There are so many white wines beyond Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Here are some less familiar white grapes and wines to taste this summer:
Albariño is grown in the Rías Baixas region in northwest Spain. You’ll also find it in Portugal, where it is called Alvarinho. Albariño produces dry and fragrant wines that are high in acidity with moderate alcohol.
Try: Paco & Lola Albariño ($20)
Indigenous to the Greek island of Santorini, this grape produces light bodied and fresh wines with apple and pear flavors and high acidity. Pair this wine with mezze, shellfish or grilled white fish.
Try: Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini 2011 ($20)
Imagine yourself sticking your nose into a bouquet of flowers and taking a sniff — that’s the sensation you’ll have when taking a sniff of this lush and aromatic wine. Gewurztraminer is grown in Germany, Austria and Alsace, France, and produces off dry to sweet wines with flavors of rose, jasmine, honeysuckle, apricot and lychee.
Try: Trimbach Gewurztraminer ($22)
This dry Austrian wine is made for summer parties. Extremely versatile, it can pair with all sorts of foods ranging from shellfish to spicy Asian cuisine. Grüner Veltliner has citrus and stone fruit flavors, crisp acidity and gentle minerality.
Try: Zocker Grüner Veltliner 2011 ($20)
Marsanne and Roussanne
These French grapes are often blended together and with other white wine grapes like Grenache Blanc or Viognier. Marsanne and Roussanne come from the Rhône region in southern France. It is also found in California’s Central Coast, particularly in Paso Robles. Marsanne and Roussanne produce aromatic wines with floral notes.
Try: Halter Ranch Côtes de Paso Blanc 2010 ($24)
Picpoul de Pinet
Picpoul de Pinet comes from the Languedoc region in southwest France. It is made from the Picpoul (or Piquepoul) grape. This wine is light, crisp and refreshing, perfect for an afternoon outdoors or with shellfish.
Try: HB Picpoul de Pinet 2010 ($12)
Don’t think that Riesling has to be sweet. Dry Riesling is wonderfully aromatic and flavorful, as well as very food friendly. And since it’s the Summer of Riesling, now is the perfect time to enjoy this wine. Riesling is grown all over the world, from Germany, Austria and Alsace to Washington, New York and Chile.
Try: Dr Heidemanns Bernkastel Kabinett ($15)
If you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc but want to try something different, try this white from Argentina. Similar in taste and in body, Torrontes has elegant floral aromas and flavors with a touch of citrus.
Try: Filus Torrontes 2010 ($11)
Verdejo is grown in the Rueda region in west-central Spain. It produces a light and refreshing white wine that has floral and tropical fruit notes.
Try: Tapeña Verdejo ($10)
This French grape has just the right mix of dry and sweet. It comes from the Rhône region of France and is grown all over the globe. Viognier produces wines with low acidity, floral notes and flavors of ripe pineapple, guava, mango, peach and sweet lemon.
Try: Biltmore Estate North Carolina Viognier 2010 ($16)