Put down the Chardonnay.
Yes, I’m talking to you.
Come on, put it down. Move down the aisle. It will be alright. You can do this.
You are sadly missing out on other wines out there. I’m not telling you anything new. You’ve known this for a while, but up until now you have refused to let go of your precious Chardonnay.
It’s time to break out of the mold that holds you so tightly. Join the new generation of wine drinkers who have been taking pleasure in discovering great, affordable, alternative white wines with great personalities.
Let’s face it, summertime is quickly approaching and it’s time to meander down a road less traveled. The easiest way to achieve this is by trying a great off-beat white wine.
The Chardonnay will always be there. Don’t be afraid.
I’ll admit, I held on to my bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon as if they were the last ones on earth.
When I finally realized life was too short to be stuck in a wine rut, I slowly and uneventfully put the bottles down (one at a time) and branched out to other unconventional choices.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing will replace my Cabernet, but since variety is the spice of life, I was willing to open my palate to the other great choices available.
There are so many white wines available to consumers other than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It would be impossible to try them all. But venturing out of the box to try a few of them would be fun. What’s the worst that can happen? You won’t like one? I’m sure there are a ton of Chardonnays you try and don’t like. Stop procrastinating.
The processing of these white wines is what makes them stand out. Stainless steel fermentation at cool temperatures, not allowing a secondary malolactic fermentation and never seeing the inside of a barrel keep them vibrant. Using these techniques, winemakers are able to preserve freshness and lively acidity bottling pure varietal character. What could be better than that?
Broadbent Vinho Verde, Portugal $10
Here is your first mission. It’s not hard. This wine is widely distributed.
Never heard of it? This is a classic Portuguese wine known as Vinho Verde. The “verde” does not refer to the wine being green in color but to drink it while it’s “young”. It is non-vintage and is to be consumed soon after bottling even though it is a highly acidic wine.
The Vinho Verde appellation of Portugal is a very large area but sits in a very densely populated part of the region. The confined surroundings led to the grapes for Vinho Verde being grown high (13 ft/ 4 m) above the ground on pergolas while other crops were cultivated underneath, making the best use of the limited space available. I like that.
However, I’m sure many of the larger producers in the area have now changed over to more conventional vine systems so mechanical harvesting can be put into place.
The grapes making up this Vinho Verde blend are Loureiro (50%), Trajadura (40%) and Pederna (10%), all traditional varietals of the area.
This wine is refreshing and light (only 9% alcohol) making it perfect to enjoy with appetizers, at lunch or with a weeknight meal. Its delicate nature will not overwhelm you or your food.
The wine’s slightly sparkling character is stylistically proper for Vinho Verde. This is achieved by suppressing malolactic fermentation and injecting carbon dioxide before bottling.
On the nose you will find floral scents and zesty citrus characters. On the palate the wine is vibrant but not sweet. It does not turn your mouth inside out as you approach its refreshing finish.
This is one of the only Vinho Verde wines imported using a refrigerated container for shipping. This makes the wine cost about a dollar more per bottle due to transportation costs but is well worth it. Fluctuations in temperature is one of wine’s certain deaths caused by variable oxygen transfer rates through the closure.
I don’t think you can go wrong with this bottle. All bases are covered.
If that is still not enough, buy it at least for the label. I believe the owner’s young niece painted the picture.
What did you have to drink last night? I won’t go ballistic if it was Chardonnay.