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Food & Drink

Welcome spring by enjoying a crisp white wine and lighter fare

Dave DeSimone
| Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
Crisp and dry white wines for late winter enjoyment.
Dave DeSimone
Crisp and dry white wines for late winter enjoyment.

Conventional wisdom advises drinking red wines in winter. That's sound advice, indeed, during any time of the year. But as winter takes its last legs, enjoying white wines can be fun, too.

Crisp white wines reawaken leaden taste buds with a wash of fresh, lively acidity. And as yearnings for spring grow, white wines support hopes for the renewal lying just ahead.

Enjoy the wines after work to unwind. Or pair them with casual mid-week meals. Try the following:

• Oftentimes a simple light dinner of a fresh spinach salad, good cheese and crusty baguette slices can hit the spot after a long day at work. Pair your favorite green salad with the 2016 Champalou, Vouvray, France (luxury 73763; $21.99). The wine comes from Chenin Blanc grapes grown in limestone and clay near Tours in France's Loire Valley. The grapes ferment in stainless steel to capture fruity freshness, and then the wine ages on the fine lees (i.e., spent yeast) to lend subtle creamy notes. It opens with delicate peach and floral aromas followed by ripe apple and peach skin flavors. Zesty acidity balances the lingering dry finish. Recommended.

• Fresh oysters on the half shell make another partner with crisp white wines. An authentic French Chablis, a Chardonnay-based with classic smoky aromas and lean, slightly saline flavors, makes a good pairing. But for a different experience, pair fresh oysters with the 2016 Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny, France (Luxury 49098; $14.99).

This blend of Sauvignon Blanc (85%) and Chardonnay grows in limestone and sandy soils in Cheverny, a Loire Valley appellation that generally plays second fiddle to the more famous Sancerre. Salvard's delicious Cheverny offers forward quince and guava flavors balanced with zesty, mouthwatering freshness and a superb fruity, yet dry finish. It's a real thirst-quenching “gulper.” Highly recommended.

• Dishes such as chicken thighs sautéed with mushrooms and minced garlic and pork cutlets sautéed with diced onions and rosemary call for more-full bodied, yet fresh whites. Try the 2016 Domaine Chavy-Chouet, Bourgogne Blanc “Les Femelottes,” France (Luxury 73662; $22.99). Grower Romaric Chavy works in charming village of Meursault, but for this wine he uses Chardonnay fruit from neighboring Puligny-Montrachet, another of Burgundy's top white wine appellations. The wine's golden color offers classic apple and subtle toasty aromas. Round, ripe apple flavors and fresh mineral notes layer with well-integrated vanilla accents imparted from aging 10 percent of the wine in new oak barrels. Fine freshness carries the dry, yet juicy finish. The wine offers a glimpse of top echelon white Burgundy at fraction of the price. Highly recommended.

• For everybody's favorite, the Friday night fried fish sandwich with tartar sauce on a big crusty roll, try the 2016 Loosen “Dr. L” Dry Riesling, Mosel, Germany (Luxury 73399; $12.99). Don't be fooled in thinking this Riesling is sweet. Ernst Loosen, the self-proclaimed “Doctor of Riesling,” offers a dry style made from Riesling grapes grown on slate-laden vineyards strung along the Mosel River Valley's steep hillsides. He ferments the fruit in stainless steel to highlight delicate floral and citrus aromas. The wine finishes fruity and dry with plenty of racy, refreshing acidity that pairs beautifully with hot, juicy fish topped with creamy tartar sauce. Recommended.

Dave DeSimone is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. You can reach him at dave@daveswinecellar.com.

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