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A Trio of Good Off-Dry Whites

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Maybe it's the odd juxtaposition of snow and the beginning of Spring, but somehow the idea of an off-dry (lightly sweet) white wine seems like the ideal thing today. Maybe it's the thought that if Spring were actually acting like Spring is supposed to, I might be able to sit on a porch and sip one with some prosciutto & melon, instead of staring out a window at snowflakes. Regardless, here are three that caught my attention lately:

2007 Grove Mill Riesling ($17, find this wine) As often seems to be the case with New Zealand Rieslings, a little sweetness seems only to intensify and focus the flavors of lime zest and pear in this wine; it's got a nice floral note on the nose, too. 

2008 Ca’ del Solo Muscat ($20, find this wine) Randall Grahm's Ca’ del Solo wines come from his estate vineyard in Monterey County, which is farmed biodynamically (and is mostly composed of Chualar and Danville Sandy Clay Loams, if you want to really geek out about it). This vintage of his Muscat is wildly aromatic, all spice-gumdrop, melon and tangerine, and manages to be full-bodied in texture without actually being particularly heavy or high in alcohol (it's 12.5%). Moreover, it's made from Moscato Giallo—an semi-obscure muscat clone from Italy's Alto Adige—with 12% Loureiro, an even more obscure Portuguese white variety typically used in Vinho Verde. Regardless, it's a mighty tasty wine that sure makes me wish it were summer...

2007 Abbazia di Novacella Gewürztraminer ($25, find this wine) I tasted this a few months back when I was zooming through the Alto Adige on my way to Slovenia for a story, and it's stuck in my mind ever since. Intensely spicy, with a kind of spiced bosc pear character and lots of flavor, this comes off slightly sweeter than it actually is. The winemaker told me that there's only three grams per liter of sugar here, and that the perceived sweetness is mostly glycerin; he also told me that it was grown on calcareous soil, though the importer's website says, contrarily, "gravely sand of moronic origin." What sand of moronic origin might be I don't know, but I sort of love it. 

 

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