Don't put away your shorts just yet — Indian Summer will be right along. Soon enough we'll be writing of substantial red wines andports to enjoy by the fire, but for now, sneak in a few more days of summer-like weather and nights sans sweaters on the patio. As you consider your wines for these dwindling days, it's a perfect time to enjoy white blends created for easy enjoyment.
Blends have often been the province of red wines, but they are making headlines with whites of the U.S. and abroad. Over time, winemakers have realized that blends are an opportunity to take their creative and winemaking skills a step further to craft wines that range from the whimsical to the serious and sublime. Generally, blended wines are "named" wines, in that the name of the grape is not the identifier (i.e., chardonnay) but rather a coined term that reflects the winemaker's intent or sense of humor.
Here then are some favorite white blends:
Conundrum is a rich, layered blend from the owners of Caymus Vineyards, a longtime maker of high quality cabernet. Depending on the harvest, the proportions of the grapes can shift from year to year. True to its name, the fun of this wine is to solve the riddle of the grapes and proportions used from year to year. The foundation of the wine is sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and muscat canelli, along with smaller amounts of semillon and viognier.
Sokol Blosser's "Evolution" is a white blend from Oregon's Willamette Valley, a favorite for its versatility and approachability.It's a blend of nine grapes ranging from the known (chardonnay, semillon and white riesling) to the obscure (i.e., Muller-Thurgau and Sylvaner). You can often find this wine in small specialty stores and larger chains such as World Market. Check out the web site www.evolutionwine.com.
Marquis Phillips' "Holly's Blend" is the product of a partnership between an American importer and two Australian winemakers.Much like the quirkiness of the group's other wines, "Holly's Blend" is has a personality all its own. More of a single varietal than a blend, "Holly's Blend" is created primarily from verhelho, a versatile grape originating from Portugal but now grown in the popular McLaren Vale and Hunter's Valley regions. Certain vintages are more blended, with the winemakers pulling in percentages of semillon.