Wines for spring

Spring is all about nature’s renewal. What better time to commit to some things new and wonderful in the wine world. For those of us passionate or just plain happy and interested about wine, let’s use this spring to try wines we haven’t had before. For suggestions, I’ll feature some that are delicious, unique and fresh enough to stimulate springtime senses.

Soave Classico | Courtesy Lou Phillips

One can’t go wrong leading off with bubbles. Remembering our pledge to try wines we haven’t yet experienced, I am going to suggest some unique fizzes. The first is from the unlikeliest of locations and the unlikeliest of grapes. How about Sparkling Shiraz from South Australia?

After decades of making this celebratory wine, the Aussies know what they are doing. The grapes are picked at low ripeness levels, highlighting the fresh berry and bright spice characteristics of this grape. Look for “Traditional Method” on the label and you’ll get quality sparklers.

Next up and originating from Emilia-Romagna in Italy comes Lambrusco. This cherry-hued and flavored juice is made in the frothy frizzante style to be matched with assertive fare such as the spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and meats indigenous to this region.

How about Sparkling Shiraz from South Australia? After decades of making this celebratory wine, the Aussies know what they are doing.

On the white, try side barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blends that are a specialty of Bordeaux or barrel-fermented California Classic Sauvignon Blancs such as those from Merry Edwards Winery of Sebastopol or Mondavi Napa Fume Blanc. When done right, these whites are a study in floral/melon/citrus flavors with a richness, complexity and age ability from the barrel influence. As a bonus, you’ll find these world-class Sauvignon Blancs for far less than top quality Chardonnays.

White Bordeaux | Courtesy Lou Phillips

Back to Italy and the Veneto region for Soave Classico. Look for Classico on the label to ensure that top-notch Garganega grapes are the main ingredient. Try anything from the Inama Winery and your mouth will experience a happy dance.

For red wines, spring is the perfect time to pursue fresh Cabernet Francs, such as those from the seminal 2015 vintage in France’s Loire Valley. Look for the place names Chinon or Bourgueil on the label for wines full of flavors of violet and fresh damson plum.

Spain’s El Bierzo region is home to crisp and spicy wines full of red fruit flavors and a tinge of mineral crafted from the Mencia grape. A go-to example is the Petalos bottling from top producer J. Palacios.

Hailing from Piedmont in Italy, Dolcettos are vibrant cherry-skin-inflected wines with bright tannins that make them great as pizza wines or for sipping on a spring day.

Whether it’s these or other new-to-you wines, look at spring renewal as a chance to branch out and expand your wine world. Our local wine shop gurus are also great sources for suggestions. Cheers.