Tom's blog

Rhone Valley's great whites

When thinking of white wines for spring, I usually turn to sauvignon blanc. Their crisp acidity awakens the slumbering palate from a winter of heavy reds. However, I recently tried a couple of white blends from the Rhone Valley that reminded me that spring is about more than just sauvignon blanc.

You can't even find sauvignon blanc among the handful of white grape varieties allowed in the Rhone. Instead, the indigenous grapes are viognier, marsanne, roussanne, grenache blanc and others no more well known.  They provide similar acidity but often with more character, especially when blended. But how many people think of white wine when they think of the Rhone Valley?

Two wines you should consider are the E.  Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc -- grenache blanc, clairette, bourboulenc and viognier -- and the E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Blanc -- marsanne and roussanne. Both are aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve their freshness.

These wines are for everyone. A few unsuspecting friends I tried them on were unimpressed, because of their bracing acidity.