Life is short, people! This summer, ditch your standard go-to chardonnay and immerse yourself in the enticing rainbow of interesting white wines flourishing in Paso Robles Wine Country and beyond. Nothing against chardonnays—they are popular for good reason—but friends don’t let friends get into a wine rut.
I’m also talking to you red wine sticklers: it’s time for a refreshing twist, so get out there and raise a straw-colored glass to the spice of life. Whether floral, buttery, earthy, toasty or crisp, these dynamic local whites are sure to reawaken your taste buds and get you thinking differently about the lighter side of the vine. Here’s a few you’ve just got to try before summer’s end:
A Pair of Dry, Beachy Rieslings: Cutruzzola Vineyards
This Cambria winery believes that you cannot truly enjoy the dark side without a touch of the light. At Cutruzzola Vineyards, Riesling is truly the yin to Pinot Noir’s yang—and each does an incredible job showcasing the winery’s cool climate vineyards and limestone soils.
“The flavor profiles and aromatics really distinguish wines grown in one site rather than another,” said Cutruzzola co-owner Francis Cutruzzola. “Our Rieslings showcase a spectrum of fruit that ranges from lime into lemon, with some years developing bit of orange.”
Although the word “Riesling” may conjure up “sweet” at first thought, these whites are anything but cloying. The winery’s 2011 vintage is a fresh, balanced dry Riesling bursting with lime, melon, and green apple goodness. The 2012 is a vibrant, off-dry explosion of orange blossom delight. The best part? Both of these fabulous white wines are waiting for you at the winery’s bright tasting room, nestled in Cambria’s quaint epicenter. Pack a picnic lunch and a cool pair of shades. Now you’ve got yourself a local’s only weekend escape made for beachy summer dreaming.
A Chenin Blanc with a touch of sweet: Lone Madrone
Sometimes you want just a swish of sweet on the tongue. Next time you’re craving a romantic, sexy alternative to your average white, get your rump over to Lone Madrone Winery’s leafy, serene tasting room off Adelaida Road. Definitely taste through the whole lineup of delicious reds and whites, but be sure to take special time with their 2010 Chenin Blanc Demi-Sec, a golden straw-hued showstopper that boasts pear, apple, and apricot on the nose.
On the mouth, you’ll experience stunning acidity that tickles the tongue and flirts with your senses. It’s that perfect sweet, but not “too sweet” wine (and a smashing accompaniment to spicy Thai take-out). Sitting in Lone Madrone’s barn-turned-tasting room with this delightful concoction in hand—or better yet, lounging on one of their two dreamy patios—you’ll wonder if life could get any sweeter.
A Fruity, Fun Rhône blend: Oso Libre
When drinking a white wine, it’s good to look for color, mouth feel, and bouquet. But are you also looking for integrity? How about sustainable vineyard practices? The folks at Paso Robles-based Oso Libre Winery make a point of ensuring that all visitors to their tasting room are versed in everything from the fruit’s extended hang time to their prized calcareous soils and green farming rituals.
“Our philosophy as winemakers is to allow the natural process of winemaking to prevail; focusing on minimal manipulation of the wines to allow the unique characteristics of the fruit to shine through,” said Oso Libre Co Owner Chris Behr. “Limited production affords us the luxury to closely manage our lots for quality and consistency, producing delicious and memorable wines.”
Of those fine wines you’ll find big, complex mourvedre, zinfandel, & Cabernet Sauvignon alongside an equally impressive stable of juicy Rhônes. A great example: the winery’s sumptuous 2012 Volado, a mix of viognier, roussanne, & marsanne. Awarded 90 points by Wine Enthusiast, this bottle is all mango, papaya, and passion fruit. Aged in stainless steel for eight months, this hot weather sipper finishes crisp with a playful tartness & whiff of vanilla. Summer barbecues, here we come!
This blog post was written by Hayley Thomas, food and wine writer for SLO New Times & PasoRoblesWineries.net. She can be reached at [email protected]
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