In a country that’s hot and humid, and pretty much summer nearly all year round, one would imagine that the go-to wine choice would be a nicely chilled, refreshing white wine, thinking along the lines of a cold beer, or the Coca-Cola on ice staple. While people tend to grab a bottle of red much more often than they do white, I invite you to get cozy with these taste profiles of white wine.
- Dry means the opposite of sweet in wine-speak. In the sweetness spectrum for instance, not sweet is described as dry. Whereas, mildly sweet is off-dry, and sweet is well, sweet.
- Crisp is the fresh, brisk feeling in the mouth referencing the wine’s acidity as well as the low levels of sugar content. Crisp wines act as a palate cleanser. Take lemon juice for example. It is acidic but it lacks sweetness versus a soda which is acidic but sweet.
- Fruity is a descriptor of a wine’s taste and aroma profile that is predominantly fruit-based.
This style of white wine would be my #1 choice to quench your thirst in this heat. It doesn’t weigh much on your palate as it’s very light. Think water! Wines in this category tend to be very easy-drinking and enjoyable with or without food. It is for this reason that Dry, crisp and fruity wines go great with light starters like a goat cheese salad, or seafood before a main course as they also prep your palate.
- Mellow describes a soft, smooth wine with no bite or harshness. The acidity is a lot softer and less pronounced.
- Floral is defined by a predominance of flowery notes in wine.
Mellow and floral whites are a little more complex, and often enjoyed more with food. These wines go great with Asian and spicy food because the heat in the mouth squares off with the layers of flavors in this type of wine. I heartily enjoy Thai Green Curry with a Pinot Gris from Alsace. The less intense tropical fruits and more subtle acidity goes really well with mildly-spiced, aromatic and richly-herbed dish because of the cooling effect these wines have on spicier food.
One last set of definitions!
- Rich describes a stronger impression of flavors and body in the wine. Rich wines often weigh more on the palate aka full-bodied.
- Creamy is the opposite of crisp. Where crisp suggests a high level of acidity waking up the sides of your tongue, creamy, on the other hand, has a rounder feeling in the mouth. Think of butter and fatty food like cream, yogurt, milk.
While I enjoy the other taste profiles too, this, above all, definitely is my favorite because of the low acid and creaminess. I like to drink this with food. This buttery wine style can be enjoyed with anything buttery really in terms of sauce, or as a sautéing agent. I enjoy a Burgundy white, specifically a Puligny Montrachet from Joseph Drouhin with scallops and chanterelle mushrooms when I’m feeling fancy. Or simply with McDonald’s fries with a more wallet-friendly chardonnay. Hey, to each his own right?
To sum this up, when you’re feeling adventurous, and want to up the ante on staying cool in this heat, go ahead and pick a style, chill to perfection and pour. Stay thirsty!