I can tell it’s spring again because the white wines are returning. One by one they show up, back again from whatever home they make for the winter, and settle into their summer grounds on porches and at picnics. As more and more arrive they begin to drive out the reds. With the warmer temps and longer days I start to spot the first Pinot Grigios here and there shortly after the snow is gone. Then, a few weeks after the last wind-chill advisories, the first Chenin Blancs appear. A friend of mine recently told me he spotted a Rose’ downtown someplace but that may just have been a fluke; one rogue glass that arrived too early and way ahead of the others. Or maybe my friend got it confused with a cranberry juice; the two have a very similar appearance.
The last to arrive are usually the Sauvignon Blancs. To attract them, try putting some goat cheese or feta on a small serving plate outside on a picnic table on a warm, sunny day. Last week my wife and I were excited to find a nesting pair in our refrigerator door so we expect to see a lot more of them this summer. Rieslings are attracted to almost anything but it’s still fun to see them show up. Chardonnay is one white that stays throughout the entire winter. To attract Chardonnay put out some Brie. I still have not spotted the more elusive Viognier or Gewurztraminer. I typically see them arrive with the summer salads, gathering around light fish and spicy Asian foods.
Although it varies greatly, around our household the whites stay in larger numbers through the summer months until the colder temperatures bring the reds back again. Following the great white migration is a great way to learn more about the variety and diversity represented within the world of wine.
Below are a few whites that are easily spotted at local picnics and back porches on warmer weekend days.
Hermann J. Wiemer 2006, Dry Riesling ($17.99): This variety of white is easily identified by its lemon-lime mid palate. A complex specimen, it also has a unique eucalyptus element on its finish.
Kim Crawford 2009, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($15.99): This white was introduced from New Zealand but large populations are doing very well competing against their relatives from California. Its grassy nose makes it easy to distinguish from other Sauvignon Blancs.