I tried gardening once. (Read: once.) It didn’t go well. And I’m surprised some botanist branch of child protective services didn’t show up to wrest the poor little wilting Foxglove from my neglectful hands. But anyway, plants are cool. And spring is dope. Also, I’m 15. And from 1997.
No, truly, if spring comes—and based on the blossoming magnolia trees and tender brave little grape hyacinths, pretty sure it is showing up—it’s a season to celebrate. Not just by putting up a May Pole and dancing around it with ribbons (is that what people do?), but by drinking wines with floral, garden notes in anticipation.
Seriously, why wait for your garden to bloom? (Or, when it doesn’t, go inside and listen to Hold On while clutching a packet of Black-Eyed Susan seeds.) Get ready for the brief glory of spring with wines that have notes of the garden, whether it’s straight up rose perfume or pert, tender herb flavors. It’ll probably snow everywhere sometime in May, so let’s just enjoy the garden in the glass, while we can.
OK, the photo is 2011, but we’re talking about the 2013—one of the higher priced Nebbiolos, but worth it. And under $30. Classic Nebbiolo notes of a rose garden intermingled with ripe berry notes. Basically a romantic spring frolic in a glass. Take it on a picnic if you love the other person, or if you just love awesome you.
2009 Andrew Will “Sorella” Horse Heaven Hills Red Blend—BEST SPLURGE BUY
A Cabbie Sauv may not be high on the list of “floral” wines, but this one has notes of the garden, herbs, lavender, and flower petal notes hovering above rich cassis and blackberry/chocolate notes, kind of tickling around the tannins like little spring nymphs. Or, you know, tiny fairies.
A crisper wine, not as soft as some of the more floral bottles, but notes of honey reminiscent of those bumble bees that keep our gardens going (despite our best efforts at watching Veep and not watering plants). Floral notes are there, but the general impression is one of acidity, freshness, not green but bright.
Tropical flavors with that crisp base of wet stone, the kind of thing you’d want out of a richer Sauvignon Blanc. But then between those slate stones, some flowers are popping out, a slight hint of honeysuckle (or is it melon?), soft florals overlaying crisp lime and creamsicle. (It ages on lees, so you get a bit more roundness.)
OK, in a way, yes, we had to include this one because it has flowers in the name. But Pinot Noir tends to have some florals whispering into the (hyper delicate) mix. Here you’ll get rose petals hovering above minerality and soft tannins, with plump strawberry and fresh herbal notes—basically what you’d bring on a spring picnic, if only work would allow a 3 hour lunch.
2014 Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier—BEST BUDGET BUY
“Yalumba” means “land all around” in an Aboriginal dialect. And it’s apt. Floral aromas are strong here, as with all Viogniers, though on the lighter side (think white petals) with underripe stone fruit notes braced by subtle, but tart, acidity.
Gamay is one of the fruitier, juicier, more accessible varietal wines out there—perfect for early spring. But this bottle is more than red fruit salad. Wild herbs bending back and forth in a soft breeze, with a specter of spiciness, like a bee buzzing at your alyssum plantings.
Yes, all of those words seem terrifying, or maybe just the name “Burklin-Wolf,” but this is actually a fine and safe bottle of wine—also, incidentally, affordable. Rieslings are often floral (until you get into petrol territory, but that’s another article) and this doesn’t disappoint, with gentle florals in an overall gentle flavor profile, with white peach skin florals and a bit of April-rained-on wet stone. Sip it in early spring, sitting in your patch-of-dirt garden staring with impatience at where you just planted some seeds.