The Chardonnay, Pinot Gris/Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Reisling grape varietals represent approximately 80% of the U.S. wines you will see on a restaurant menu, on the shelf of your local grocer or in a wine shop, so we could just stop here. But our goal at DOMSOM is to pique your curiosity to get adventurous and try as many other white wines as possible. To get you started, here are a few notable varietals worth adding to your cart for “additional study”.
Cooled by the Atlantic Ocean on Spain’s northwest coast, Albarińo is a crisp, dry white worthy of warm days and sunshine. Refreshing citrus flavors and high acidity are most common, however when vineyards are in warmer inland areas of Spain, ripe melon and peach come forward as is typical of many warmer climate white wines. Known as Vinho Verde in Portugal, a few ambitious Virginia and California based wine makers are beginning to explore this grape and its understandable popularity.
VIDEO – ALBARINO FROM WILLIAMSBURG WINERY VA
What can’t this amazing grape do? Fresh and crisp whites, bubbles and even deliciously sweet wines can all shine when made from this diverse varietal. While not the easiest grape to grow, when the climate is right for full ripeness, high levels of sugar and acid result in a wine maker’s dream. Drink it now, or let it mature creating more complexity and notes of honey and spice, especially if oak exposure during fermentation or maturation is involved. You can pair an entire dinner with this one varietal. Start with a sparkling Chenin Blanc with the appetizers, shift to a fresh apple/pear bottle to delight with your Asian dishes and finish with a late harvest dessert style selection and some apple pie.
Shifting gears from fresh, crisp whites, Viogner builds on deeper notes of florals, spices and uber ripe peaches and pears when ripened in warm climates. Long lost on the shelves to other white varietals, winemakers in the U.S., Australia, Italy and other significant wine growing markets have led this wine to a fantastic renaissance. Holding its own against spicy Indian and Asian cuisines, this varietal is absolutely worthy of discovery. Layered complexity building on low to medium acidity and higher alcohol levels will give you a pleasing big mouth feel and depth.