Let me tell you something that’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 don’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? We’re open to new experiences in the beginning ““ an example being our fondness for trying new appetizers at restaurants. So are you ready for a few novel whites?
1. GRÃœNER: The world’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 it’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 they’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 I’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. “When the world gets tired of Chardonnay and Cabernet I want to be there with the alternative. An affordable alternative.”
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 Chardonnay’s young, innocent sister ““ 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. They’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 ““ even in Australia. The Riesling grape is not supposed to do well in very hot climates but today’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 Chile’s original wineries but their Riesling could not be more modern. It’s got liveliness and delicious tropical flavours. Summer in a glass. One sip and you’ll be happy.
CONO SUR 08 Viognier, Chile 64287 $9.95
COUSINO-MACUL 07 Riesling, “˜Dona Isidora’, Chile 57282 $11.95
3. CHARDONNAY-MUSQUE: A magical summer sipper
Cave’s 07 Musque is their best ever and one of the most delightful local whites I’ve ever tasted. It would rock anyone’s world ““ 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 ““ but always overdone. Cave has kept good old Ontario purity in the wine so it’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