We’re looking at the diversity of white wines available in California beyond Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Grapes like Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc, previously used mainly in blends, are now known for aromatic, distinctive and refreshing white wines that are more likely to be bottled solo. The Lang & Reed Chenin Blanc shows off the grape’s crisp side, while the Husch displays its richer peach notes. Chenin Blanc paired with the Rhone grape Viognier makes charming, fragrant whites like the Terra d’Oro blend, which shows floral and spice notes on a juicy body.
There are plenty of other options here, including other Rhone-inspired wines like the Priest Ranch Grenache Blanc, which shows off the mineral accents and sleek body the grape is known for, and the rich and spicy Tenshen Viognier blend. Other vintners take inspiration from Italy, like the Ribolla Gialla–based Massican Annia, or the value Pinot Grigios from Mirassou and Terra d’Oro, which show plenty of charm on an everyday-bottle budget.
MASSICAN Annia Napa Valley 2016 Score: 89
A snappy, vibrant mix of apricot, lemon and pear flavors on an elegant body, with accents of lemon verbena and fresh ginger lingering on the finish. Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano and Chardonnay. Drink now. 1,066 cases made.
— MaryAnn Worobiec