Luckily for those of us who live in Southern California, spring is never that far away. With the advent of “better” weather, peas, apricots, daffodils, and hyacinth blossoms come into season. Spring conjures thoughts and emotions of exuberance, freshness, and new beginnings. To pay homage to the riot of flowers in bloom and the air of excitement, here are a few wines that strike a likewise ardor and awaken happy thoughts.
These wines possess the spirit of spring both scientifically and metaphorically due to a very special set of compounds created via fermentation called terpenes. These are aromatically complex and contribute to the floral quality of a wine. Many other industries – like fragrance and perfume – use terpenes to add floral characteristics to their products!
Gancia Moscato D’Asti DOCG Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains
Most of the earliest written history we have of wine refers to Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. It is known as the finest of all Muscat varieties (and there are quite a few) due to its small berry cluster and ability to thrive in warm climates. Muscat is grown around the globe from Australia to Greece and can produce wines from sweet to dry. The Gancia Moscato D’Asti has a heady aroma of honeysuckle and jasmine, a touch of sweetness, and a gentle sparkle that the Italians call frizzante, which means lightly sparkling. A perfect wine for starting or ending a meal.
Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Roche Roulée Alsace Gewürztraminer 2017
Arguably one of the most aromatic grape varieties, “gewürz” literally translates to “spice” or, in this case, “perfumed”. In the glass the wine reminds one of Damask Rose, rose water, ginger, and honeycomb. While many producers make great Gewürztraminers from various parts of the globe, none are as well known as Domaine Zind-Humbrecht from Alsace. The family has been growing grapes since 1620 and has mastered the art of their craft. A wine this floral needs a little bit of funk to balance it out, so try it with a washed-rind cheese like Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery – so good!
Chene Bleu Heloise, Vaucluse Rhone Red Blend 2010 6/750ml(241349)
Named after the medieval abbess, scholar, and poetess Héloïse, this wine from Chêne Bleu in the Vaucluse Department of Provence sings with its floral bouquet. Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier have never known a more perfect union than this wine. Redolent of wild violets, anise, clove, and bramble the juice inside is as storied as its namesake. Referring to ChêneBleu, French critic Michel Bettane has been quoted as saying it’s the “Birth of a Grand Cru”. I couldn’t agree more.
Domaine Des Baumard Quarts De Chaume Chenin Blanc 2015 6/750ml(294950)
Côteaux de Layon is an enchanting place in the Loire Valley home to a style of wine that, while not well known, is virtually immortal. The wines of Quarts de Chaume, the “Grand Cru” of the Loire, are made from Chenin Blanc in a sweet dessert style. Often affected by the noble rot, botrytis, Quarts de Chaume can rival the best dessert wines from anywhere in the world. This classic example bursts from the glass with notes of creamed Opal apple, chamomile, honey, saffron, and candied ginger. Drink it with one of the fabled goat cheeses of the Loire, like Crottin de Chevignol.
Whether you prefer to drink your bouquets or pick them from the ground, Poet Paulo Coelho said it best: “Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”
About the Author
Billy Nordmeier has spent 20 years in hospitality operations, from hotels to restaurants and everything in between. Although a chef by trade, Billy has made wine and spirits the focus of his career. He is a Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, WSET Diploma Candidate, professional wine judge, and Master Mezcalier Level 2. When not working with wine, Billy enjoys amateur photography and cooking at home for family and friends.