Let’s talk spring wines! While we all have a favorite variety or two, a change in weather is a great opportunity to switch things up and explore something new.
Spring is a transitional season, so that means we’re somewhere between the heavier winter reds that pair well with chili and a cozy night in and the lighter poolside summer wines we’ll get to enjoy soon.
To me, a good spring wine is versatile—it can pair well with a picnic, a cookout, or stand on its own. I like to spend as much time outdoors as possible in spring, so I want a wine that pairs well with the weather.
Of course, the only way for me to feel good about recommending these wines was to share them with friends and collect a little feedback (basically, it was a great excuse to host a wine tasting with a few friends). I’m fortunate to have access to a talented wine connoisseur and former Cellar Master for the International Wine and Food Society’s Atlanta chapter who has a knack for selecting excellent bottles – my dad.
All of that to say: If you’re looking for wines that you don’t run into every day (but that also aren’t particularly obscure), here are a few casual, well-priced bottles to try out this spring!
Pewsey Vale Single Vineyard Estate Dry Riesling | 2021
Rieslings come in multiple levels of sweetness, so make sure you know what you’re getting! This dry Riesling has notes of lime and grapefruit and started our tasting off on the right foot. If you prefer sweeter wines and are looking to expand your pallet, this is a great option. The tart, fruity taste even won over one friend who started the tasting by saying that she doesn’t like dry wines.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier White Blend | 2021
At the end of our tasting, we took a vote, and this wine tied for first place. From the moment we swirled our glasses and smelled the wine (because we’re fancy like that), we knew we had a crowd-pleaser. The Chenin Blanc grapes bring a subtle sweetness on the front that’s balanced with great acid on the back while the Viognier fills the middle. Off-dry wines like this one are highly versatile with food – anything from a picnic charcuterie board to spicier Asian or Indian dishes. This one was my favorite.
Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages | 2020
Wine nerd moment: Beaujolais comes in four types—Nouveau, Beaujolais, Villages, and Crus Beaujolais—based mostly on where the grapes are grown and increasing in complexity. As a rule, Beaujolais tends to be a pretty accessible type of wine, and a good gateway to red wine for white wine drinkers. And this one didn’t disappoint – everyone liked it! This wine has notes of cherry and plum and would pair nicely with chicken.
Trader Joe’s Reserve Pinot Noir Lot 223 | 2020
At our tasting, this was the other crowd favorite. Pinot Noir is extremely versatile but difficult to make well. It’s a rare treat to find a bottle that is both tasty and inexpensive. This wine had notes of strawberries and raspberries with just a hint of vanilla in the aroma. If you’re hosting a cookout, look no further for your wine pairing!
Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG Reserva | 2018
I’m stretching my own definition of Spring wine just a little here. For those who enjoy a more substantial red, give this wine a try this season. With notes of cherry and a hint of pepper, it’s a bit more than a picnic wine. Chianti pairs well with grilled meats and, of course, red sauces.
I love both drinking wine and learning more about it, but I’m certainly no expert. All the recommendations and good advice here are compliments of my dad, including this nugget: in choosing a wine what matters most isn’t how prestigious or expensive it is. What matters most is that you like it.
Do you enjoy wine? What are your recommendations for spring?