OK fellow wine adventure people: Close your eyes, engage your imagination and jump on the magic wine carpet as it soars off to Europe for Part II of our mission to discover light and lively wines just made for warm-weather imbibing.
We are going to skip Great Britain, because although British bubblies are pretty darn good, they are too pricey. Ergo, we land in France where we find some of the best Sauvignon Blancs and white blends in Bordeaux. That’s right, this burg mixes up some mighty tasty blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Crispy and fresh are the bywords here, especially in the value offerings where it’s most unlikely there is any wood involved. Even at $10 or less, you are going to love these beauties chilled for summer fun with the added bonus of impressing your friends with your little-known gem.
Back on the magic carpet, we head to Germany where we will totally ignore the Riesling train and jump right on to cool-climate Müller-Thurgaus, Sylvaners and our old friend dry Gewürtraminer. In that latter category, a must-try is the Villa Wolf version from the Pfalz region made by wine-guru Dr. Ernst Loosen. Again these are amazing values and unique tasty wines.
A short flight away is Austria where we will look for the 1-liter bottles with the beer pop-top caps. These are full of yummy fresh-as-a-daisy Grüner Veltliner. I suggest the liter bottle as a guide to value price and winemaking style because these are less ripe Grüner Veltliners with no barrel influence — and therefore perfect for balmy days and summer salads.
Next stop is Greece for Moschofilero and Assyrtiko grapes. Grown in arid rocky terroirs, these indigenous grapes make for light but concentrated wines and are great food matches for, you guessed it: Mediterranean fare. A spicy, herby Greek salad and some grilled marinated chicken crave these guys as meal mates, so do them a solid and hook them up.
Did someone say Italy? I thought so, therefore that’s our next destination. So we will focus on a couple of lithe Italians, namely Falanghina and Verdicchio wine grapes. The former finds its muse in the volcanic soils of Campania and the latter in the coastal vineyards of the Marche region. Unlike their earthier fellow Italian white wines from the north, they feature lovely fruit and flower flavors.
Last stop is Iberia where the west coasts of both Spain and Portugal offer crisp citrus and saline tinted versions of Vinho Verde mainly from the Albariño/Alvarinho grape. Summer seaside, seafood fetes cry out for these perfect partners.