Chardonnays appeal is undeniable. Yet there are a number of white varietals, grown throughout the world, that offer a breathtaking array of flavors and textures. From crisp, lime-laden albarino to peach-scented, honey-textured viogner, and everything else in between - there is a wealth of white wines to enjoy. Here are 10 to sip on their own or to savor with any meal you might serve.
2015 Domaine des Cassagnoles Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
An insiders white wine that drinks like its twice the price. From Gascogne (a southwestern region of France), and comprised of colombard and the aromatically alluring gros manseng, the 2015 Cotes des Gascogne packs a wallop of flavor. Nectarines, apricots, lime, floral scents - all you will find in this stunning, refreshingly crisp value.
2014 Lois Gruner Veltliner by Loimer
Austrias answer to sauvignon blanc, a varietal where freshness and tangy savor come to the fore. Somms and foodies adore Austria's gruner veltliner, and for good reason. This cool climate varietal is all about herbal savor and spine tingling citrus fruit, making it a natural to pair with vegetables, seafood, and poultry. The unoaked 2014 gv from Lois is a vibrant expression that can be enjoyed even on its own - its savory herbal notes, snappy citrus fruit, and crunchy green apple hints mark it as an especially tasty deal.
2015 Burgans Albarino
A vibrantly crisp white whose citrus and white orchard fruit notes somehow maintain a poise and lightness of touch. No surprise, given how the cool yet sunny hillside vineyards and mineral-rich soils of the Atlantic northwest of Spain yield whites whose punchy, powerful, penetrating flavors of apricots, flowers, and lime can rival anything from California or from France - but at a fraction of the cost. Bright yellow with lime hints to the eye, with ripe orchard fruit on the nose. Ripe apples, peaches, and apricots on the svelte palate, with a persistent saline finish that only whets the appetite. A cool, refreshing summer sipper.
2015 Inama Soave Classico
From northeastern Italy, a refreshingly rich wine for a sunny Sunday afternoon. Grown and crafted just outside Verona, and comprised of an indigenous Italian varietal known as garganega, a textbook soave somehow strikes a delicate balance between citrus and floral freshness and nutty, tactile richness. Apricots, flowers, a honeyed texture, with almonds and sage in the persistent finish - Inamas 2015 Soave Classico and its broad range of flavors can match anything from France or California.
2014 Muga Blanco
A full-bodied, honey-textured white dressed in a flattering, form-fitting ensemble. Unfairly overshadowed by its red brother, Rioja blanco wines will captivate even the die-hard chardonnay fan with its plush texture and and floral stone fruit notes. Often comprised of viura and malvasia riojana, as Mugas 2014 Blanco is, this full figured, white flower and and peach laden white also offers a nutty, mineral depth that only adds to its allure. Rich, refreshing, and refined, and at a deal of a price.
2015 Domaine Grands Bois Cotes du Rhone Viognier
A once obscure varietal whose exotic flavors and full-figured body prove irresistible to even the most seasoned palate. Viognier was once languishing in the northern Rhone; in 1965, the appellation Condrieu, where Viognier first found fame, was only 8 hectares in size. An no wonder. Viognier, even under ideal conditions, yields only a modest crop of fruit. It also demands a harvest at precisely the right moment to capture not only its lush texture but also its seductive flavors and perfume. The 2015 Grand Bois proves that it is well worth the effort. Yellow gold to the eye, with honeyed yet fresh stone fruits and floral hints on the nose. Lemons, pears, and apricots on the palate, with a spicy ginger note emerging with time. Medium bodied, with just a hint of baby fat, this will pair well with pan seared scallops.
2015 Pichot Vouvray Domaine le Peu de la Moriette
A luxurious white whose mix of precise flavors and decadent texture is matched by few other varietals. From green apples and mineral hints in its younger, more dry expressions to quince, peaches and pineapples, marzipan, and honey in its more rich and luxuriant instances - chenin blanc offers a wealth of flavors and textures well worth your attention. Pichots 2015 le Peu de la Moriette strikes a balance between dry and rich. Perfumed nose of pineapple, with juicy baked apple, anise and, honey hints on the generous palate. Plush, persistent, and precise, a real balancing act of a wine.
2014 Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc
A rich yet refreshing white that somehow maintains a delicate poise. Often overshadowed by the reds of the Left and Right Banks, Bordeaux blancs are perhaps the most unappreciated white wines of the world. They often match and even outpace the racy Sancerres of the Loire Valley and the Grand Cru chards of Burgundy. Often a blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc, a classic Bordeaux blanc will capture the best of each - white orchard fruit and exotic tropical hints, a creamy or even honeyed texture, and a savory suggestion and citrus splash that frames all. The 2014 Bordeaux blanc from Graville Lacoste is a textbook example.
2013 Trimbach Gewurztraminer
A full throttle, pedal to the metal white, where tropical fruit and exotic spices dominate all. Though cultivated throughout the world, gewurzs greatest expressions are undoubtedly from Alsace, where upon the regions hillsides the varietal gains an intensity and complexity that other countries can only hope to match. Trimbach is among the more dry expressions of the varietal, yet it remains as intense and as persistent as any other. Stone fruit and spice hints dominate the nose on the 2013, with dried peaches and rose petals on the palate. With time licorice and ginger hints emerge in the long finish. Theres nothing subtle about this wine.
2014 Serge Dagueneau Pouilly Fume les Pentes
A crisp and savory white wine whose purity and persistence of flavors will prove to the burley hop-infused beer lover that wine can be just as enjoyable as the latest craft brew releases. Though sauvignon blanc is cultivated in California and New Zealand, it first found enduring fame in Frances Loire Valley. Its cool climate consistently yield punchy and persistent whites that have come to define the flavors of fine sauvignon blanc. There, the varietal displays fresh, savory, herbal hints and a citrus edge, with apricot notes and even wisps of smoke in the finer expressions from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, where this 2014 sauvignon blanc was crafted. A textbook example, Serge Dagueneaus SB is a complex blend of savory herbs, citrus lift, and stone fruit ripeness.
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