Spring Recommendations

Wine Guys

With the weather warming up and the days getting longer, tastes often change, with a move away from richer, heavier wines to a more crisp, floral, and mineral driven selection.

While Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay continue to be obvious choices for a crisp whites (more about those later), there are also a number of other regions and varieties worth considering, such as an Albarino from Riaxas Baixas, Godello from Galicia, Verdejo from Rueda, or even a Viognier from the Northern Rhone.

Some of my top picks to get spring off to a good start include:

Rias Baixas

Altos de Cristimil Albarino White Label 2012 ($20) – This charming white comes from the green and relatively cool climate of Rias Baixas in northwest Spain. Made by Bodegas Fernandez de Arcaya, this is one of our best finds from the region. This zesty, energetic Albarino is a great choice on a warm day, offering a vibrant display or lemon, white peaches and just a hint of herbs. This is summer in a glass!


Terra do Castelo Godello 2012 ($20) - This expressive Godello hails from Ribiero,  one of the grape's native regions. Tucked up in the north-western corner of Galicia, Ribiero has a transitional climate varying between Oceanic and Mediterranean, which means grapes have no problem ripening on the steep, sun exposed, terraced valleys, yet due to the coastal influence and cool nights, the grapes retain all their vibrant acidity. The Terra do Castelo is packed with flavor, offering intense citrus aromas of lemon and grapefruit with hints of anise and light grassy and floral notes. It has round fruit on the palate, with crisp acidity and a long, elegant finish.  The rich mid-pallet along with intense fruit make this dry white perfect for warm weather sipping.


Bodegas Naia Ducado de Altan Verdejo 2012 ($15) – From the Rueda, an hour and a half drive northeast from Madrid, comes this vibrant and effortless wine. This 100% Verdejo has pear, ginger and salted almond notes. Tangy acidity adds liveliness through the savory finish with just the right amount of acidity to keep you comming back for more.

Rhone Valley

Nicolas Perrin Viognier 2012 ($20) – This Viognier is the off-spring of a relatively new micro-negociant operation, a joint venture of two of the Rhone Valley's most highly acclaimed producers, the Perrins from Chateauneuf du Pape and the Jaboulets in the northern Rhone. An absolutely delicious Viognier, it offers exotic lychee, spring flowers, peach, honeysuckle, and hints of pineapple.

Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

I sometimes overlook some old favourites such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, in search of something a little different. However I've recently been stunned by the quality in some recent tastings. Still taking advantage of California's bountiful production, our Barrique Cellars project, where we seek excess juice from the state's top producers and bottle under our own label, continues to be a big hit. The latest instalment includes a fresh, juicy Chardonnay from Mendocino and a crisp, racy Sauvignon Blanc from Santa Ynez. Give them a try and I'll be surprised if they don't become go to choices over the coming months.

Barrique Cellars Chardonnay- Mendocino ($25)

A light and balanced touch of vanilla fades gently into mouth-watering tropical fruit, green apple and pear, with a hint of cream on the finish.

Barrique Cellars Sauvignon Blanc- Santa Ynez ($20)

A bright clean appearance with fresh lemon, green hues. Lifted notes of tart grapefruit, fresh green apple, racy minerals, and just a hint of tropical fruit with a bright lingering finish.

Felix is Schneider's New Media Manager and wine student currently studying for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Diploma, a prerequisite for the Institute of Master of Wine.

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