Let me tell you something thatâ€™s not well known. There is more variety in white wine than in red because winemakers are more willing to let white grapes express themselves. But please donâ€™t ask me why this is so!
You all know the rule about always starting the evening or event with a refreshing wine, but do you know that this is also the time when we are most adventurous? Weâ€™re open to new experiences in the beginning â€“ an example being our fondness for trying new appetizers at restaurants. So are you ready for a few novel whites?
1. GRÃœNER: The worldâ€™s hot new white
Gruner Veltliner is the national grape of Austria. It could be likened to a mix of dry Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of energy. It dances in the glass. Gets the party started. Excellent aperitif and seafood wine. A decade ago, no one had heard of this wine but now itâ€™s groovy to be drinking Gruner. Many top restaurants offer it by the glass.
WINZER KREMS 07 GrÃ¼ner Veltliner, Austria 589002 $11.05
2. VIOGNIER & RIESLING: Best new whites of the year
The two best new white wines of the year so far are from Chile. Besides being really good theyâ€™re also value priced. Regular readers will know that I consider Cono Sur Pinot Noir to be one of the best ten dollar wines in the world and now Iâ€™m delighted to say the same about Cono Sur Viognier.
When winemaker Adolfo Hurato was in town last year I asked him why he was making Pinot and Viognier when everyone else was focused on the more popular varieties. â€œWhen the world gets tired of Chardonnay and Cabernet I want to be there with the alternative. An affordable alternative.â€
Viognier originated in the south of France and is starting to gain popularity with its charming and graceful personality. I like to describe Viognier as Chardonnayâ€™s young, innocent sister â€“ the Julia Roberts of white wine. A wine with to much talent to remain unknown.
Cono Sur Viognier is a drink anytime wine that will delight both dinner or party guests. Theyâ€™re sure to think that you have splurged. No one will believe that wine so delicious could cost less than ten dollars. Dry Riesling is also growing in popularity â€“ even in Australia. The Riesling grape is not supposed to do well in very hot climates but todayâ€™s winemakers are not bound by traditional beliefs. Case in point is a new-on-the-shelf fabulous dry Riesling from Chile.
Cousino-Macul is one of Chileâ€™s original wineries but their Riesling could not be more modern. Itâ€™s got liveliness and delicious tropical flavours. Summer in a glass. One sip and youâ€™ll be happy.
CONO SUR 08 Viognier, Chile 64287 $9.95
COUSINO-MACUL 07 Riesling, â€˜Dona Isidoraâ€™, Chile 57282 $11.95
3. CHARDONNAY-MUSQUE: A magical summer sipper
Caveâ€™s 07 Musque is their best ever and one of the most delightful local whites Iâ€™ve ever tasted. It would rock anyoneâ€™s world â€“ novice drinkers and snobs alike. Expect some Chard richness, some Muscat spiciness and a ton of jazzy liveliness. Sure the New World makes something similar â€“ but always overdone. Cave has kept good old Ontario purity in the wine so itâ€™s what the PR folks call elegantly understated. Have your first bottle with a lazy brunch. The other possibilities are anytime you are in the mood for fun. Mastercard would surely call this priceless.
CAVE SPRING CELLARS 07 Chardonnay Musque, Niagara 246579 $15.85