5 Wines you Need to Discover

Summer is time for getting to know your favorite white wines and these five are on my short list of wines to enjoy!


With summer in full swing it’s time to take a look at some of the delicious options we have available to us.We can always fall back on sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and there’s a reason why these wines are so popular, but don’t we all enjoy a change now and again. they say variety is the spice of life, and I for one believe that is absolutely true, especially when so may wine that fly under the radar remain compelling bargains!

I advocate drinking simpler wines to make the better wines we enjoy that much more outstanding, and at the same time I thoroughly support experimentation. As I’ve said before, I know what i like, and I know what I don’t like, but the paradigms that form those opinions evolve over time and I certainly can’t know what i think of things that i have not tried! So keep an open mind this summer, and push outside your envelop of comfort once in awhile. Take these five wines for instance;  perfect with oysters and shellfish, they are gorgeous wines for summer and worthy of your attention!


Typically mineraly, light and brisk in the mouth, muscadet from the Atlantic coast of the Loire valley has historically been a go to wine for Oysters and shellfish. Sur lie on the label refers to the ageing on the lees, or dead yeast cells, that adds some creaminess to the palate and complexity of flavor. Muscadet is quite capable of ageing well and improving in the bottle so if you find one you like don’t worry about stocking up on it!
Both of these wines are attractive examples, with the 2012 L’Oiseau d’Or Muscadet being more intense and fleshier while the 2012 Clos les Montys Muscadet is more classically restrained and elegant. 
Almost flinty on the nose with the rather direct aromas of chalk and oyster shell gaining some heathery depth from the lees ageing along with a rosemary topnote.  A touch round on entry but with terrific acidity this comes together well on the palate. There’s lovely lemon curd fruit here with a hint of Asian pear and a nice basenote of leesy spice adding detail and drifting out over the long, sapid finish. This is young still and shows plenty of body and richness for a Muscadet. 88pts
Tight and talcy on the nose with a subtle balsamic base note under pithy lemon aromas.  Lovely texture, precise and seamless with a nice creamy edge though the flavors here are quite restrained. Still this displays attractive lemon and lime fruit backed up with a hint of mineral spice that leads to a lovely finish, citrussy with hints of oyster shells and just a touch of astringency that keeps you coming back for another sip.  87pts


Often referred to as the Muscadet of the south, Picpoul de Pinet comes from France’s Languedoc region located in the southwest corner of the country. Flavors seem to be more orchard fruit driven than with Muscadet, though the wines do share the same acidic backbone and mineral base notes. Unlike Muscadet i am not a fan of aging Picpoul so look for the last two vintages.
These two wines are quick similar though I prefer the leaner and brisker 2012 Font- Mars to the obviously richer and deeper 2012 Domaine de Cantagrils based on a stylistic preference. 
Dusty and spicy on the nose this shows a fine mineral base with gently drying apple blossoms and crisp apple fruit on the nose. Bright, fresh and acid driven in the mouth, this has a fair amount of weight and richness to it yet remains crisp and focused with slightly creamy apple and tart peach flavors on the palate. The acid drives the long finish which shows lovely peach and lemon flavors and just a hint of mouthgrab. 88pts
Tight and slightly herbal on the nose with subtle shadings of dried herb stem floating over a base of flinty minerality. This is lean and fresh in the mouth and very acid driven with some crap apple and lime pith fruit and subtle herbal shadings offering a bit of complexity. Gaining a little richness on the backend, and some notes of white peach, this has a very long mineral water tinged finish with fuzzy little peach skin tannins and attractive purity to the fruit. 87pts


