by Don Cook

For my second column, I have selected 3 refreshing, clean, dry wines that are inspired by the sights and sounds of spring – longer days and nights, the last of the snow melting and birds chirping outside.  These wines will pair wonderfully with salads, grilled white meats (chicken & pork), seafood and soft cheeses.

1)     2011 Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc, Chile (LCBO code 337535 – $11.95).  This white grape varietal originally comes from Bordeaux where it is blended with another white grape – Semillion.  Although Santa Carolina is a sizable producer – they do make sound wines that are good value. This wine producer is actually one of Chile’s oldest wineries. The wine is pale yellow (straw) in colour, and it is a light to medium bodied wine with fresh citrus, green apple and slight grassy/ fresh herbal notes both on the nose and palate.  It is crisp, clean and easy to drink.  I would recommend this wine with vegetarian fare, salads, fish and seafood such as ceviche.

 2)     2011 Cave Springs Riesling Dry, Niagara Ontario (LCBO code 233635 – $13.95, normally $14.95).  Riesling’s original birthplace is Germany where the soil and climate help craft wines that range from very dry through sweet dessert wines. Also, Riesling, due to its natural acidity, can age in the cellar for years and be paired with foods such as cream based cheeses and pork dishes. Cave Springs is a family owned winery that has a well deserved reputation of excellence in producing distinctive Rieslings of high quality in the Niagara wine region. This wine is medium bodied with a viscous texture, aromas of pear, peach, citrus fruit and white flowers.  The Riesling could be paired with goat’s cheeses, grilled vegetables, oily fish such as trout and roasted white meat like whole chicken stuffed with lemons.

3)     2011 Bouchard Pére et Fils Petit Chablis (LCBO code 51466 – $19.95).  Chablis, in Burgundy, is home to the original Chardonnay! The domaine of Bouchard Pére et Fils dates back to 1731 and has focused on crafting expressions of Chardonnay in Burgundy of all styles and price points.    When the wine was first opened – it was very closed on the nose and palate. I highly recommend letting the wine breathe for 30 minutes, pouring the wine into large wine glasses and/ or decanted to get wine exposed to oxygen (yes – one can decant a white wine!).  The wine is light to medium bodied, very crisp and very dry with aromas of citrus, almond and a very mineral finish (due to soils the vines grow into).  I would recommend this wine with crustaceans (shrimp and oysters) and very delicately poached seafood.

 The wines in this article are available at the Almonte LCBO.