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Five Chardonnay Alternatives for White Wine Lovers

I’ll have a Glass of

Chardonnay Please, or NOT…

White wine

The hot days of summer will soon be upon us and as much as I love my red wine, drinking red fruit and tannin in the blazing sun, while drinking wine on low carb diet is not my idea of a good wine experience.

Thus to the whites we shall go.

Too many of us, though, when we think “white wine” stop short at Chardonnay. Of course Chardonnays are wonderful. I would contend, in fact, that some of the most delicious and amazing wines produced in the world begin with the Chardonnay grape 

--White Burgundies and Chablis’ from France and Chardonnays from Napa and Sonoma quickly come to mind.

But there are SO many more wonderful and exciting white wines to try! In Italy alone, there are over 17 major white wine varietals — why be limited to just one?

Use the upcoming summer months to expand your white wine repertoire. Your palate won’t be sorry and your waiter at the local wine bar will be oh so much more impressed when you say, “I’d like a glass of…”


From the Rίas Baixas wine region of Northwestern Spain, this wine is crisp and citrusy with a nutty finish — almost thirst quenching and lovely as an aperitif. Burgáns Albariño is easy to find but TRY every Albariño you come across.


From the Rhone Valley in France, this grape is frequently blended with Marsanne but when it is made on its own, Roussanne’s true flavors emerge. Le Casque, a small winery in the sierra foothills of California does an amazing job with this wine. The end result is a wine full of stone fruit flavors, lush and enticing. When you finish one bottle, you just want to start all over again.

Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio:

the same grape with different nationalities – Pinot Gris is the French and more refined version of the Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio grape. Slightly sweet and always smooth. Two lovely versions of this varietal are the “J” Pinot Gris from Sonoma County and “Pinot Gris” from King Estate in Oregon. Pinot Grigio, the Italian version, is usually tart and, in my humble opinion, is the varietal that should be the first to be kicked-off the island (Survivor), UNLESS, it is from the Santa Margarita winery, then it should be consumed in copious quantities.


Say the name fast with an accent on the ending and you will know this varietal hails from Argentina! A relative of the Chardonnay grape, Torrontés is sneaking its way into the hearts and palates of many Chardonnay lovers. It is incredibly aromatic with a lovely mouthfeel and a flavor profile of ripe stone fruits such as apricots. My favorite areas for Torrontés are both in the Salta region in Northern Argentina, the Calchaquí Valley and Cafayate Valley respectively. Cafayate wines are a bit more difficult to find but a good one from Calchaquí is Colomé.


The actual grape varietal is Chenin Blanc but the wine is French so takes its name from the region it is from.  Vouvrays run the gamut for styles – they are made as sparkling, dry, medium and sweet although most are in the middle at slightly sweet. PERFECT for summer, Vouvrays offer creamy lemon and citris notes with refreshing acidity. One to absolutely look for is 2009 Auguste Bonhomme Vouvray La Forcine Demi-Sec , a beautifully sweet summer sipping wine!



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About The Author
Roxanne Langer
Sommelier, international wine judge, marketing director of various wineries and wine writer/author, Roxasnne has over 20 years experience in the international wine industry. Currently, Roxanne owns and operates WineFUNdamentals, a wine edutainment and experience company which provides wine programs to corporations, associations and universities. These programs include key note addresses, breakouts, wine incentive travel, wine seminars, food and wine pairing programs, wine receptions and dinners and wine team building. She is also also an adjunct wine professor for a culinary college and a university.

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