Weekend Wine: Fresh Whites

Each weekend I am going to feature a new wine to try. This weekend we’re tasting two whites, both under $15.

I love a fresh white wine in summer. The fall and winter are filled with rich, heavy reds. When spring is still rainy and cold, I tend to stick with a red. But when summer comes around (finally) it’s great to refresh the pallet with something lighter. One of my perennial favorites is Wishing Tree Unoaked Chardonnay. 2007 is definitely the better year, 2008 was not so great. I have not tried 2009 yet. I saw it today at the local wine shop, but then a 2007 Hugh Hamilton Unwooded Chardonnay  caught my eye. Like Wishing Tree, it’s also a product of Australia. Unoaked or “unwooded” Chardonnays ferment in steel barrels as opposed to the traditional wood barrels allowing it to retain some fresher characteristics of the fruit vs the flavor of the barrel. Chardonnay has a tendency to taste very buttery or “oakey” but I find the unoaked variety to be a fresh alternative similar to a California Sauvignon Blanc or French Chenin Blanc.

The Hugh Hamilton still retained a woodsy aroma with a sweetness of fresh grapes. The real earthiness of a chardonnay remains, while not taking on the heavy buttery/woody taste. It would be perfect with a mild brie or grilled chicken.

The other white I picked up was a 2009 Chateau de Bonhoste Bordeaux Blanc.

In comparison to the chardonnay, the bordeaux blanc is crisp and fruity, just how I like ’em! The scent of grapefruit, apples and citrus wakes up your senses like a dip in a cold pool. It’s highly drinkable with a tart, yet smooth, taste. I can only suspect it would work well with a light fish dish (because I’m not a huge fish eater despite growing up in New England) or a cheesy pasta like Giada’s Fettuccini Alfredo.

Both wines were wonderful, but I would rate the Unoaked Chardonnay at a 6.5 and the Bordeaux Blanc at a 9.

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