~By Andrea Pollock
I love to drink crisp white wines during the summer. Crispness is a word that I use to describe wines with a combination of noticeable acidity and an effervescent feel.
I find that wines in this style go down extremely easy on a hot summer day. There is just something so refreshing about it – a true adult summer soda pop – for those days where root beer doesn’t pack enough punch.
The crispness effect of white wines will only last so long in the bottle. White wines that show these characteristics need to be consumed shortly after their release (or the vintage date) in order to reap the rewards of these crisp qualities. As white wines bottle age the crisp acidic and effervescent aspects of the wine begin to deteriorate and can be lost completely. These are truly the first elements in a wine that begin to suffer as the ageing process takes place. It is actually usually a positive characteristic of the red wine ageing process – which seems to fit, since there are not many of us who would enjoy an overtly acidic or bubbly red wine.
Other more mellow qualities of a wine begin to show themselves over time in red as these aspects fade. In white wines, once the crisp qualities fade they can be replaced with subtler flavours of ripe fruits or grassy notes, they may also leave a wine tasting flat if there is little depth of character in the flavour profile of the wine. This is why it is nice to consume these wines early, while the crisp qualities still have a chance to augment the overall tasting experience of the wine.
Two white wines stick out in my mind as showing the great, desirable qualities of crispness and acidity. The first is a South African white – Douglas Greene the Beach House and a French wine; Arrogant Frog Ribet White. Both of these wines have great palate cleansing properties – nice crisp acidity and refreshing effervescence that is super energizing on a sunny day.
Because I have recommended both of these wines in previous columns, I have chosen two new favourites that show similar characteristics.
Wines of the week
Piesporter Treppchen Riesling 2008 – [Mosel, Germany]
Not much to the nose of this wine, only a smell of tart citrus. The flavour is an interesting balance of sweetness, tartness and acidity. Flavours of juicy peach, dried apricots and orange tang. A great pairing for asian influenced dishes or for a spicey Indian curry. 88/100 (June 5th, 2011)
NK’MIP Chardonnay 2006 – [VQA Okanagan Valley]
Nice crisp oak notes, cedar wood, pine needles and some sour lemons. The flavours are dry with some grapefruit and lime zest, a touch of bitterness and oak shows up on the finish. A light style wine that would pair well with poached fish or crab cakes. 86/100 $16.99 (January 6th, 2011)