Now that the weather has started heating up, I find myself turning more to white wines. Here is a mélange of choices for white-wine drinkers.
I don’t like big, oaky, alcoholic chardonnays in general, and I really shy away from them in hot weather. But a very refreshing new chardonnay is the 2005 Baileyana “Grand Firepeak Cuvee” Chardonnay ($31) from Edna Valley. The wine displays bright lemon, green apple and pineapple flavors, some mineral nuances and a nice creaminess. Winemaker Christian Roguenant hasn’t relied on lots of new oak to pump up his wine: The delicious fruit and juicy acidity carry the flavors through to a long finish.
If you’re looking for something sweeter that’s still refreshing, there’s the 2006 Martin & Weyrich Moscato Allegro ($12), an extremely perfumey wine made from the muscat canelli grape and modeled after some of the moscatos of northern Italy. It’s medium-sweet and very floral, with flavors of peach and apricot and a slight spritz. The wine would work with a not-too-sweet dessert, but it’s also a lovely aperitif.
For a true dessert wine, there’s the 2006 Meridian Limited Release Late Harvest Riesling ($18/375ml), a wine that pairs lusciousness and racy acidity. The wine, made from Santa Barbara grapes, offers rich flavors of apricot, white peach and crème brulee. You could pair it with a fruit-based dessert, but I think it makes a great dessert all by itself. Like all the limited-release wines at Meridian, this one is available only directly from the winery, but it’s worth a trip to the tasting room east of Paso Robles.