For most of us, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer. Here are some interesting white wines from across the country — California, Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland — with which to celebrate.
2011 Raffaldini Swan Creek North Carolina vermentino ($17). An interesting and exotic-tasting wine with lots of green fruits, herbal notes, and spices.
2011 Stinson Vineyards Monticello chardonnay ($20). Nice apple flavors with hints of orange citrus (from the barrels), a little chalky and minerally. For comparison, somewhat like a chablis.
2011 Jordan Russian River chardonnay ($30). Always reliable, always elegant with good body and full flavors, yet crisp and lemony in the finish.
2011 Franciscan "Cuvée Sauvage" Carneros chardonnay ($40). "Wild" ferments using indigenous yeasts are not now as rare as they were when Franciscan started making this wine several vintages back, and they continue to make a delicious wine using this process. This one has lovely floral aromas and is very spicy and a little gamey with ripe apple flavors. Add minerals, light tannins, good acidity for a fine food wine.
2011 Geyser Peak California sauvignon blanc ($11). A good, straight-forward party wine — grassy, a touch of chalkiness, good acidity.
2012 Charles Krug St Helena-Napa Valley sauvignon blanc ($15). The more-floral, more-tropical style of sauvignon with sweet, juicy flavors of ripe peaches and melons.
2012 J California Pinot Gris ($15). A delightful little wine — soft, fragrant, creamy pears is the dominant flavor that expands on the palate.
2011 Black Ankle "Bedlam" Frederick County, Md., White Wine ($32). An excellent blend of five white varieties grown on the estate. The wine is aromatic with lots of rounded pear flavors and a crisp, minerally finish.