Spring has sprung: Wines reviews to get you drinking

white wine on the patio Spring has sprung. The newly back-from-vacation birds are chirping… the honeybees are busy, and all the animals are horny. Makes me want a drink… or a cigarette, but I don’t smoke. Then, naturally, my mind turns to wine, my favorite beverage. This time of year, as warmth slowly creeps back into the days, I can’t help but shun the heavy reds and pair the weather with something a little more refreshing… mostly rich whites.  This year, with an even wider selection of cool sounding, oddball grapes out there, my list spans the globe.

Tabali 2009 Viognier Reserva Mendoza (Argentina) Can’t say I’ve tasted many viogniers from Argentina –a fragrant white grape called torrontes usually steals the show. Some viogners come on strong and then leave in a huff. Not this one. Rich and very floral, bright peach, honeysuckle, and nicely tart acidity that rounds out the sip. Finishes with a tinge of sweetness.
Sweetness = 2 out of 10
Retail price: $15- $17
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Occasion: Tasted with a sales rep for a wholesaler. I was impressed with the quality/price ratio.

Champalou 2008 Vouvray Loire Valley (France) Absolutely breathtaking French chenin blanc. As with many Vouvrays, it reveals a hint of sweetness but has stony minerality, freshness and acidity to combat any unctuousness. Shows juicy pineapple and peaches a lemon-lime finish. Clean and luscious.
Sweetness: 2 out of 10
Retail price: $17-$19
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Occasion: Tried this blind-bagged with my professionals wine group. A wine buyer brought it…we all swooned.

Paco and Lola 2008 Albariño Rias Baixas (Spain) An under-rated Spanish grape the People are slowly warming up to. Although many are super crisp and light, this Albariño is rich, elegant, and full-bodied with soft acidity. It’s slightly sweet with ripe pear, apricot green apple and green herbs. Finishes with a tart, lemony zing.  Dangerously easy to drink.
Sweetness: 2 out of 10
Retail price: $17-$20
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Occasion: Had this out at a wine bar about two years ago for the first time and the winery sent me a sample (they’re owned by Kendall Jackson Wine Estates).

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