Cooler than Chardonnay

How to Get Adventurous with Alternative White Wines

Beach days and bocce games call for wines that refresh. The lively flavors, quenching acidity, and moderate alcohol levels of several lesser-known white wine varietals make them ideal for afternoons al fresco. Here are some to sip.

2010 Verdad Albariño Santa Ynez Valley: White flower aromas lead to crisp peach and apricot flavors, complimented by complex minerality and a fresh citrus finish. $17

2010 Palmina Malvasia Bianca, Larner Vineyard, Santa Ynez Valley: Bright lemon and citrus flavors juxtapose the textural richness of passion-fruit curd, green papaya, and cantaloupe. $26

2009 Tercero “The Outlier” Gewürztraminer: White flower and lychee aromatics give way to stone fruit, citrus, and kiwi flavors, balanced by a twist of grapefruit and woodsy spice. $20

2009 Epiphany Cellars Camp Four Vineyard Grenache Blanc: Fragrant stone fruit and floral aromas open to nectarine, melon, and grapefruit essences. $22

2009 Chien Grüner Veltliner: Clean kumquat and green-apple flavors merge mid-palate with sweet clover, subtle salinity, and pink peppercorns. $25

2009 Qupé Marsanne: Elegant mineral flavors accompanied by citrus and tropical fruit round out nicely on the palate and conclude with a hint of lemongrass. $20 

Dr. Klapper Riesling, Santa Ynez “Spätlese Halbtrocken”: Citrus, yellow plum, and apricot flavors are balanced by bright acidity, a thread of minerality, and subtle sage. $22

2009 Municipal Winemakers Bright White Riesling: Pure white flower, limestone, and citrus aromas lead to grapefruit, pear, and mineral flavors. $18

2010 Blair Fox Cellars Vermentino: Crisp but surprisingly mouth-filling tangerine and pear fruit mingle with river-stone minerality, almonds, and spice. $25

2009 Cold Heaven Viognier Santa Ynez Valley: Classic Viognier flavors of peach, apricot, and citrus are accented by hints of minerals and white pepper. $22

Jeremy Ball

Chardonnay grapes

Twice Is Nice

CHARDONNAY AT SIERRA MADRE: This weekend’s second annual Chardonnay Symposium centers on Doug Circle’s Sierra Madre Vineyard, where epic grapes have been grown for 40 years, and are today hand-crafted by winemaker Steve Rasmussen. He’ll lead a tour to kick off the symposium on Friday, July 22, and then the vineyard is welcoming the masses for the 40th anniversary barbecue, cooking courtesy of Chef Rick’s Ultimately Fine Food. See and

RARE WINE SALE: Another second annual event is the St. Mark’s Cellar Classic on Saturday, July 30, from 4-7 p.m. at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, where super rare (1947 Château Cheval Blanc St. Émilion, 1947 Petrus, 1949 Château Lafite-Rothschild, etc.) and extra fine wines (including an 18-liter blended bottle of the county’s best syrahs) will be auctioned off to raise money for the church, which supports organizations of all faiths and causes. See or call 688-4454.

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