White wine can be a tough thing to get right. There is an ocean of uninteresting, inexpensive white that is boring to drink, adds little to a meal and can only be positively described as unobjectionable. There is also a good deal of white at the low end that is just plain bad. So, I get excited when I find an inexpensive white that goes when with a wide range of foods and has enough complexity to stand on its own. Right now, those qualities have made the Wimmer 2016 Gruner Veltliner basically our house white for the winter.
This Austrian Gruner has a light yellow hue and a subtle nose that hints at flavors of lemon, orange, and pear with just hint of herbs. It is crisp and refreshing with good minerality, a hint of candied lemon and tropical fruits on the palate that is much more subtle than what you typically get from New World-style Sauvignon Blancs. The finish is bright and clean, leaving only a pleasant lingering of acidity behind.
We had this one with Scallops and artichoke and chickpea tagine one night and with Greek-style roast chicken breast and veggies with yogurt sauce and it complimented the buttery seafood and the herbed chicken equally well. It runs under $15 for a 1000 ml bottle, so it a perfect wine to toss in the fridge for whenever you need a solid white.
55/80- A utility player that can hold its place in the lineup and bring a little pop.
I do not truck with those who would disparage men for drinking pink wine. Look, we aren’t talking about strawberry frozen margaritas here or some drink inspired by a character from Sex and the City. This is wine, and wine is good. Color be damned.
If you are one of the timid men out there, dodging roses for fear of its supposed emasculating effects, searching for your courage, or just someone with a taste for something not quite white and not quite red, I would suggest Chateau Cornut’s 2016 Rose from the Costieres De Nimes region of France’s Rhone Valley. This wine is made from eighty percent Grenache and twenty percent Syrah and over-delivers at around $16 a bottle.
On the nose, I got aromas of strawberries, cranberries, roses and a bit chalkiness or limestone. The tart fruits come through strong on first sip with a bit of nectarine joining the more astringent berries. There is also a salinity to the wine and strong backbone of acidity that make for a complex wine that defies simplistic explanations.
That complexity also may make this a tough wine to pair with food. We had a typical cheese spread accompanying one tasting of this wine and nothing quite worked with it. Fattier fishes such as salmon or cod would would seem to be a match but not every preparation is going work with the tart cranberry and subtle musk in this rose. It did a nice job cutting the sweetness of some strawberry-blueberry jam we had in the mix but it would be a strange choice with dessert. I preferred this just on its own as a refreshing and still interesting summer wine.
55/80, a solid role player with too many limitations to be an impact player with most meals.