Often, it's hard to decide on just one type of wine. Sure, if you're shopping for yourself, you can go for what you like or take a chance on something unusual, but if you're choosing a wine for other folks it gets a little more tricky. John likes Chardonnay, but Jane likes Sauvignon Blanc, while Jimmy likes Riesling, and who knows what Joyce likes? The answer, of course, is get them all. Well, maybe not that particular combination, but a blended wine for sure. Red blends have always been pretty popular, but what about white blends? Let's not forget about those tasty little gems.
The cool thing about discovering blended white wines is that they seem to be less "mainstream" than blended reds, which in our market are mostly Bordeaux-style blends. White blends usually include cool stuff you never heard of, but they're not too scary because they're blended with something you have heard of … usually. I just really love trying them. Here are some of my favorites:
From Spain, you just gotta try Las Brisas (about $13). This wine is a blend of Verdejo (Verdelho), Viura and Sauvignon Blanc and comes from the Rueda region, which is known for its dry, minerally whites. Though this wine is definitely both of those things, it's what else it is that makes it so unbelievably yummy. It's really crisp, yet crazy juicy with fruit flavors all over the spectrum—peach, pear, grapefruit, lime, apricot … you name it. Trust me on this one.
The Aussies are never scared to throw a couple of white varietals together, and I've always been pleased with the results. Take the Heartland "Stickleback" White (about $12). This is a smart blend of Semillon, Chardonnay and Verdelho. A little bit rich, a little bit dry and a little bit grassy, but a whole lot tasty. This is a wine that's perfect for serving a large group of people because it is quite versatile and easy to drink.
Another cool one to check out is Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier (about $15) from California—Clarksburg to be exact. The aromas in this wine are quite floral while the palate offers a bit of ginger spice, grapefruit and soft, rich pear. It's really unusual and quite delightful. It's perfect alongside spicy Asian-style cuisine.
A great old stand-by for me is the Bertani Due Uve (about $15) from Italy. "Due Uve" means "two grapes," in this case an equal blend of Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. I really love this wine. You'll love the peach, apricot and the herbal, grassy notes. This, too, is perfect for a party. Almost anyone who likes cool, crisp white wines will go crazy over this one.