By Alison Bailin Batz
Spring has sprung – and so have Arizona’s vines. We sipped and sampled our way around the state to unearth some of its most interesting white wine varietals.
If you like classic chardonnay, try …
Page Springs Cellars 2015 Colibri Roussanne, $26
Many people direct “oaked” (aka more traditional) chardonnay sippers to sample Arizona viogniers, but these roussanne grapes, which grow in the shadow of the mighty Chiricahua Mountains of Southern Arizona, are silky and rich with hints of clean springtime flavors like apricot, lemon and peach. Like a chardonnay, there is a creamy feel to the wine, but the dry finish makes it a little lighter and airier.
If you like unoaked chardonnay, try …
Coronado Vineyards 2016 Dry Riesling, $16
In recent years, unoaked chardonnay – which is aged in stainless steel versus oak barrels for a less buttery result – has become all the rage. This riesling is similarly aged in stainless steel, resulting in a lemony yellow color with hints of apricot, apple and honeydew. Its subtle sweetness doesn’t overpower, making it more akin to an unoaked chardonnay than a traditional, sweet German riesling.
If you like pinot grigio, try …
Kief-Joshua 2015 Chenin Blanc, $25
Light, bright and a bit fruity, this delightful alternative to pinot grigio always turns heads. It has a medium acidity, ideal for white wine lovers who aren’t quite ready for the full crispness of a sauvignon blanc, yet want a little more zest than a basic pinot.
If you like sauvignon blanc, try …
Pillsbury Wine Company 2016 Chardonnay, $24
This wine, which earned a Gold Medal from the San Francisco Chronicle, is aged for six months in neutral oak, so, like the dry riesling, it isn’t buttery. Instead, there are clear notes of florals, shortbread and all sorts of citrus, a favorite for sauvignon blanc lovers. Also like sauvignon blanc – and spring itself – it’s crisp, clean and loves to be chilled.
If you like a white blend, try …
Bodega Pierce 2016 Pandora, $18
This blend features the award-winning winemaker’s estate pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and Malvasia Bianca in every delightful sip. Together, these grapes combine to give the drinker the sweet crispness of a pear and floral notes of both lilies and dreamy hibiscus.
If you like sparkling white wine, try ...
Aridus 2016 Sparkling Malvasia, $47.25
This particular effervescent sparkling wine features intense aromas of peach, tangerine and honeysuckle. The palate is predominantly citrusy – especially with orange blossom – and has a lingering floral finish. There are also some surprising notes on the second and third sips of ginger and spice.