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Wine Review: Warm-weather wines hit store shelves

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With the coming of warmer weather, the trend in wines is to swing away from the dark heavier reds of the colder seasons in favor of light and bright warm-weather wines.

The dark reds are being pushed to the back of the dealers’ shelves and are being replaced by white and rose wines. Honoring this dramatic change in both weather and wine preferences, I would like to introduce the reader to some wines that befit the upcoming season.

Terlato 2017 Friuli Pinot Grigio ($20)
This wine originates in Friuli, the heart of the pinot grigio growing region, which is at the foot of the Alps and is about as far north as one can go and still remain in Italy. The pinot grigio grapes from this region are blessed with irrigation from the mineral-ladened rainwater running down the mountains. This water gives the grapes their signature mineral background. The Terlato 2017 Friuli Pinot Grigio is alive with the aromas of pear, melon, flowers, cinnamon and nutmeg. These aromas carry over to the flavor and then on to the mineral and fruit finish. If you are someone who enjoys a pinot grigio and has never has one from Friuli, you are in for a pleasant surprise.

Raeburn 2016 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($20)
When I write about wines for warmer seasons, it would be almost blasphemous not to include a chardonnay. In this case, I have found two that are truly worth your attention. Raeburn’s chardonnay is a very representative example of the grape when grown in the Russian River Valley. An attractive nose of peach, pear and green apple mingle with notes of toasted oak, vanilla and lemon custard on the palate. This wine is a fine escape from the ordinary.

Four Vines Edna Valley “The Form” 2017 Chardonnay ($18)
This wine is a perfect introduction to a chardonnay made from grapes grown in the Edna Valley. The region closely emulates the weather patterns of the grape’s ancestral home of Burgundy in France. All of the factors that make for a fine chardonnay can be found in this wine. The fresh aromas of mango and lemon zest lead to the similarly lush flavors of apricots and baked apple, with plenty of zippy acidity to frame and compliment the fruit.

Vin Gris de Cigare 2018 ($24)
The label on this wine displays a calm and sedate classical pastoral scene. There is just one small difference, in the upper left hand corner; just above the trees, is “le cigare,” the French term for a flying saucer. The label is interesting, but the wine is even better. The wine opens with a pleasant cherry/berry aroma, leading to a flavor of cherry, strawberry, watermelon, apple and tea before a powerful finish. Here is a wine that can accompany almost anything, from salads to sushi.

Oak Grove Viognier Reserve ($14)
One of the rarest wine grapes of them all, viognier produces a beautiful perfumed white wine that almost defies description. It is best to drink this wine while it is young. The aroma reminds one of blooming honeysuckle. The flavor, too, is floral, with accents of apricot, peaches and raisins. The flowers and fruit continue into the finish, which is moderately long and interesting. This is a great aperitif wine, as it is bound to stir up conversation.

Callaway Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc ($14)
The signature fruit flavors really stand out in this offering from Callaway. This wine adds new interest to a variety that has become somewhat humdrum in recent years. The traditional flavors and aromas of citrus and grass, with a hint of melon, abound in this wine and are very obvious. They result in an attractive and interesting wine that is the perfect accompaniment for seafood. If you have lost interest in sauvignon blanc in recent years, try the Callaway Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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