Get out the sandals, reset the clocks and ... switch wines? With the welcoming of spring, some wine lovers feel that the warmer weather calls for white wine, while others see no reason to switch gears from their habitual reds. Here's what Wine Spectator's editors had to say:
I think you can drink any wine you want in springtime, but fresh-tasting, crisp white wines seem to have a little bit of an edge this time of year. Something like Riesling from the Mosel or Pfalz in Germany and Sauvignon from the Loire Valley or Sonoma seem perfect in springtime. For reds, Pinot Noir is always in season, but you can't argue with a mature Bordeaux for Easter dinner, something like a 1985 or 1988, especially if you're grilling butterflied leg of lamb like we did.
For some reason, I find spring the most difficult season to match with wines. Part of it is that there are few foods that are specific to the season -- you might say shad and shad roe, you might say early asparagus or fava beans, you might say spring lamb -- but spring doesn't have the abundant larder of high summer or the game of autumn or the truffles and hearty stews of winter, all of which have traditional wine matches to accompany them. So for me, because spring is a changeable season, I let my wine choices follow where the winds blow -- a charming young German Riesling one warm day with the earliest vegetables, a serious mature Bordeaux with the lamb for Easter dinner, a celebratory Champagne when the taxes are filed. Spring is a time to look for love, to try mysterious new wines hoping for true romance, not a time to fall into predictable habits or monogamy. Let a thousand wines bloom! That's my advice for springtime drinking.
With spring wines, I'll start off with a light German Mosel as an aperitif. I might continue with the Riesling for my first course, especially if the dishes include any smoked fish or cream sauces. For the main course, spring lamb might be appropriate -- in fact that's what I'm having tonight. Then I'd wash it all down with a French or California Syrah.
When the temperature warms up, my thoughts turn more to whites than reds, particularly Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. There's nothing more refreshing than a Mosel kabinett -- light, crisp and fruity -- on a warm afternoon. Both Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc match well with lighter summer foods like salads, fresh vegetables and cold shellfish. When I do enjoy a red, it's usually a light-bodied version like Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc or even rosé. The reds can be slightly chilled for freshness.
During the spring, when the weather warms up here in Tuscany (it's 78 degrees today), I like to pop open bottles of Prosecco, the fresh and grapy sparkling wine of the northeast. They're great for lunch or before dinner. The wine is slightly less fine and rich than Champagnes or spumantes but I love their grapy, apple skin character. I am a big fan of the Proseccos from the producer Bisol, which is located near the town of Valdobbiadene. Look for the Bisol single-vineyard spumante brut called Crede.
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