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Wine Review: Retreat from the heat

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It’s hot, and wine producers, rising to the situation, are concentrating on refreshing white wines.

I do not want to insinuate that the producers were caught off guard by the earlier than usual heat wave, but the bottling of red wine has come to a grinding halt in favor of getting white wines into the marketplace.

White wines most often do not require the longer aging required by the reds and since the vintage year proved to be good, there are some fine wines arriving daily. As a side note, the red wines, when they are finally bottled, should be a bit better than average due to longer time in aging barrels.

Columbia Winery 2016 Chardonnay ($14)
This is not just another chardonnay; this is a chardonnay from Washington state. The climate and soil of Washington adds its own individual nuances to a wine, which is most clearly borne out by this offering from Columbia Winery. This is a comfortable wine that combines all of the elements of a fine chardonnay into a mellow, soft, flavorful and easy-to-drink hot weather beverage. The aroma is alive with the scents of pears, apples and vanilla with a hint of roasted nuts in the background. The flavor is bright, fruity and crisp, accenting green apples and pears. The finish is soft and possesses a toast-like element. This is worth far more than its modest $14 price tag.

Whitehaven Marlborough 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ($20)
Marlborough, on the northeastern coast of New Zealand's southern island, is the home of what is considered to be the world's finest sauvignon blanc wines. The Whitehaven Marlborough 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is leading the way. While this wine continues to maintain the crisp acidity that the variety is famous for, the winemakers also have enhanced the fruit-flavor possibilities of the grape. Citrus, grapefruit, melon and gooseberry aromas and flavors abound in this wine, and the dominant flavor changes with each sip. This wine displays a regal bearing and reinforces the confidence and pride the Whitehaven winemakers have in the variety.

Edna Valley Vineyard 2017 Central Coast Pinot Grigio ($15)
There can be no question that pinot grigio is one of the most popular items to come out of Italy since pizza. This wine displays a crystal clear, pale straw color and an aroma that is reminiscent of summer wild flowers and fresh bosc pears. On the palate, the wine is almost totally dry, but the fruit flavors give the impression of sweetness. The Edna Valley Vineyard 2017 Central Coast Pinot Grigio also displays a moderately long and flavorful finish. This wine can accompany a wide variety of foods, but it is a standout with seafood dishes. While this pinot grigio is a very Italian in style, please do not relegate it specifically to Italian foods.

J Vineyards & Winery 2017 Pinot Gris ($20)
The main difference between pinot grigio and pinot gris is the latter has a heavier body and displays its fruit more boldly that does its twin brother. This offering comes from one of California’s premier wine producers, J Vineyards, and shares the quality that winery has become famous for. The aroma features citrus and honeysuckle, while the flavor is laced with the sensation of pear and melon that carries over to a long finish, The amazing thing about this wine is that it seems sweet but it is actually dry. If you enjoy pinot grigio but have never tried a pinot gris, I recommend that you start here.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at


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