You're sitting on a shaded patio offering respite from a hot, brilliantly sunny day. The chilled wine quenches your thirst and pairs beautifully with lemon and basil shrimp with pasta. Highly recommended.
Dave DeSimone is the wine writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Lebanon High School to sell its planetarium equipment
- Pitt coach Narduzzi adds N.J. linebacker recruit
- Pitt notebook: Pitino: This year’s Pitt team not as talented as past years
- Linemen commit to PSU, boosting Franklin’s recruiting class
- Storm could drop 4-6 inches of snow on Pittsburgh area
- NFL notebook: Chances dwindle for Browns receiver Gordon after failed drug test
- One of two Marines killed in chopper crash was from Indiana, Pa.
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Energy-saving tactics pay off in Green Workplace Challenge
- Bloomfield bookstore owner bucks naysayers
- Adding more fuel to racial fire