Now that the kids are back in school, many of us are back to the grind. So when you stop in our stores and have a grocery list a mile long, we don’t want the wine department to be overwhelming or stressful. I have broken down wines by their flavor profiles to make it easier to choose the right wine for you!
Crisp and Dry
Crisp, dry whites have overriding notes of citrus, with hints of tree and stone fruits. The finish has high acidity, making it refreshing and cleansing.
Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino, Gruner Veltliner, Verdejo and unoaked Chardonnay
Pairings: Crab; shrimp; salads; light, vegetable-driven chicken dishes
My Picks: Haut Pitou Sauvignon Blanc, Chamisal Chardonnay, La Cana Albarino
Light and Fruity
With light, fruity whites, stone fruits take center stage while melon and citrus are the supporting cast. Acidity levels are moderate to high, making these whites crowd pleasers.
Torrentes, Dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio or Gris, Moscato, Viogner
Pairings: Sushi, highly spiced Asian cuisine, salmon, cream-based dishes, such as pasta alfredo or chilled cucumber soup
My Picks: Giocato Pinot Grigio, , Cline Viognier, Ryan Patrick Riesling
Stone fruits are the dominate flavors in light, fruity reds, yet instead of apricot and peach, now we’re talking Bing cherry and red plum with other red fruits like pomegranate and raspberry also present.
Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese
Pairings: Cioppino, light red sauces, vegetarian dishes, salmon, pasta
My Picks: Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti, Cono Sur Pinot Noir, Terra Del Sole Sangiovese
Soft and Rich
Soft, rich white wines are highly textured with a creamy or silky mouth-feel and opulent aromas. In the case of Chardonnay, the overriding flavors are butter, lemon curd, and oak while Rieslings are dried apricots, honey, and cooked tropical fruits. The acidity is often low to moderate.
Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Riesling
Pairings: Scallops, lobster, Asian Cuisine, Middle Eastern Cuisine, roast poultry, pork
My Picks: Waugh Cellars Chardonnay, Domaine de Vaufuget Vouvray (Chenin Blanc), Monchhof Riesling Spatlese
Lush red, blue and black berries with baking spice flavors are found on these approachable low-tannin reds.
Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec
Pairings: Pork, barbeque, lamb, duck, hamburgers
My Picks: Pedroncelli Merlot, Zuccardi Malbec, Shotfire Shiraz
Big and Bold
Concentrated and dry, with both big, intense black fruits and bold, complex non-fruit flavors like licorice, cedar, and earth, these wines are not for the faint of heart. Chianti Classico Riserva, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Petite Sirah
Pairings: Steak, hearty stews, Bolognese, lamb
My Picks: Tomaiolo Chianti Classico Riserva, Smith and Hook Cabernet Sauvignon, Veglio Barolo
Next time you’re looking for a terrific bottle and are not sure what to pick, use my guide to aid your search! Happy hunting!
– Jennifer Laurie