Whenever Spring goes a-sprunging I can’t help but to think of my 10th grade English teacher, the indefatigable Mrs. Coombs. Nothing but a big lovebug at the end of the day, the woman was constantly trying to convince us that she was a crusty old curmudgeon by saying things like, “I hate the Spring. All of my students fall in love in the springtime and it’s impossible to get anyone to pay attention to anything.” Of course, it couldn’t have helped her case that she also tried to get a bunch of 16-year-olds to read all 700 pages of Richard III (or whichever one the humpback was) at about the same time.
Anyways, now that lots of green things have finally started bursting forth from tree branches (leaves, if I recall correctly?) and the tulips are blooming, I have to admit I find myself feeling more than a little flirtatious. I’ve stashed my winter coat in the furthest corner of my tiny closet
never to be seen or worn again and hung six or seven dresses (yeah, it’s that puffy) and – dare I let my optimism overtake me – a pair of shorts in its place.
So while I may not be flirting with boys (save for one peculiar specimen who likes to dress up in tuxedos, owns a blue fuzzy puppet, and has a propensity for wearing bathing suits to work), I’ve most certainly been flirting with white wines. Usually I’m a pretty stubborn red wine drinker – there’s something about white wine that can just seem too girly for me. But come those first few weeks of springtime, when all I want to do is pick flowers and dance around like a Disney princess, absconding with cartoon bluebirds and wearing heels
for no reason on a Sunday, it seems like white wine is perfectly appropriate.
Fresh, zippy, floral and bright are the notes that set my heart all a flutter of late. Though there was that day last week when it was out-of-the-blue 85 degrees and humid and I walked into a Best Cellars and told the guy I wanted a wine that tasted like I was “licking granite”. The phrase, “I want stones in my mouth” may also have been uttered but we’re looking through the tapes to make sure on that one.
Below you’ll find a list of the wine’s I’m currently flirting with, though who knows what love affair could blossom by next week?
Val d’Aosta: A tiny region in northern Italy (north of Piedmont) that is close to the Swiss border, this is a high-altitude growing region. The wines that come out of Val d’Aosta express their terroir with delicate flavors and often bracing acidity. The whites that come out of this region are crisp and floral and taste like melting snow.
Chenin Blanc (Vouvrey): A slick of granite on the tongue, this is just the kind of wine you want on a hot day. It can be sweet and juicy on the finish, but never loses its minerally tang.
Albarino: This is a super super light white wine from Spain. It’s got a tell-tale nose of peaches and apricots, but gives way to a wine that is shimmering and, dare I say, ephemeral.
Godello: A Spanish white varietal grown in the same region (Galicia) as Albarino yet much less known and harder to find. It’s got the same lightness to it but softly zings with flavors of lemon and wildflowers.
Gruner Veltliner: Gruner is one of those wines that comes in a few different styles. I like mine dry with a richly perfumed nose of roses, floral notes, and exotic tropicals like lychee and passion fruit.
PS. On a side note, Matthew Kaner, owner of one of my favorite LA wine bars, (Covell in Silverlake), winemaker, musician and all around renaissance-man has an album coming out in July with his band, Liquid Love Letter. You can stream some tracks here. I suggest pairing the tracks with a bottle of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir – not only is SB Kaner’s hometown, but these delicious wines echo the softspoken sumptiousness of LLL’s tunage.