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Open one of these light, bright white wines as spring sets in.
We're finally getting our first taste of weather warm enough to inspire kicking back with a glass of wine outside, after work. There are plenty of refreshing, affordable whites for such an activity, so below we bring you our quick guide to a few of the styles, regions and varieties you should look to for good value and flavor. Bring this list to the wine shop on your way home from work, and you're bound to find a bottle that pleases the palate and helps you step into spring.
If you like...
...Tropical and citrus fruit flavors, look for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand's Marlborough region. The 2010 wines are just arriving in the U.S., and they're superb. They pair perfectly with seafood, salads and anything containing goat cheese. Brands to try: Oyster Bay, Huia, Whitehaven, Villa Maria.
...Crisp, lemony--not buttery--Chardonnay, go for the French region Chablis. Most decent wine shops offer several choices for under $15. If you prefer just a touch of integrated oak flavor, check out Sequoia Grove Carneros 2009 ($19) from Napa. It's crisp, smoky and elegant.
...Lychees or other exotic fruits, try a Gewürztraminer. The wine is spicy and floral, so it's a perfect match for Asian cuisines. And there are plenty of Gewürztraminers from Alsace, Germany and Washington for under $12. Brands to try: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Willm, Zind-Humbrecht. Most producers in Alsace also make Pinot Blanc (one of our favorite grapes), which tastes like a dialed-back version of Chardonnay.
...Pinot Grigio, but you're bored with it lately, try one from Slovenia. Many Pinot Grigios from this country have a richer, fuller texture and flavor than what you find from Italy. Pullus 2009 ($14), which we tried recently, is even pink in color--like a rosé. It has beautifully ripe pear flavors and aromas, as a Pinot Grigio should.
...Intensely perfumey aromas or incense, odds are you'll like Torrontés, the signature white wine of Argentina. Torrentés is intensely aromatic, with floral and melon characters coming through in abundance, and a smooth, rich palate. Brands to try: Crios and Yellow+Blue, $10 (1L TetraPak).
What's your favorite white wine to sip outside after a long day? Tell us below.