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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
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Apr 12, 2021

For this show, we discuss a list of lovely reds and whites that you won't see on other lists for spring wines. Etna from Sicily? Check. Chignin Bergeron from Savoie in France? Yup. If you're looking for a change from the norm and a great spring list, here it is! 

As promised, here is the list...with some example labels to make shopping easy (see the winefornormalpeople.com/blog for label examples)

 

  1. With its medium body, excellent acidity, and minerally flavors, Etna Rosso from Sicily is a must have for spring. It can gracefully handle grilled food as well as it does mushroom risottos!

The bonus wine: Etna Bianco, made of the Carricante grape. Similar nature, but with a greater hit of acidity and a cheek coating texture. Taste the volcano! 

 

  1. As we called it in the Chardonnay episode, Jura is the Bizarro Burgundy. It's just across the Bresse plain and grows similar grapes...except when it doesn't. In the Arbois region, light, spicy, peppery reds of Poulsard and Trousseau can be lovely on a spring evening with salads, morel mushrooms, and flavorful fish like salmon.

The bonus wines: sparkling Crémant from the Jura made of Chardonnay and becoming more widely available OR Chignin Bergeron, aka Roussanne, from the neighboring region, Savoie. That peachy, herbal, fuller body with good acidity is great when there’s still a chill in the air but you still want to stay outside!

 

  1. Bordeaux, M.C. Ice’s favorite. For spring, a white Bordeaux with a large proportion of the waxy, peachy, sautéed herb, honeycomb flavored/textured Sémillon is nice as the nights warm up. Sauvignon Blanc gives these blends excellent acidity and herbal aromatics but you just need a touch of that when we’re dealing with spring. The great part about Bordeaux Blanc? You can switch to Sauvignon Blanc heavy blends in the summer for a more refreshing bottle! I recommend steering clear of Bordeaux Blanc and Bordeaux Blanc Superieur (unless you know the producer) and seeking out wines from the Côtes de Bordeaux (label examples below). If you can swing it, get a wine from Pessac-Leognan – the best areas for whites in Bordeaux.

The bonus wines: Merlot heavy red blends from the Côtes de Bordeaux—Castillon and Francs are the more serious areas but Blaye may be the most refreshing for our spring hit list.

  1. No list of mine is complete without Alsace, France. However, this time I’m switching up my regular Riesling reco and instead recommending Pinot Gris. We’re not in summer yet and the nights can have a nip, so Alsace Pinot Gris, with pear, citrus, white flower, and smoke notes, and a medium body will be a versatile sipper. It goes so well with onion tartlets, mushroom quiche, and chicken in herbal and citrus preparations!

The bonus wine: Yup, I’m doing it. Pinot Grigio. No, not the alcoholic lemon water! The good stuff from Trentino Alto-Adige. If you get a case, try the Pinot Gris and the Pinot Grigio together to see the similarities and differences. Pinot Grigio will be nuttier with higher acidity and more lemon notes, but the similarity will be far greater between these two wines than if you get a cheapy from the bottom shelf of the grocery!

 

  1. Rosé. Here’s the one on everyone’s list, but rightfully so. Fresh rosé is released in the springtime and there is nothing better than newly released rosé. Provence is the standard – especially from sub regions like Sainte-Victoire, Frejus, and La Londe. We forgot to mention Tavel and Bandol in the show, which are always homeruns. Rosé is versatile in pairing – fried foods, grilled salmon, strawberry salads with goat cheese, and pasta with pesto (pistou as it’s known in Provence) are some options.

Bonus wines: Other styles of rosé, especially California with its sun kissed styles from Pinot Noir or Spanish rosé from Tempranillo, Garnacha, or Monastrell are outstanding and great for a contrast against the lighter Provence style. Italian rosato can be wonderful as well and is made in most regions from their local grapes.

 

  1. The last one was really “Sophie’s Choice” for me. I couldn’t decide between Malbec and Torrontés from high elevation Salta in Argentina or Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from cool climate Casablanca from Chile. Ultimately the floral, peachy yet acidic and slightly bitter Torrontés from Cafayate/Salta and its intense, yet elegant counterpart Malbec from the same region seemed to be best for us. M.C. Ice astutely pointed out that for people living in hotter areas where spring becomes summer-like quickly, the high acidity and refreshing lighter notes in the Chilean wines were the winners. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

 

Happy Spring! We hope you drink well, and that this list gives you at least one new idea to try as the days heat up slowly over the next few months.

 

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