Spring wines for the thrifty connoisseur
April 10, 2012 | 5:00 pm
(Updated: February 22, 2013 | 5:59 pm)
As the Easter season arrives and spring gets more flirtatious, I begin to daydream about all of the things I love about this time of year.
There’s a sense of renewal and freshness – of coming back to life after the long cold season of snow and ice. The season’s wines are crisp, floral whites, light vibrant reds, and of course, the rosés. Many of my favorite variations are French wines from Gascony and Provence where the uber Rosé Tempier Bandol has its roots.
Most wines from Gascony are white, and often a blend of varieties such as Colombard, Petit and Gros Manseng, Len de l’El, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Muscadelle, and one of my favorites, Ugni Blanc. These wines are typically of superb quality and affordable.
Last week I popped open a bottle of the Ugni Blanc, took and sip and closed my eyes – springtime in a bottle for $10.99. It’s aromatic, fresh and full of notions of warm outdoor evenings and long leisurely garden dinners with friends.
Another group of wines that sing of spring are the revered rosés. This time of year when most Americans are up and excited about opening day for baseball, you can find me polishing glasses and planning menus around these rose colored beauties. Many people don’t realize how food-friendly rosé wines are; they’re easy to pair with an astounding number of dishes and types of cuisine.
The color of a rosé wine can range from a pale salmon to vibrant ruby red, depending on how much time the juice is allowed to sit on the skins. The winemaker’s decision will depend on the grape variety, the desired level of sugar or tannins, and a bit of personal preference. From the dry French style of Provence to the darker more pungent style of Spain and the playful annual release of American wines, Charles Smith from K-Vintners in Washington State and Charles Bieler of Three Thieves winery in California, rose wines keep drinkers satisfied with an abundance of choices.
And then there is the wine after my own heart: the sparkling rosé. Be it a glass of Perrier-Jouet Champagne Cuvee Fleur De Champagne Rose or the lovely Gruet Brit Rose from New Mexico, this class satisfies the urge for a bit of bubbly.
When you’re planning a spring brunch or Easter dinner, here are a few suggestions of where you can get them in the Denver, Boulder areas. You can get just about anything at places like Applejack and Argonaut but don’t miss the off-the-beaten-path boutique wine for rare treasures.
A few of my favorites are Divino Wine and Spirits at 1240 S. Broadway, Wines Off Wynkoop at 1610 Wynkoop and the Boulder Wine Merchant at 2690 Broadway in Boulder.