Like it’s twin from across the Spanish border, Albarino, Portuguese Alvarinho is a lovely, refreshing, mineral driven wine that tends to remain in the citrus end of the flavor spectrum as opposed to the sometimes peach or mango tinged wines from Spain. Often blended, as is typically the case in Rias Baixas as well, you will find examples with other indigenous varieties, such as Trajadura, to be quite common.
Again this pairing pits a richer, more intense wine, the 2013 Pouco-Comum , against one that is simple and zesty and at least on this hot july day i prefer the simpler, zesty and satisfying 2013 Passaros Alvarinho/Trajadura .
Intensely perfumed on the nose, this shows a muscatty floral and spice accent to the core of lemon drop and vaguely tropical guava tinged fruit. Floral on entry as well, and then both quier acid driven but also perhaps with just enough RS to adds some roundness and support the fruit on the plate. the flavors run towards the sweet and creamy end of the citrus spectrum with a touch of guava and maybe even a suggestion of passion fruit adding some complexity. There’s a hint of dustiness on the backend here as this fades away on the modest finish with a gentle suggestion of sweetness covering the bright acids. 87pts
Lightly aromatic with a hint of floral spice on the nose followed by pithy citrus fruit aromas and some vaguely sweet fruity note along with hints of river stones and rosemary.  Bright even tart on the palate with the faintest hint of trapped CO2 adding a bit lift to the lovely mineral, lemon and lime zest flavors. the backend picks up a little richness, and some subtle herb stem and mineral complexity before this fades on the slight dusty and modest finish. Simple, pure and refreshing. 86pts


One of the more popular Italian whites from the west coast of the country, Vermentino is typically found in Tuscany and Liguria, as well on Sardinia. the wines typically are quite citrussy and bright with a lovely hint of dried flowers and herbs. 
Here there is no question that the 2012 Cantine Lupo Terra Marique is the more interesting example, and an unusual one at that coming as it does from Lazio, near Rome. The 2013 Terenzuola Vermentino is perhaps more typical, but also less distinctive. 
A hint of sweetness accentuates the lovely wild herbal, hibiscus flower, chamomile,  and fennel pollen notes on the nose. There’s a hint of hot rocks early on the palate then this spreads out with attractive richness and fine acidic backbone in the mouth. it’s smooth but not soft with flavors of quince, wild herbs, chamomile and apricotty fruit showing great definition and depth. There’s a hint of minerality at the core here, adding a bit of a rudder to the palate and spiciness to the backend and dusty, moderately long finish. This is distinctive and terrific. Definitely a bit unusual but thoroughly engaging. 90pts
Subtle on the nose with delicately layered mineral earth, dried citrus pith and dried floral aromas with even a hint of rose petal here. Round and yet acid driven in the mouth, this shows somewhat simple flavors of citrus tinged sweet peach with sweet almond framing notes. There’s a touch of dried floral character in the mouth but this remains fairly subtle with a bit of dusty mouth grab and apricot skin flavors on the backend and through the moderately long finish. 86pts

Rioja Blanco

Gone are the days when Rioja Blanco was oak aged and oxidized. A new generation of wines strives to capture the bright character and fresh flavors of Viura without such a heavy winemakers imprimatur. The character of Viura seems to vary widely from producer to producer and region to region, though the wines remain cheap enough to do some extensive research in order to find your favorites!
the 2012 CVNE Monopole is my preference here. It is both more complex in the mouth and has a brighter, juicier and more refreshing texture than the 2012 Beronia Viura.
Rather floral in the glass but with a restrained, earthy quality to the perfume which also picks up hints of grapefruit and a suggestion of green herb. Juicy up front,this gains a bit of flesh and roundness in the mouth where flavors of bruised peach and pear add nuance to the core of grapefruit pith and under-ripe pineapple fruit. A bit of almond adds some detail as this transitions to the long if simple and quite refreshing citrusy finish. just a hint of astringency on the palate adds additional refreshment. 87pts
Very tight on the nose with a hint of green melon and some lovely dried herb and almond shell top notes. Smooth and integrated in the mouth, this delivers a nice array of fresh lemon, slightly peachy and melon flavors on the palate but does lack a bit of complexity. A hint in creaminess and some faint nutty shadings add some detail to the backend before this slip[s away on the modest and slightly astringent finish. very smooth and easy drinking, this seem just a touch flat in the mouth. 86pts
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  • Snooth User: vin0vin0
    Hand of Snooth
    357808 7,138

    If you want to buy local (aka US) wines, there are two Paso wineries bottling Picpoul Blanc - Adelaida and Tablas Creek. Each of these is very refreshing, like a somewhat tart Sauv Blanc but with a bit more the lemon/lime citrus flavors vs grapefruit, loved them both.

    Jul 09, 2014 at 6:01 PM

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 1,085

    I have a vermentino from California that I am going to have this weekend. I am curious if anyone knows how this measures up to the Italian ones that were in this article.

    Jul 10, 2014 at 4:40 PM

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