Put down that Pinot Grigio! Consider spicing things up by sipping something new this spring. In search of some hip new wines I asked some of Baltimore’s sommeliers and culinary experts to share their secret weapons. Here are some of the top picks:
Grüner Veltliner (GROO-ner velt-LEEN-er)
An indigenous white grape from Austria, Grüner Veltliner, is my personal secret weapon at parties. Bright flavors of citrus fruits, granny smith apples with hints of white pepper, are balanced by crisp acidity. These qualities make Grüner Veltliner a great match for a variety of dishes including homemade fried chicken. In Europe they shorten the name of this grape and simply order a glass of GrüV (pronounced groovy) making it fun to order too! Some GrüV producers to look for include Anton Bauer, Hillinger, Huber and Loimer.
If you think Riesling is a dessert wine you haven’t been paying attention! Food friendly dry Rieslings are not just found in Germany. California, Australia and Washington State all make stellar examples as well. Patrick Morrow, Executive Chef at Ryleigh’s Oyster in Baltimore holds a competition for the best “oyster” wine each October and last year there was an upset. “It always seems that Sauvignon Blanc is the favorite to win. This year we had a surprise it was a Riesling,” says Morrow. “Dry Rieslings have great acidity and balance which pairs well with oysters. The slight sweetness gives a nice sweet and salty contrast as well.” Chef Morrow suggests looking for Washington State Rieslings from Kung Fu Girl or O-S Winery.
In the warmer months we look for lighter wine but that does not always mean white, sometimes you need to think pink! Marcie Prince, General Manager of Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia, MD thinks Rosé is the perfect warm weather wine. Marcie explains, “Rosé gives you the best of both red and white worlds. It has the crisp acidity of a white wine but the balance, body and complexity of a red.” Marcie, also known as “Goddess of Wine,” recommends French Rosé from Domaine de Cambis or Domaine Tempier in the Languedoc-Roussillon region or a sparkling Rosé from Burgundy crafted by Louis Bouillot.
Torrontes is an aromatic white grape with a perfumed nose and aromas of peach, nectarine as well as citrus fruits. Bright, flamboyant and affordable, this native white grape of Argentina is a favorite of Jerry Pellegrino, chef-owner of Corks and Abacrombie restaurants in Baltimore. “In the summer I spend a lot of time in the backyard grilling. I pair a glass of Torrontes with grilled clams drizzled with olive oil—it’s the perfect starter for my guests and keeps them busy while I am grilling the steaks.” shared Pellegrino. Chef Pellegrino recommends looking for Torrontes producers Trapiche, AVE and Susana Balbo.
Originally printed in Baltimore Style magazine