Spring is here! While some may be anticipating swimsuit sales, warm weather and spring break, my mind is on fresh produce and what those beverage professionals call “transitional wines.”
What’s a transitional wine anyway? It’s the way we talk about what to drink when the weather is in flux from one season to another. Typically spring and fall are the “transition” seasons, but I think you could argue that there’s transition between all four seasons, and special wines for those too!
While the temperatures are warming up, it’s still not hot nor sunny enough for that Frosé that I’ve been craving since last summer (anyone else with me?). What do you drink during a chilly rain? Or, what do you feel like drinking when it’s brisk but promisingly sunny? An easy sipper like ice-cold Pinot Grigio may not be best thing to go to, yet.
So, what do you want to have? Here are 3 of my go-to wines for spring, what are yours?
I love Riesling all year round, but I find in spring when a slight chill is still in the air, sipping on some Alsatian Riesling holds a promise of warmer days to come. Alsace has an extra weight to it, but still maintains the minerality that German Rieslings typically have. Rieslings from Washington tend to be on the richer fruit side, rather than so acidic (us American’s love our sugar!).
My favorite for spring is Riesling from Alsace. Alsace is one of the sunniest places in France, tucked away in the Vosges mountains on the border of Germany. It’s geographical location, climate, and history of gastronomy have made it a place all its own. Not quite fully French and not quite fully German, it’s a perfect blend of the two. Here, Riesling takes on a form unlike Germany and anywhere else in Europe. It’s rounder and fuller than the crisp and chilling German style, but still quite refreshing and the ripeness of the fruits (think golden apples) reminds me of warmer days.
Rose All Day!
I am particularly fond of heavier rosé’s for spring. The Provincial ones are beautiful and light, but I like to reserve those for summer. Rosés of Malbec, (like this one from Meadowcroft), and Cabernet Franc (like this one from Charles Joguet) have more of a depth and seriousness to them. I find that many times, the darker colored the rosé the weightier the flavor.
These thicker skinned grapes provide a bit more structure and flavor than the lighter styles found in Provence. Again, I find the fruit notes to be a touch riper and richer, sometimes with higher alcohol as well, providing more warmth and body.
Semillon is often used to blend with Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux white wines. It’s a beautiful combination and that would tie with a Semillon only varietal wine for spring especially! However, I’ve found that Semillon varietal wines are quite unique and often over-looked in wine stores. Semillon is a varietal that has high acidity levels, like a Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc wine, but a weight to it due to the skins that Sauvignon Blanc never has. Furthermore, Semillon ages beautifully. Older Semillon wines have hazelnut and toasted marshmallow notes.
For a sweeter style check out this Bordeaux Sauterns
For a crisp and bright style look this Australian Semillon.
What are your favorite springtime wines? Comment below to let me know!