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  • Marco Giovanetti

Exploring Unique and Refreshing White Wines for a Memorable Summer


woman at a restaurant having a glass of white wine

The time is perfect to pull out a few bottles of white wine for chilling and sipping. Whether planning a wedding reception, hosting a baby shower or just relaxing with friends and family, white wine is the protagonist for all these occasions. While familiar varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are undoubtedly delightful choices, this article aims to introduce you to a selection of interesting white wines, including some rare varieties, that can add an extra touch of excitement to your summer wine adventures. Join us on a journey through vineyards around the world, as we discover unique flavors, captivating stories, and unforgettable experiences.



Varieties to explore this summer


Godello, Loureiro & Alvarinho


Godello is an unique variety found in Spain and Portugal. It is known for its zesty citrus character, enticing minerality and brilliant natural acidity. The flagship wine for hot weather, it pairs nicely with seafood dishes. In parallel, Loureiro and Alvanrinho are the workhouse varieties of Vinho Verde in Northern Portugal. While both are known for citrus notes, salinity and vibrant acidity, Loureiro contributes herbal character to the wines while Alvarinho brings notes of ripe melon fruit.


Recommended producers: Dominio de Tares, Anselmo Mendes, Niepoort


woman tasting white wine in a winery cellar


Pecorino and Falanghina


Pecorino is found everywhere in Central Italy, from mountaintops to coastal hillsides. Pecorino is appreciated for showcasing the complexity of its terroir. Naturally high in acidity, it makes for elegant wines that range from delicate to boldly intense. In addition, Falangina, a tad more powerful than Pecorino, can display a fantastic array of ripe peach, apricot, honey and floral notes. Bright acidity, it makes a fantastic food wine.


Recommended producers: Francesco Cirelli, Feudi di San Gregorio.



woman holding a glass of white wine in front of vines

Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris


Same grape with different styles. Wines named “Grigio” followed the delicate Italian style. On the other hand, “Gris” is built along the robust Alsatian style. Pinot Grigio is dry with pear, stone fruit, and citrus aromas. Experienced sommeliers notice as well fragrances of almonds, honeysuckle, and baking spices. Pinot Gris also has notes of tropical fruit, citrus, and stone fruit. Using riper grapes makes the wine less acidic. Most of the Gris is dry; a small amount from the Alsace region is sweet. Yet, one can find floral aromas like honeysuckle and sometimes a saline-like minerality. However, It has a higher alcohol content than the Grigio.

Recommended producers: Elena Walch, Cantina Terlano, Alois Lageder, Domaine Brand, Domaine Ostertag, Domaine Barmes Buecher.



Ribolla Gialla

Sipping Ribolla Gialla is the perfect choice for summer indulgence. This beautiful white wine, hailing from the picturesque vineyards of northeastern Italy and Slovenia, embodies the essence of warm sun-soaked days. With its bright golden hue and delicate aromas of citrus blossoms, peaches, and green apples, every sip transports you to a blissful Mediterranean getaway. The wine's crisp acidity and refreshing minerality provide a tantalizing contrast, making it an excellent companion for leisurely afternoons by the pool or al fresco gatherings with friends. Whether you're enjoying it on its own or pairing it with light summer dishes like grilled seafood or fresh salads, Ribolla Gialla promises to elevate your summer experience with its elegance and charm.


Recommended producers: Paraschos, Attems, Radikon, Dario Princic.



opened bottle of sauvignon blanc with a glass of white wine and pieces of bread

Old World & New World Sauvignon


Sauvignon Blanc tells volumes with its aromatic and signature gooseberry and herbal notes. Sauvignon Blanc originated in Bordeaux, but its spiritual home is in the Loire Valley, where it is called simply “Sauvignon”. The most famous appellation in the Loire Valley is Sancerre, which it makes for a dry, steely and refreshingly citrusy wine. In the New World, New Zealand is perhaps the most famous, showcasing a variety of classic aromas such as passion fruit and guava.


