I am surprised that I am drinking so many white wines this winter. Perhaps I am thinking of the warmer weather to come or simply enjoying some lighter fare this winter. In either case, here are a couple white wines I enjoyed this week which I can consider to be good values.
Everyday: 2011 Cono Sur Viognier (Chile) (NSLC, $11.99)
This is a great value and good expression of Viognier - a grape with origins in Northern Rhone but now grown successfully throughout the world. This charming white wine bursts with orchard fruit, orange peel and spice aromas. Unlike some more expensive New World Viognier it isn't laden with oak or uncomfortably unctuous. This little beauty delivers ripe fruit flavours with deftly balanced acidity.
Serving Suggestion: Mandarin Chicken Salad
Gourmet: 2011 Sandhill Pinot Blanc (British Columbia) (Select NSLC*, $17.99)
There's an argument to be made for Pinot Blanc in British Columbia. You may not be familiar with this grape which is part of the Pinot family including Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. But then again why would you be? Pinot Blanc has almost disappeared from much of Burgundy (at least from its more prestigious appellations) and although it is still grown and made in Alsace and Germany it rarely commands attention. In its classic environs the grape is guilty of lacking personality but in the warm, dry growing conditions of British Columbia it can deliver more distinctive fruit while retaining its acidity. A good example is Sandhill Pinot Blanc which is a medium-bodied white wine which delivers a nice synergy of apple and tropical fruit, perky acidity and although enjoys some oak influence it is more than kept in check. Good news as the previous vintage available was a little rich in oak and malolactic influence for some palates.
Serving Suggestions: Herb and lemon roasted chicken
*Go to mynslc.com for locations and availability.
Mark DeWolf is the Food & Drinks Editor of Occasions Magazine, a sommelier instructor and owner of By the Glass.