Setting the Table for Spring

The Wine Girl

Spring is a transitional season for wines. When the weather gets warmer and the mercury in the thermometer starts to climb, we start sipping on the patio and dining alfresco looking for light, elegant, and fresh wine styles.  Look to zesty, dry, high-acid whites like Albariño, Txakolina, and Gruner Veltliner for a refreshing culinary treat.  These tart and crisp whites are low-alcohol and are incredibly versatile and food-friendly.  Pretty pink rosé, especially the light salmon-colored styles from Provence, are also ideal for the season. 

Weather should not be the only factor in dictating what to drink.  Actually, your meal should be the driving force.  After all, backyard grilling calls for a thick, juicy steak and a spicy, bold Cabernet Sauvignon to match.  The weight and tannin structure of a wine (and not the color) are the most important factors in deciding what to drink in spring.  The reds listed below are light-bodied enough to enjoy in the spring sunshine, yet structured enough to match grilled meats, burgers, and charcuterie.

Ten Spring Wines to Welcome the Season:

1.     2014 Alex Gambal Bourgogne Chardonnay, Burgundy, France ($29.99):
Alex Gambal is an American making wine in Burgundy.  He left the world of real estate in the DC area to explore his passion for winemaking.  White Burgundy is ultimate expression of Chardonnay.  This bottle has just the right amount of oak to provide some weight and texture, without being overly heavy (or like drinking a stick of butter).  It is balanced with juicy acidity and loaded with aromas of lemon, green apple, and pear.  It is a beautiful foray into the world of white Burgundy, the gold standard of Chardonnay.
2.     2015 Forchir Pinot Grigio "Lamis,” Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy ($14.99):
This golden hued Pinot Grigio hales form the Northeast corner of Italy in the Collio province between Austria and Slovenia.  The high altitude, and cool climate creates crisp, bright, and zesty wines that express a sense of place.  This Pinot Grigio has depth, complexity, and sensual aromas of lime, nectarine, green apple, and peach.  Pair with sushi, vegetable crudités, and light cheeses.
3.     2015 Baigorri Blanco Barrica, Rioja, Spain ($29.99):
A beautifully unique white Rioja made from Viura (90%) and Malvasía (10%), sourced exclusively from old vines in the villages of Samaniego, Navarides, and Leza Rioja Alavesa.  Eight months of lees contact in small oak barrels creates a beautifully textured wine with roundness and structure.  Golden in color, this wine offers intense aromas of exotic fruits, citrus, and bracing acidity. Creamy and complex on the palate this is a seriously elegant and balanced wine.
4.     2014 Domaine de Echardières Sauvignon Blanc, Touraine, Loire Valley, France (14.99):
Zippy acidity, grapefruit, and lime zest dominate the aroma profile of this lovely 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley.  Dry and refreshing with hints of white flowers, this bottle is a tremendous value.
5.     2015 Quara Torrontés, Cafayate, Argentina ($11.99):
Torrontés is Argentina’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc.  It is indigenous to the country and boasts strong aromas of white flowers and tropical fruit like lychee, pineapple, and peach.  There is a good deal of juicy acidity to round out the long finish.  This Quara makes an ideal pairing with spicy Asian foods, Indian cuisine, and light seafood dishes.
6.     2015 Brunn Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal, Austria ($13.99):
A classic Gruner Veltliner offering beautiful notes of tart yellow apple, lemon zest, and pear with a light peppery finish.  An outstanding value, this one-liter bottle is great for entertaining a crowd and outdoor picnics.
7.     2015 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Cuvee Theo, Alsace, France ($34.99):
Domaine Weinbach is considered one of the world’s most notable wineries. They were one of the first French producers to adopt the Biodynamic winemaking method in the 1980s.  Before the tragic and unexpected passing of Colette and her daughter Laurence Fallerin 2015, the estate was run by Collette and her two daughters, Laurence and Catherine.  The women took over in 1979 after the passing of Théo Faller, Colette’s husband.  Laurence was considered one of the greatest winemakers of her time.  Today, Catherine Faller, who oversees marketing and sales, and her son Théo, run the estate.
Riesling is the perfect spring wine, and Weinbach Riesling offers mouthwatering, bracing acidity that keeps you coming back to your glass for more. Round and complex, with aromas and flavors of peach, nectarine, honeysuckle, and petroleum, this is a very special wine to be savored with elegant spring meals.  Pair with seafood, spring salads, and poultry. 
8.     2015 Brokenwood HV Semillion, Hunter Valley, Australia ($19.99):
This is an outstanding springtime white wine offering notes of grass, lime, lemongrass, yellow peach, and chamomile on the nose and palate.  Bright acidity and a long finish make this a perfect wine for quaffing on the terrace with a light Mediterranean pasta salad. 
9.     2014 Txomin Etxaniz Txakoli, Getaría, Spain ($23.99):
The vast proportion of Txakolina is consumed in the Basque country, with the United States being the biggest export market.  These wines are light, simple, and low-alcohol – perfect for warm weather sipping.  They offer lovely citrus notes, stony minerality, with a slightly salty finish. They make a wonderful match with shellfish.  Txomin Etxaniz was established in 1930, but they have records dating all the way back to 1649, making them one of the first ever producers of Txakoli.  They are also the largest producer in the region.  They employ sustainable winemaking practices and grape-growing techniques, with vineyard sites planted on terraces overlooking the ocean that benefit from the ocean breeze.
10.  2016 Terre de Mistral Rosalie Rosé, Provence, France ($19.99):
This will be your favorite spring Rosé.  It is perfumed with hints of strawberries, raspberries, rose petal, and hints of violet.  It has juicy, refreshing acidity and good viscosity with a smooth texture, bone dry.
11.  2015 Barrique Cellars Grenache, Paso Robles, California ($19.99):
Bold, bright, and clean with notes of red raspberry fruit, clove, and white pepper spice bursting from the glass.  Look for a lovely and savory hint of black licorice on the nose. Well-balanced with bracing acidity and soft tannins make this wine easy to pair with a wide array of cuisines from American barbecue to Asian fare. 
12.  2011 Thibault Liger-Belair La Roche Moulin-à-Vent, Burgundy, France($49.99):
Cru Beaujolais is the perfect wine for any season.  It is light weight enough to enjoy in the warmer months, yet structured enough to pair with BBQ meats and burgers.  It’s medium-bodied, low in tannin, and has tons of baking spice and white pepper.  This is a serious Gamay that’s loaded with lush and sweet red fruit.
13.  2013 Cascina Adelaide Barbera d'Alba Mie Donne ($15.99):
This is a delightful, light-bodied red with so much zesty acidity that it makes a brilliant accompaniment to almost any cuisine.  It’s so refreshing that it will make your mouth salivate, stimulate your appetite, and enhance your meal.  It is accessible, delightful, and loaded with tart red cherry flavors.
14.  2014 Bodega de Abad Sierra Iberica Mencía, Bierzo, Spain ($19.99):
Mencía is a medium-bodied red wine with lovely floral notes and bright red fruit flavors.  This rustic bottling offers notes of pomegranate, tart cherry, strawberry, and black licorice.  Pair this with a juicy burger all season long.
15.  2012 Nugan Estate Alcira Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra, Australia ($24.99):
Enticing dark fruit aromas of blackcurrant and blackberry mixed with a hint of mint and eucalypts mingle with earth and spice.  The red sandy terra rossa soil of the Coonawarra region creates intense dark fruit tones and velvety tannins.

Elyse Genderson is the HBIC at Schneider’s of Capitol Hill.  Visit her at the store to discover wines you love.