Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Wines

If anyone's getting sick of hearing me sing the praises of Virginia Cabernet Franc or Chilean Merlot here, fear not! With spring officially settling into the DC area - and the weather not that far behind - the bigger reds will stay on the rack in the coming months as the lighter reds, whites and roses start to feature more prominently into regular rotation.

For reds, that means this in Pinot Noir's seasonal heyday. Lighter-bodied, with loads of fruit and - with the best from Burgundy and Oregon - spice, earth and complexity that proves that a wine doesn't need to be a big, heavy wine to have a lot going on in terms of what you can taste and discover.

That last sentence was veering extremely close to wine blogger snobbery and pretentiousness, so I apologize and will strive to do better when discussing the whites - especially because there are so many that are approachable, interesting and affordable.

While the Virginia Cabernet Francs and Petite Verdots are being put away for the warmer months, Virginia is no slouch in the white category either. Viognier, in particular, is a great choice, and one that I anticipate enjoying quite a bit of during the spring and summer. Pear, apricot and a little honeysuckle give these wines a lot of fruit while balancing it out with slate on the finish gives Virginia Viognier is why these wines continue to grow in popularity. According to Jordan Harris of Tarara, who makes a great Viognier in his own right, these wines don't show well during wine competitions, but that should take absolutely nothing away from what these wines can offer.

When it comes to pink wine, Rose d'Anjou is a solid go-to. Made predominantly or entirely from Cabernet Franc grapes and coming out of The Loire Valley, these wines - with their abundance of strawberries and raspberries, well-balanced structure and dry, refreshing finish - these wines are great any time during the warmer months and are version utile enough to pair with anything from barbecue ribs to charcuterie.

If you need good come backs when people make fun of you for drinking pink wine with your ribs, check back. That may well be a future post.

Finally, one should not ignore sparkling wines. Cavas from Spain are great, inexpensive sparkling wines that can be opened any time and enjoyed by a diverse crowd. Once you get out of the CVS brands of cava, there are some great options for under $10 maki them some of the best values in the wine world these days.

Whatever you choose to drink during the warmer months, enjoy it, and if you so dare, try to be a wine evangelist for all the beer drinkers.