White Wines All the Time!

Almost every day at The Wine House I get a customer saying they want to stock up on white wines because they keep running out of them. Their daily choice when reaching into their wine refrigerator tends to be whites, not reds, leaving the reds for either cooler weather or a more “serious” occasion.

I can so relate to this!

I got it into my head that my collection — modest as it is — should be filled with age-able, complex reds from around the world … Italian Barolos, Bordeaux blends, Napa cabs, and Spanish Riojas. All these wines sit there, waiting for some unknown special occasion in the distant future. But my white and rosé racks always seem to be bare.

Why is this?

Bottom line, I drink more whites and rosés than reds, and not just in the hot summer months. I live in Los Angeles, where cold weather is quite rare, but still, I tend to drink the paler wines even when the temperature dips below 60 degrees. They are what I crave at the end of a work or leisure day, and they tend to pair well with the food I like.

five whtie wine bottles on ice
Some of the white wines on display at Great Whites Fest Part Deux. Il Lugana (far left) was the hit of the Fest

With all this in mind, I hosted the first “Great Whites Fest” at the Wine House in August 2018, followed this past August by “Great Whites, Part Deux.” My intent was to help people explore the plethora of white grape varieties grown around the world, and also to show the wide variety of styles of more common International varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio.

Both festivals sold out and were a success based on the feedback I received and the after-event sales of the wines. There were crowd favorites, as well as “interesting” wines that people were willing to try, but not necessarily buy. Most wines were reasonable priced, that is, below $30, and often under $20.

Following are eight of the festival favorites:

Pasini Il Lugana

2018 Pasini San Giovanni Il Lugana, Lugana, Italy, $21.99

By far the best seller of the day was this wine from the Lugana area of Lombardy, Italy. This particular bottle is short and squat, which is bad for storing in wine refrigerators but appealing for its uniqueness … it just looks like fun wine to drink. And it is! This white wine is made from the little-known Turbiana grape, and has a roundness on the palate, offering a touch of honeysuckle, green apple, and white peach, but with bright acidity. This is a perfect summer sipper to drink on its own or with light summer fare.

2018 Domaine du Salvard "Unique" Sauvignon Blanc2018 Domaine du Salvard “Unique” Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, France, $12.99

This Sauvignon Blanc from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley is a thirst-quenching, food-pairing, fruit-forward wine with zingy acidity. It has a beautiful floral nose and citrus on the palate. This one should be bought by the case and is a perfect party wine.

2018 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre2018 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre, Loire Valley, France, $28.99

Hippolyte Reverdy’s family has been making wine in the Loire for generations. This Sauvignon Blanc from the Sancerre region is my go-to Sauvignon Blanc when I want to spend a tad more than usual — and it’s so worth it. This wine has a bit more heft to it than other Sancerres, with a lovely viscosity that coats the tongue but also a purity and freshness that makes it a perfect pairing with lighter foods such as grilled shellfish, salads, and light pasta dishes.

2017 Domaine Pinson Frères Chablis, France, $24.99

This well-priced AOC Chablis displays ‘typicity’ of Chablis, that is, a wine with oyster shell minerality due to the ancient seabed soils of this region, plus tropical and citrus fruit on the palate, with some grapefruit on the end. This lush yet linear wine pairs well with fish, of course, as well as lighter chicken and pork dishes. (Not pictured.)

2018 MAN Family Wines Free Run 'Steen' Chenin Blanc
2018 MAN Family Wines Free Run ‘Steen’ Chenin Blanc, South Africa, $8.99

This is not a complex wine, but it’s pleasant, easy drinking, and great value as one of those rare wines we sell that are under $10. This South African Chenin Blanc, known as ‘Steen’ there, has tart fruit flavors — apples, lime, plum — with weight and acidity to round it out. It sure goes down easy, and with the price, it would also be a great choice for a large gathering.

2017 Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne "Les Méchelots" Blan2017 Sylvain Pataille Bourgogne “Les Méchelots” Blanc, Burgundy, France, $31.99

Sylvain Pataille is a certified organic and biodynamic winery in the Marsannay region of Burgundy. Sylvain’s wines emphasize the soil in which they are grown, and show a great deal of minerality. The wines are aged in older oak barrels, so there’s just a hint of oak on this Chardonnay. This is a beautiful white Burgundy made with exquisite care at a very good price.

2017 Dafnios, Vidiano Crete2017 Dafnios, Vidiano Crete, Greece, $15.99

Vidiano was a near-extinct white grape that was revived by young winemakers in Greece, and this is a good example of the crisp, refreshing whites coming out of the Mediterranean islands. This wine has an elegance, offering citrus aromas and apricot and flowers on the palate, and a lingering finish. I’m really enthusiastic about the whites from Greece and encourage everyone to check them out.



2018 JLH Roussanne2018 JLH Roussanne, Santa Barbara, California, $29.99

This wine from actress Jennifer Love Hewitt and her husband Brian Hallisay is a fine example of the Rhone white variety Roussanne from Santa Barbara County. On the nose it has honey, Asian pear, and citrus blossoms, and the palate offers subtle citrus and warm apple, with a butterscotch finish. Yum.

There are so many Great Whites from around the world, and my goal is to explore as many of them as I can. Most of the wines mentioned in this post are currently available at www.winehouse.com.

Until next time,