Take the White Wine Challenge

Breggo Gewürztraminer
This is a look at a Gewürztraminer grape cluster. Beautiful!

Are you in a white-wine rut, drinking only Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc? Here is an idea for the next few weeks: Take the White Wine Challenge. What this means is shifting from your “Go-To” wines to other white wines. Why? Because you are missing out on an entire level of white wine enjoyment. Take the white wine challenge and try a few of these exciting white wine varieties. Any of these wines are also a good choice for Thanksgiving.

White Wines to Try

image of J Pinot Gris
J Vineyard – Pinot Gris California

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

The Italians call it Pinot Grigio, and the French call it Pinot Gris. Currently, at Costco, we have a fantastic Pinot Grigio from the famous Alto Adige wine region of Italy, the Castelfeder Mas Més. The price is $9.99. It is fabulous. It is dry, light, and with lovely pear characteristics. Get it while it lasts at Costco. From J Vineyard is their California Pinot Gris. The Safeway usually carries the wine for around $13 to $14. It is also refreshing and a delightful change-of-pace. Another one we like is the Blue Quail Pinot Gris and the Joel Gott Pinot Gris, both at Mollie Stone’s for under $15.

Viognier

2017 Yalumba Viognier
2017 Yalumba Y Viognier

Viognier is a varietal from the Rhone Valley in France. Many domestic wineries grow and produce a Viognier. Viognier has a flowery characteristic. It is dry and refreshing. It is a great choice for lighter foods. One of the top-selling and top-rated Viognier wines is the Yalumba Y from Australia. Total Wines has it for $10. We also like the Cass Vineyards Viognier, now at Costco for $15.

Albariño

This Spanish varietal is one of our favorite white wines. Our last blind tasting was an Albariño tasting. Check our favorites of the tasting. All good wine shops and supermarket wine departments will carry Albariño. Albarino has some lemon and lime characteristics; it is dry and sometimes has a stony touch. Albariño is lovely with seafood. Try the Martin Codax Albariño at Cost Plus World Market for $14 at the four-pack price. Total Wines has the La Cana for $13, also an excellent choice.

Chenin Blanc

Dry Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is the main grape in the area of Vouvry in the Loire Valley of France. Chenin Blanc is predominant in the South African wine region. One from South Africa to try is currently at Costco. It is the Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc for $13. A favorite from California is the Dry Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc. BevMo carries it for $13. Another favorite is the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier. It is 80% Chenin Blanc. If you see a wine with Vouray on the label, try it and see how the French style their Chenin Blanc.

Riesling

German Riesling
Found at Weimax Wines in Burlingame

The French and Germans love Riesling. It can be dry to sweet. We like the dry variety for an aperitif or for a dinner wine. Riesling has complex floral notes and minerality. Some folks detect a diesel touch to Rieslings. The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York is famous for Rieslings, but they are difficult to find locally. Excellent Riesling wines come from Washington and California wineries. All good wine shops carry a good selection of Riesling wines from France and Germany. Ask for help when deciphering a German label. The Trimbach Riesling is also tasty, selling for $19 to $20.

We very much enjoy the Blue Quail Riesling from Potter Valley. The only problem is I can only find it in the Blue Quail tasting room for $18. Anyone out there who can recommend a dry and delicious Riesling from California, Oregon, or Washington for under $20?

Gewurztraminer

Trimbach Gerwurztraminer
Delicious and refreshing!

Lychee Nut is the defining character of Gewurztraminer. Gewurztraminer can be dry to sweet. We prefer the dry version. We love it with spicy food. A few years back, we visited the Alsace region of France and sampled plenty of Gewurztraminer wines. It is a beautiful and lovely floral wine. The Trimbach above can be found in many wine shops and stores for about $18. We also like the Blue Quail Gewurztraminer from Potter Valley in Mendocino County. Check Mollie Stone’s stores for the Blue Quail at around $15.

Tell us what you think

So now you have it, a list of white wines to try other than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. There are plenty of other varieties of white wine, but let’s start with these. Tell us what you think. If you discover some favorites, tell us about them.

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