Often I taste wine around a theme — a particular class, variety, or region — but it is fun at times to sample at random, trying different styles, different countries, and different flavors. Here are seven interesting, nicely priced wines from half a dozen countries.
2012 Ritual Casablanca Valley sauvignon blanc ($18). From a cool valley west of Santiago, this wine has rounded flavors of apples and nuts with a hint of lime and a touch of spritz. Not as herbal as the sauvignons of Marlborough, it is creamy and smooth and just a touch gamey.
2012 Laroche chardonnay de la Chevalière ($13). A vin de pays d’Oc from the south of France, it has very pleasant green apple flavors, with some creaminess and a finishing spritz. It’s just a tad sweet.
2012 Stinson Monticello chardonnay ($19). From the hotbed of Eastern winemaking around Charlottesville, Va., this delicious wine shows the more floral side of chard with flavors of peach and apricot skins and just a kiss of oak — dry and very fresh.
2012 Viña Gormaz Rueda verdejo viura ($13). From the middle of Spain, the wine has juicy green fruits — grapes and kiwi — but is not overly tart. It is a little chalky, is fairly fresh, and has a little sweetness in the finish.
2011 Francois Lurton Rueda verdejo ($10). Light, pleasant white with tart green apples flavors, it has a touch of mint and perhaps needs better balance with its acidity.
2013 The Beach House Western Cape sauvignon blanc ($10). From South Africa and just in time for the beach season — down there (where summer is about to begin). It’s a lightly sweet, full, rounded sauvignon with more nectary notes than kiwi flavors.
NV Bolla Pavia Moscato ($8). A real charmer from northwest Italy, it has well-balanced fruitiness with lots of peaches and tropical fruit. It is so surprising light and elegant that I almost would serve it in a champagne flute!