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WINE: Summer White Wines You’ve Never Heard Of

This guest post is from Jim Laughren: wine collector, former president of a Florida-based wine import and distribution company and founder of WineHead Consulting. A Certified Wine Educator, Jim has conducted hundreds of teachings, tastings and training sessions, and has visited wine regions throughout the world. He is the author of A Beer Drinker’s Guide to Knowing And Enjoying Fine Wine. He recommends three exciting white wines you’ve probably never heard of.

As a kid in New England, growing up within earshot of chilly North Atlantic waves crashing onto the rocky shoreline, “summer whites” referred to lightweight, summer uniforms donned by the swabbies at nearby Newport Naval Base. While I’m sure the sailors were glad to trade in their peacoats and winter woolens for something a bit more comfortable, many modern day sailors—of the culinary variety—have grown tired of their summer whites and would love to find some delicious new wines for onboard entertaining.

Whether grilling in the backyard, welcoming friends to the summertime table or lounging next to the pool. If you’re still reeling from the ABC syndrome (anything but Chardonnay), and have had your fill of not-too-exciting Pinot Grigios, take heart. There are some wonderful white wines out there just waiting to be discovered.

 

Txakoli, pronounced cha-ko-LEE, from Spain’s Basque region. Photo © Jose Ortuza.

 
Today’s recommendations are delicious, affordable and uniformly hard to pronounce. Pronunciation keys are provided, of course, so you can inquire with confidence at the wine store.

Txakoli

The Basque country of northern Spain us one of the world’s centers of great cuisine. When a light white is needed, the locals call for Txakoli. Ppronounced cha-ko-LEE, it’s a lively, light-to-medium bodied wine with a slight effervescence.

Typically pale straw in color with dramatic, mouth-watering acidity, expect to find honey, citrus and stone fruit notes that go beautifully with light, simply prepared seafood. It’s the answer to the question of what wine is perfect with grilled octopus.

If the wine’s name isn’t enough to give you pause, consider that it’s made from the grape variety Hondarrabi Zuri (onda-RAH-bee THOR-ry, with a rolled “r” on rabi).

 


Edelzwicker, meaning “noble blend.” Photo
courtesy Domaine Mauler | France.
  Edelzwicker

Edelzwicker (AY-del-ZVEE-kur) is next in our lineup of who-named-these wines. The name means “noble blend.”

Edelzwicker is a scrumptious, fuller bodied white that easily handles foods like smoked salmon, light pork and veal dishes. Higher in alcohol than Txakolis, these wines hail from Alsace, that northeast corner of France that’s been a ping-pong ball of territory batted back and forth between Germany and France since the Romans first established the region as a viticultural outpost around 50 B.C.E.

Edelzwickers are a free-form blend of any or all of the best Alsatian varieties, including Riesling, Muscat, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Auxerrois and/or Sylvaner. Despite the lack of uniformity in composition, these wines are usually a lovely yellow color with open, fruity aromas. A similar, and more easily pronounced, wine, called Gentil, hails from the same region and is nearly indistinguishable.

 
Moschofilero

It may sound more Italian than Greek, but Moschofilero (moss-ko-FEE-leh-roe) hails from the highlands of the central Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. This rather marvelous white wine is vying to become my new, new favorite.

Moschofilero, a pink-skinned grape descended from the ancient Filero grape family, produces wine that is light in color and known for its effusive aromas of roses and violets, followed by some nicely textured, spicy fruit flavors. This wine has presence; in fact, it’s hard not to be impressed with this particular wine, regardless of the wine styles you’re normally drawn to.

There you have it: three unique wines, three excellent summer sipping options. While you may have trouble getting all the syllables in order, you shouldn’t have any problem finding them at most good wine shops.

Let your retailer know you want the best examples of these wines. After all, life is short; why drink anything less than excellent? Txakoli, Edelzwicker and Moschofilero are able, exotic and ready for deployment as your new summer whites. Do your palate a favor and welcome them aboard.

  




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