Vintage when used to refer to the quality of a particular year is always a source of debate and, ultimately, subjectivity.
Often, too much is said about vintage, especially when it comes to value white wines. The single most important thing about vintage in a value white wine is youth! One should never even consider buying a value white wine that is more than 3 years old.
There may be precious few exceptions to this, but drinking older wine is more dangerous than its reward. Keeping the drinking window to two years is an even better call, for, with the limited exceptions to this rule, much of the appeal of white wines of value are their freshness. Age will dull the vibrant fruit character of a inexpensive white wine. It would be like cutting an apple in two and letting it sit for a day and then biting into it expecting a mouth full of juicy fruit. The apple and the wine both oxidize and lose their fresh fruity appeal. So stay away from value wine that is 4 to 6 years old and put your emphasize on young wines and you will be a happier wine aficionado.
Here are my choices for some crisp young white wines, ideal for sipping or pairing with food, from around the world.
Magnificent Wine Company 2010 Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington)
From the largest appellation in Washington comes this delicious wine from the winery founded by Charles Smith of K Vintners fame, who looks amazingly like rock star Sammy Hagar. Washington is increasing noted for quality Riesling in every price range.
There are plenty of flavors in this off-dry, medium-bodied, excellent value Riesling: tangerine, lime, green apple and a fresh zesty acidity. The touch of sweetness in this wine makes it go exceptionally well with spicy food, Asian-inspired food or food with a small amount of sweetness.
Elios 2010 Mediterranean White (Peloponnese, Greece)
The American wine company Terlato and the Greek winery Boutari produce this label, named for the Greek word for sun, helios. It seems to be counter-intuitive to suggest that Greek wine is an up-and-coming region, but its wine have never been better. Stay away from the pine resin wine Retsina and try this tasty wine made from a blend of indigenous grapes–50% Moschofilero, 10% Roditis and 10% Savatiano–and the internationally varietal Chardonnay 30%.
It is a fresh and bright wine with the flavors of ripe yellow apple, pear, Mandarin orange, and Meyer lemon all in a medium frame with crisp acidity. Try with the obvious Mediterranean olive oil-based cuisine.
Pierre Boniface Apremont 2010 Vin De Savoie (Savoie, France)
Anyone who thinks French quality wines are always expensive needs to try this wine. Savoie is the Central Easten Alpine region of France and Apremont is a village within Savoie. The grape is the little known Jacquere. The Winery once owned by Pierre Boniface has been sold to two gentlemen from Savoie, Guillaume Durand and Alban Thouroude.
A pale yellow wine with green highlights sets the stage for the taste of honeydew, green apple, citrus and limestone. It is dry, light-bodied and is reminiscent of a fresh Alpine stream and white flowers. Try with seafood, especially shellfish or goat cheese.
La Vielle Ferme 2010 Luberon Blanc (Rhone, France)
The name of this wine translates to “old farmhouse” and the Perrin Family of the renowned Château de Beaucastel makes it. The wine comes from the Southern part of The Rhone Valley in the sub region of Luberon.
This wine has the fresh fruit flavors of white peach, lime and kiwi all in a medium body with thirst quenching acidity, bright with wet stone minerality and a touch of orange zest. It is blended from the Southern France grapes of Bourboulenc, Grenache Blanc , Ugni Blanc and Vermentino. Charming with roasted whole chicken with fresh herbs and lemon.
Chasing Venus 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)
New Zealand, and the Marlborough region specifically, is famous for grassy, herbaceous lip-smacking Sauvignon Blanc. The Giguieres family, former owners of R.H. Phillips winery of California, now own the Crew Wine Company and they make this wine utilizing the skills of winemaker Dan Cederquist. The name Chasing Venus implies what Captain Cook was doing when he he sailed in the Pacific looking for the Southern continent. With huge pink grapefruit, gooseberry, passion fruit, bell pepper and jalapeno this wine stands out. Crisp, medium-bodied and dry with full throttle flavor. Try this wine with a mildly spiced stir-fry or grilled river fish.
Bollini 2010 Pinot Grigio (Trentino, Italy)
Neil and Maria Empson of Empson Italian Selections import boutique Italian wine and own the Bollini brand. The Trentino region is located in Northeastern Italy, north of Veneto. Pinot Grigio is the ubiquitous Italian white grape now grown in many other countries sometimes under the synonym Pinot Gris.
This is a dry, medium-bodied wine with flavors of pear, honey suckle, red apple, light flint and Meyer lemon, a little bit more than a quaffing wine with its vivacious, crisp and lively, refreshing character. It is a very pleasant wine that is an excellent as an aperitif, or try it with light seafood pastas.