Among European white wines, we hear most about the ones from the north, especially the great ones made from riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and viognier. All these grapes are perhaps at their best when grown where the weather is colder.
By contrast, before temperature-controlled winemaking came along, many white wines from Italy, Spain, Greece, and Portugal tended to be a bit flabby and lacking good freshness and acidity. That’s no longer the case today, and many of the wines are crisp and lighter with flavors of green fruits as well as often some savory notes.
Most of these wines also come from vineyards not far from the sea, and they are especially good with seafood — from shellfish to heavier creatures that roam the depths of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
Azevedo Vinho Verde 2014 ($10)
Very good — juicy, prickly, with great green flavors of almost-ripe gooseberries.
Sant’Antonio “Scaia” Bianco IGP ($11)
Portal da Calcada Vinho Verde Reserva 2013 ($13)
The Portuguese version of albarino is alvarhino, and the one here is somewhat juicy with nice, fresh, and lightly tart green fruits.
Monte Tondo Soave Classico 2014 ($14)
Spritzy with green flavors, crisp, clean with a dollop of cream.
Peter Zemmer Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 1014 ($16)
Grigio perhaps does better in northeast Italy than northwest Italy, and here it is well-structured with lots of bright, green fruit.
Moncao Deu la Deu Vinho Verde 2013 ($17)
Good body, green, fruity that is almost minty with underlying creaminess.
Regueiro “Moncão e Melgaco’ Alvarinho Reserva 2014 ($17)
A little soft in the middle, but otherwise good green flavors with some crème fraîche.
Alessandro di Camporale “Benedé” Sicilia Catarratto 2014 ($18)
A very common grape in Sicily, catarratto is capable of making enjoyable wines, such as this one with apple flavors, floral notes, and good minerality.
Terras Gauda O Rosal Rias Baixas 2014 ($21)
From albarino grapes, the wine is quite crisp with intense green flavors and great length on the palate.
Alessandro di Camporeale Sicilia Grillo Vigna di Mandranova 2013 ($23)
Grillo has the opportunity to become the next albarino as a wine bar pour. This wine is a little gamey with hints of green olives and green herbs, but is slightly on the light side.