The Sip

Spring Wines

The Sip Spring WinesWhen the days creep longer and the weather warms up, the go-to glass of wine shifts more often from red to white. While red wine provides warmth and comfort during the dark, cold nights of winter, white wine offers a light, fun and refreshing signal to enjoy the great outdoors and the Pacific Northwest sunshine.

In West Sound, we’re surrounded by a plethora of high-quality wine options made right here. Some go-to crushable white wines for this spring season are tried-and-true favorite grapes, like chardonnay, while others are wines you might not have tried before, like siegerrebe.

Chardonnay, often referred to as the “queen of white wines,” embodies elegance and versatility. Hailing from various wine regions around the globe, including Burgundy in France, California’s Napa Valley and Australia’s Margaret River, chardonnay offers a wide spectrum of styles to suit every palate.

In its purest form, chardonnay dazzles with its crisp acidity, vibrant citrus notes and hints of green apple and pear. Unoaked chardonnays highlight the grape’s inherent fruitiness and minerality, making them perfect for leisurely spring picnics or as an aperitif on a balmy evening. Oak-aged chardonnays unveil layers of complexity with nuances of vanilla, butter and toasted oak, ideal for pairing with grilled seafood or creamy pasta dishes.

As the sun begins to linger longer in the sky, Rolling Bay Winery’s 2019 Reserve Chardonnay’s full-body and flavors of butterscotch, toffee and a hint of citrus, followed by a rich, opulent and creamy, finish make it an irresistible choice for celebrating the sunshine. This wine was fermented and aged 11 months in oak barrels, which gives it the rich, toasty flavors not found in unoaked chardonnays.

Pinot gris, also known as pinot grigio in Italy, offers a refreshing departure from the richer, more opulent whites like chardonnay. Originating from the Alsace region of France, as well as Italy, Oregon and New Zealand, pinot gris delights with its zesty acidity, delicate aromatics and a spectrum of fruit flavors ranging from ripe pear and peach to citrus and tropical fruits.

Renowned for its food-friendly nature, pinot gris effortlessly complements a variety of springtime dishes, from fresh salads tossed with tangy vinaigrettes to light pastas brimming with seasonal vegetables. Its vibrant acidity and clean finish make it an ideal partner for shellfish, sushi and even spicy Thai cuisine, adding a burst of freshness to every bite.

The Sip Spring WinesOlalla Vineyards Pinot Gris was a standout among all the white wines we tasted. With charming crispness and lively character, this pinot gris is the perfect choice for al fresco dining and leisurely gatherings under the spring sun. Visit the winery in Olalla (Port Orchard area) and enjoy this bottle in the beautiful setting of the vineyard.

Originally hailing from the sun-drenched vineyards of France’s Rhône Valley, roussanne captivates with its lush texture, exotic aromas and rich, honeyed flavors. Crafted into single varietal wines or blended with other Rhône grapes like marsanne and viognier, roussanne offers a tantalizing array of tasting experiences.

Roussanne’s voluptuous body and complex character pair well with a wide range of foods, from grilled poultry and roasted vegetables to creamy risottos and decadent cheese platters. Eleven Winery’s winemaker describes their 2022 Roussanne like this, “We like to think of it as chardonnay’s much more interesting cousin (ed. — not a real cousin) who you wish you’d met a long time ago. They even wear the same cologne (a.k.a. new oak) — though sometimes chardonnay puts on a lot, whereas our roussanne has only a subtle hint that enhances its natural bouquet.”

This is the only white wine made by Eleven that has any new oak at all. The winery describes its wine as having apple butter and pear, both on the nose and palate, but also lemon and apricot, with a finish that grabs you. Hints of baking spices are there in the background from the small percentage of new oak. This complexity makes it both versatile and deeply interesting, down to earth but at the same time a little bit fancy. Try this wine with cantaloupe and prosciutto or buttery meats like lobster, crab, foie gras and pâté. Also try it with roast chicken, pork, veal and cream sauce.

One of the lesser-known varietals, siegerrebe, is grown right on Bainbridge Island at Perennial Vintners. Siegerrebe is an aromatic, white wine grape variety primarily cultivated in Germany, particularly in the regions of Pfalz and Rheinhessen.

This grape, whose name translates to “victory vine” in German, produces wines known for their intense floral and fruity aromas, often reminiscent of roses, lychees and tropical fruits. It is a versatile grape, capable of producing a range of styles from dry to sweet, with a characteristic acidity that provides balance to its pronounced fruitiness.

The Sip Spring WinesSiegerrebe wines are prized for their complexity and ability to pair well with a variety of dishes but taste especially great with delicate curries, grilled pork and poultry. The 2022 Perennial Vintners Siegerrebe is grown from vines at the estate vineyard on Bainbridge Island and are derived from gewurztraminer.

This wine has the same stunning, rose-like floral character (with a hint of spice) that you’d find in gewurztraminer. The vineyard in the Puget Sound American Viticultural Area (AVA) receives all the benefits of the maritime-influenced, cool-climate growing area, as well as the extended- length days of our more northerly latitude. All this leads to the most fragrant and aromatic wines imaginable.

Sauvignon blanc, originating from France’s Bordeaux region but now cultivated globally, is renowned for its vibrant acidity and expressive aromatics of tropical fruits, freshly cut grass and sometimes a subtle herbaceous note. The 2022 Sauvignon Blanc from Poulsbo’s State 42 Wines has flavors of stone fruit with a slight grassy, mineral finish. Its zesty acidity makes it an excellent pairing with a wide array of cuisine, from salads to grilled vegetables, offering a refreshing and versatile wine experience. Grab a glass to enjoy on the winery’s patio on Front Street in Poulsbo. It’s the place to be when warmer weather hits.

As spring breathes new life into the world, white wines beckon with their refreshing charm and vibrant personalities. Whether you’re savoring the crisp acidity of chardonnay, reveling in the zesty liveliness of pinot gris or discovering the allure of roussanne’s hidden depths, each sip becomes a celebration of the season’s abundance.