Spring does not just mean lighter clothes, but it’s also time for different fare and of course the start of the outdoor grilling season. This also means leaving the heavier wines of winter behind. The following four wine varietals lend themselves especially well to pairings with spring foods.
The most desirable viognier wines hail from a tiny region in Rhone called Condrieu. Wine connoisseurs should look for products from Yves Cuilleron or E. Guigal. Less expensive varieties come from California. Popular sources for Californian viognier include estates like Alban Vineyards and Cold Heaven.
This aromatic white varietal is best when enjoyed within a couple of years after release, regardless of where it was cultivated. Viognier has a rose-like aroma that thrives in spring temperatures and exhibits notes of fig, tangerine and anise. Its fruit, crisp flavor pairs especially well with ginger, curry and coconut flavored dishes like those found in Indian or Thai cuisine. This wine also works well with chilled seafood, roasted vegetables or soft fish.
What sets Pinot gris apart from other white wines is the blue-gray tinge of the grape that makes for a coppery yellow white varietal. Hence the name gris, which means gray in French. This smooth wine with pear and melon tones complements light pasta dishes, seafood and assorted cheeses especially well. Pinot gris has subtle aromas of peaches, almonds and a bit of minerals.
A good rose is the quintessential spring wine because it complements the lighter foods of the season nicely. Grenache rose makes an especially versatile choice because of its elegant texture, balanced acidity, crisp finish and beautiful brilliant color. Its enticing aroma encompasses peach, watermelon, apricot, strawberry and pomegranate.
This wine comprises flavors of grapefruit, tart cherry, peach and fresh citrus. Some of the best grenache rose wines come from the Abacela and Del Rio vineyards in Oregon. While this smooth wine complements just about any food, it works especially well with veal, grilled chicken, braised beef and pork.
Sangiovese makes a viable spring wine option for red wine lovers who won’t change to white or rose for the season. For an earthy, rich wine it is still surprisingly light and pairs well with mushroom dishes and tomato-laden pasta. Sangiovese is a good wine varietal for spring because it also complements chicken and steaks that come from the grill.
Italian sangiovese has herbal and cherry fruit scents and grows abundantly in Tuscany. These varieties work well for wine lovers who do not mind substantial tannins and bold acidity. Those who prefer fleshier fruit and lower acidity might prefer sangiovese from Australia or the United States.