Looking at the 'hot' wines for spring

It is interesting to look at the "hot" wine types for the spring.

If nothing else, the wine business goes through wine fad cycles like crazy. Some years, the Rieslings are the big thing and, in other years, for example, we see the broodingly rich Shiraz from Australia hitting the popularity charts.

Let me give you an idea of what is the coming thing for the spring and summer releases.

We are now seeing many new releases of Pinot Gris arriving from Oregon. We all talk about Oregon Pinot Noir, but the very pretty, stylish and clean Oregon Pinot Gris are captivating white wines with almost infinite cuisine matches available to them.

The Cristom Willamette Valley Gris are stunning examples of this grape. This flinty and palate cleansing white wine continues to be the hallmark of the Willamette stable of Pinot Gris and exhibits very long and dry melon flavors, embracing such seafood entrees as shrimp and halibut. In fact, I can find few wines to compete with this Gris for shrimp on the barbie. Very nice!

The ros&

233; wines are just starting to hit the shelves with a bang and are becoming a very big consumer item. It amazes me that the ros&

233; wines have had such a huge emergence in popularity and variety over the last few years.

It was, for so many years, the thought that ros&

233; wines were simply cotton candy-like offerings with little thirst quenching properties and a mouthful of disconnected sugars. This is not at all what the ros&

233; of the 21st century is offering on the table and in the glass.

Today's ros&

233; is a very serious animal with dry, fresh and complex flavors that seemingly go on forever. We are seeing ros&

233; wines coming from every wine region of the world and I have tasted many just spectacular wines in the last few months.

We are experiencing the dry Sicilian ros&

233;, with their intense fruit in the nose and great acidity, as well as the Spanish ros&

233;, made from either the very complex and beautifully balanced Tempranillo or the Grenacha. These Spanish ros&


wines are really very charming and can pack a punch in palate weight, as well as alcohol.

Remember, the alcohol level for a ros&

233; wine is very critical. On a general but very true scale, most ros&

233; wines will be drier with the higher (more than 11 percent alcohol) levels. At about 14.5 percent, we can see an imbalance, as the alcohol can interfere with the delicacy of the typical ros&

233;. I like the ros&

233; wines (for the most part) at about the 13 percent alcohol range, but this is a general rule.

If you are a ros&

233; drinker and like them sweeter, try dry for a change and note the increase in complexity that can be found by going drier with a little more alcohol. These less-sweet wines also do better with cuisine and I believe you will experience a real taste treat.

The other thing I have noticed about the sweeter ros&

233; wines is the little headache once can experience by drinking them. Folks tend to tell me that this occurs quite commonly with the sweeter ros&

233; wines but, rarely, if ever, do I hear this happening with the drier ros&

233;, especially the European varieties. Crazy, huh? Sounds a little nutty, but this is something I hear frequently.

Well, there you have a couple of super ideas for the spring. See you next time!

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