Recommended producers: The Supernatural Wine, Saint Clair Family Estate, Joseph Mellot, Domaine Vacheron.



Catarrato

Indulging in the Catarrato grape variety this summer is an invitation to discover Sicily's vibrant wine culture. This indigenous white grape, cultivated on the sun-drenched hills of this enchanting Italian island, offers a truly refreshing experience. With its pale straw colour and enticing aromas of citrus blossoms, tropical fruits, and a hint of Mediterranean herbs, Catarrato captures the essence of the Sicilian terroir. Each sip reveals a harmonious balance of lively acidity and a smooth, rounded texture, creating a delightful sensation on the palate. Whether enjoyed chilled on a sunny terrace or paired with fresh seafood dishes, Catarrato is the embodiment of summer in a glass, providing a captivating taste of Sicily's warm, coastal breeze and embracing the joy of the season.


Recommended producers: Donnafugata, Vino Lauria, Rapitala.


couple cheering with two glasses of white wine


Colombard / Gros Manseng

Indulging in a white wine blend of Colombard and Gros Manseng is the perfect way to elevate your summer sipping experience. This delightful combination of grape varieties brings together the best of Gascony, France, where sun-drenched vineyards produce wines bursting with flavour. With its bright golden colour and captivating aromas of ripe peaches, citrus zest, and delicate white flowers, this blend invites you to embark on a sensory journey. The palate is treated to a symphony of crisp acidity, luscious tropical fruit flavours, and a touch of herbal freshness, resulting in a refreshing and well-balanced wine. Whether enjoyed during a relaxed picnic or as a companion to grilled vegetables or seafood, the Colomard/Gros Manseng blend is a versatile choice that will complement the vibrant energy of summer, leaving you longing for another sip.


Recommended Producers: Lionel Osmin, Domaine Tariquet, Alain Brumont.


Vermentino

Originating from the coastal regions of Italy and France, Vermentino is an delighful white wine that encapsulates the essence of summer. With its aromatic notes of citrus, stone fruits, and Mediterranean herbs, this wine evokes images of sun-kissed shores and sea breezes. Enjoy it alongside light salads, grilled vegetables, or even as a standalone aperitif.


Recommended Producers: Argiolas, Michele Satta, Poggio Al Lupo.


glass of white wine facing the ocean

As the sun-drenched days of summer beckon, expanding our wine horizons can add an extra layer of enjoyment to the season. While traditional white wines like Sauvignon Blanc continue to please our palates, exploring unique and rare varieties can offer novel experiences and tantalize our taste buds with unexpected flavours. Whether you opt for a citrusy Godello from Spain, an aromatic Pinot Gris from Alsace, or an intriguing Ribola Gialla from Italy, each wine promises to transport you to a world of sensory delights.




References:

1. “Spanish White Wines - Gismondi on Wine.” n.d. Gismondionwine.com. Accessed June 19, 2023.

2. “Grape Varieties - Winesofportugal.com.” n.d. Www.winesofportugal.com. Accessed June 19, 2023.

3. Beckett, Fiona. 2011. “Wine: Italian Whites.” The Guardian, June 3, 2011, sec. Food.

4. “Pinot Gris vs Pinot Grigio Wine I Wine Folly.” n.d. Wine Folly.

5. “Rebula/Ribolla – Living on the Borderline? | JancisRobinson.com.” n.d. Www.jancisrobinson.com.

6.“Indigenous Grapes Create a New Era for Sicilian White Wine | Wine Enthusiast.” n.d. Www.wineenthusiast.com. Accessed June 19, 2023.

7. “Why the Wines of Southwest France Belong on Every Wine List.” 2017. SevenFifty Daily. December 21, 2017.

8. The Globe and Mail. 2015. “Vermentino: A White Grape That’s like a Quietly Sexy Italian” November 11, 2015.









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