We’re all agreed that there’s no such thing as “weather” anymore, right? At least not weather patterns. What we have now is more like a senseless “Greatest Hits” weather mix tape; whatever plays next — and god help us all — plays next.
So despite the fact that we’ll all likely be dodging fireballs or snowballs (or both) this spring and summer, let’s just pretend that weather isn’t being a creepy jerk and that we’re transitioning into a reasonably steady and temperate spring. (OK, stop laughing.)
Truth is, it’s been unseasonably warm in most places—with random roundhouse kicks and bitch slaps of angry chill—so the spring transition might feel a bit anticlimactic. And that’s why we’re rounding up some wines, across the spectrum, to make the winter to spring (or whatever) timeline feel a bit more lively and substantial. Basically (mostly) lighter wines, fruity but not hyper-juicy, moderate to light tannins, and enough complexity to stand up to a cold day.
A rosé from one of the classic Bandol producers, and weightier—richer—than the stuff you might quaff on a hot summer day. A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, and Cinsault, you’ll get a bit of red fruit with some tropical melon notes and more tannin (accented by herbs) than you might expect. The 2013 vintage is a lot more sought-after, and pricier.
Cinsault isn’t generally done as a varietal wine, except in rose, but that ups the interest here. You’ll get richer and darker fruit than you’d get in a rosé, with cherry and even a bit of soft blackberry. Light and supple, made organically from younger vines, a wine that’ll pair beautifully with any brave early spring barbecuing you’re doing…
Don’t run away, oak haters! This is stainless steel-aged (and biodynamically-grown) Chardonnay. You’ll get crisp lemony citrus notes with soft florals and some tropical fleshiness, fresh apple, and poky minerality. Bonus points: a LEED-certified winery, in fact the first to get Gold level certification.
Chardonnay seems to be winning the day on our list here, but that might also be because it’s incredibly versatile, capable of achieving the kind of distractingly interesting expression we need to forget the forthcoming April heat wave (or whatever). And yeah, fourteen generations of winemaking basically ensure you won’t get a “meh” bottle. Classic Chablis brininess and flinty minerality coupled with supple apple and stone fruit, complex but gallantly silky on the tongue.
Getting just a bit deeper into the red end here, but still light enough to sip slightly chilled on its own, if and when it’s ever steadily 60 F. Cherry flavors for sure but they’re enriched by some darker fruit and black tea tannins. Not a giant wine, but a bit huskier than the rest, with enough juiciness to cool you down. Or warm you up. Whichever.
Since climate’s a pretty divisive subject, we figured why not include a fairly divisive grape—pinotage. More polarizing in its red varietal form, here we get a subtler but still interesting rosé expression from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. Red berries—more strawberry, cherry—are generous but not over-flirty, balanced by berry-seed and subtle minerality. Amiably flexible and especially so for the price, which means you can invest more in that underground bunker you’re building.