Five savory whites to protect your wallet

The Memorial Day weekend provided an ample opportunity to honor America’s military heroes, especially those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country in foreign wars.

A great tasting sauvignon blanc for less than $10.

At a neighbor’s cookout, I met a Lowell couple and their son who is in the military and assigned to the U.S. Naval War College in Newport. I was taken by his humility and gracefulness. He didn’t wear “military” on his sleeve nor did he promote the fact that he was serving. I had to ask him what he did for a living to learn he was in the Navy. The character of these young men and women who devote their lives to defend our freedoms is extraordinary. As the evening came to a close, I thanked him for his service and he thanked me for caring.

A delicious white wine from Portugal at a bargain price.

So what does this have to do with wine? Everything, of course. If you enjoy life, your family, your friends, your neighbors, yourself and this country, there is a time and a wine for every occasion. The holiday gave me a perfect reason to salute all those good things.
On Saturday afternoon, I went down to the pergola, put on Lee Greenwood’s classic “God Bless the U.S.A.,” and tasted a few, cool summer white wines with the my wife, the Wine Goddess, and our friend, former Sun photographer Mike Pigeon, the Wine Butler.
Several weeks ago I promised to hunt down some great bargain red and white wines that sell for $10 or less. We did the red wines several weeks ago. With help from Dick Rourke at Tutto Bene in Lowell and Steve Maciejewski at Stadium Plaza Wine & Spirits in Tewksbury, I think we’ve hit on some tasty, quality appellations that will rock any summer entertaining you might have in mind.
Here are the recommendations:
[1. Aveleda Fonte Vinho Verde, 2010, $8.99 — This white wine from Portugal has the look (tiny bubbles) and mouthfeel (light) of an Italian Prosecco without the effervescence. Serve it well-chilled. Sip this pleasantly mild wine, with tastes of apple and melon, as an event starter or serve it with seafood appetizers (we had tuna sushi) and goat cheese and crackers. All agreed it was fun to drink. If you served this without showing your guests the label, they would most assuredly ask what kind of wine was in the glass. According to the 2012 Wine Guide, the Aveleda Fonte is a blend of four grapes.
[2. Swallow Gewurztraminer, 2008, $8.99 — From Swallow Cellars in Oregon comes this wonderfully crafted grape that fills the mouth with nice floral and fruit flavors. This wine is constructed in neither a dry or sweet style, but a perfect balance that makes it more intriguing with each sip. The producer’s tasting notes suggest “mangoes, pineapples and Asian spices.” The Wine Goddess agreed, using the description “good intensity.” I wish I had her palate. If you were thinking about trying this varietal for the first time, this is the one to give it a go. I’m sure you’ll embrace it.
3. Jean Dumont Vouvray, 2008, $9.99 — The French gave us a wonderful gift in the Statue of Liberty and this is another at a rock-bottom price: a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. It is so crisp, clean, vibrant and tart that it makes you want to praise the glory of the ground where this grape was grown. A light-bodied wine with high acidic content, it will enhance fried foods, salads, and most spicy Asian dishes. My suggestion: Drink this and watch Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Viva la Vouvray!
4. 90+ Cellars, Lot 2, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010, $9.99 — Ninety Plus Cellars is the branchild of a Boston-based negociant who buys surplus grapes from top-quality producers and creates value wines. This sauvignon blanc hails from Marlborough, New Zealand, the home of Cloudy Bay and other sauvignon blancs that cost much more. I’ve tasted many, and this one is inseparable from the best. Think lime and herbs and exotic fruits.
5. Dr. Loosen Riesling, 2009, $9.99 — I’ve previously reviewed this German godsend from the Mosel Valley and stick to my original assessment: If you want a fruity, semi-sweet wine that goes with almost any food and every occasion, this is the one for for total enjoyment.

Wine Novice is located at Follow Jim Campanini on Twitter @suneditor.

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