It’s spring in Ohio and finally time to get out of the house. I feel like I’ve been hibernating for months, and by hibernating I mean drinking big, bold, warming red wines under 3 layers of blankets while I watch reality TV. Cute visual, huh? But now the sun is up, restaurants are opening up their patios and I am ready to pour something a little brighter into my wine carafe.
Here are my picks for the best spring wines under $20:
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier - $13
I have this theory that the most popular American wines are widely consumed because they are easy to pronounce. People know how to say “Cab-er-net” but for fear of sounding silly, no one orders a deep and beautiful Mourvedre. I would like to state for the record now that this is silly and we should all get over that. There are so many amazing and beautiful wines on the shelves, and much more interesting grapes than chardonnay, people! Step outside of your comfort zone and try the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc Viognier blend. If you’ve been drinking oaky buttery white wines all your days, this bottle is going to blow your mind. It’s aromatic, bursting with honeysuckle and orange blossom, crisp and luscious with flavors of stone and tropical fruits. Lingering mineral flavors and a balanced acidity make for a well-rounded, dry white wine. The flavors are approachable, yet unique to anything you’ve tried before. Pick it up at Arrow Wine for a really affordable price, oh, and by the way, it’s pronounced (vee-yon-N’YAY.)
Gassier Rosé - $17.99
It’s no secret, I love me some rosé, especially when the temperatures outside start to climb. Rosés are bright, crisp, and refreshing - so refreshing, in fact, that they are slightly dangerous! A few sips can quickly turn into a few gulps, and next thing you know, your glass (or bottle!) is empty. One of my favorite rosés to sip on (and yes I do mean sip and savor) is the 2017 Gassier rosé. This beautiful French wine is a lovely shade of light (millennial) pink, a nice floral nose, and soft flavors of peach and grapefruit. Since rosés are growing in popularity, it’s hard to know what to look for, or even where to start. When I’m thinking about trying a new bottle, I personally look for two things: 1) If it’s from France, and 2) how light it is in color. This is a personal preference, of course, but I think the best rosés are coming out of France. I also prefer a light light pink over a blush wine. You’ll see a huge variance in rosé colors on the shelves, and I find the lighter wines are cripser and more floral while the darker shades taste more of berry and are a little bolder. The more you try, to more you can figure out what you like, and at a price like Gassier - you can try again and again!
Stella Pinot Grigio - $15 for a 4 pack of small cans
There is almost nothing better in this life than wine on-the-go. Those who know me best, know that I rarely see a movie without a contraband can of champagne in my bag. (Sorry movie theaters.) A new wine is out on shelves here in Ohio and they are the cutest and most refreshing cans of white wine out there. This Pinot Grigio from Sicily is a mature wine in a fun package! The delicate flavors of white peach, and lemon peel are light and refreshing, perfect for one of Ohio’s hot spring days, enjoy it out at a picnic with some gal pals, or cool off with it in a movie theater! This wine will be even better in the summer, pool side! No matter where you enjoy it, this is a lovely and sophisticated wine for a great price.
Happy spring drinking, cheers and ciao!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tess is a young professional, home-baker and downtown Dayton dweller who spent years working in the restaurant industry. When she's not mixing drinks for restaurant patrons, she's drinking champagne, buying shoes, or writing her blog, Ciao Vella. You can read about her home recipes, party planning tips, and more at www.CiaoVellaBlog.com.