Springtime -- it's the time of year I love most. During the winter months, I tend to drink exclusively big, full-bodied wines such as cabernet sauvignon, syrah or French Bordeaux. But when I start to see more sunshine, and things begin to bloom, so does my wine palate.
My greatest joy in the wine business is to encourage people to experiment with new and different wines. Let's face it, how much cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay can one drink?
The following wines are exciting, enjoyable and different than most, and consider them when you're in the mood to experiment. Cheers to these six interesting sips.
2012 Butterfly Kiss Moscato
This wine is lovely and bright, and the Moscato dances with aromas of honeydew and apricot along with hints of orange blossom and candied pineapple. The palate is silky and lush, combining rich stone fruit and fresh melon flavors. Serve it chilled on a nice spring day, paired with spicy Asian foods or grilled prawns. ($8.99)
2011 Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato
This wine hails from Victoria, Australia, and is considered by many to be the finest moscato from Down Under. Pale cherry pink in color, the wine is intensely scented of fresh grape juice, crushed cherries and red blossoms. It's also slightly sparkling, sweet, light-bodied and has low alcohol, at only 5.5 percent. You'll be surprised by its refreshing acidity and enjoy the long, fruity finish. Seriously, you can't help but like this wine. Normally, I will turn up my nose to a pink wine, but this one is a surefire winner. Do yourself a favor, surround yourself with friends and family that you enjoy, and open a bottle of Innocent Bystander. ($14.99)
2011 Marc Bredif Vouvray
Another favorite of mine is the 2011 Marc Bredif Vouvray. What is Vouvray? In America, we call it Chenin blanc. Vouvray has a range of flavors from bone dry to late-harvest concentrated sweet. This wine is grown on the lower slopes of the Loire Valley in the village of Vouvray, France. If it is white and it comes from Vouvray, then it is Chenin blanc. French wine labels will not declare the varietal on the label because the government dictates what varietal you can grow in each region. This is unlike American winegrowing, where if you own land you can grow what you want. The depth of experience in winemaking in France means they know what grows best in a given area, and they mandate what is planted.
The vineyards have soils of mainly chalk, clay and some flinty clay. This wine's soil imparts an intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince. The Marc Bredif Vouvray is an ideal match with baked ham, white fish or sushi. ($18.99)
2011 Jenner Pinot Noir
Last up is my favorite varietal, pinot noir. My suggestion is the 2011 Jenner Pinot Noir, crafted from luscious fruit grown in the cooler regions of the Sonoma Coast appellation. Sonoma Coast, in my opinion, is the finest place to grow pinot noir. This wine is loaded with aromas and flavors of Bing cherries, red licorice and plums, which complements roasted duck or salmon very well. And again, it's a wine that is balanced by its bold acidity (key word, acidity ). This is my house wine; that should tell you something. ($18.99)
-- David Dobbs is the owner of Imbibe Wine & Spirits Merchant, 4140 Truxtun Ave. If you have any questions about wine or if you're looking for a particular bottle, Dobbs is the person to call at 633-WINE (9463). Also, visit the store's website at imbibewine.com.
2011 Argyle Riesling from Oregon
The 2011 Argyle Riesling from Oregon is a very special wine. This is one of the few domestic rieslings that I would recommend. This is not your grandmother's riesling. One of the noblest grapes is riesling, and it is so versatile. I describe this wine as "youth in a glass." It is light on its feet and smells of spring with lime blossoms, white lilacs and just a hint of lychee on the nose. This wine finishes medium-dry with some minerality reminiscent of wet stones. Argyle has made its name by producing outstanding sparkling wines and pinot noir. This wine is limited and worth the search. The Argyle Riesling is great with roasted pork, Mexican seafood dishes or goat cheese. ($18.99)
2010 Dustan Chardonnay from Sonoma
All lists should include a chardonnay, as long as it is not another ho-hum, over-oaked offering. Have I found one for you! The 2010 Dustan Chardonnay from Sonoma comes from the famed Durrell Vineyard, which was first planted in the late '70s for chardonnay. In 1998, Ellie Phipps Price purchased the vineyard and started replanting it. This bottling is from the new vines. Freshness and drinkability merge with Durrell longevity. It features expressive aromas of white flowers and Meyer lemon with notes of toasted almonds and vanilla. Full bodied flavors of mango, lemon curd and spiced pear with bright acidity give this wine a long finish. The options to pair this chardonnay with are endless, but I suggest any type of white meat like chicken or turkey. With fewer than 400 cases produced in the world, it's worth looking for. ($29.99)