Despite the dime-sized snowflakes that were falling outside my South Jersey window recently, spring arrived on Sunday. As I get ready to give my chicken pot pie recipe a rest and start thinking about when there'll be enough local vegetables to make my sourdough panzanella, I'll also start to think about changing my daily wine choices.
These are three of the wines I've had recently that have me thinking of the warmer days ahead.
Albert Mann Pinot Blanc: This white wine from the Alsace region in France has peach and citrus on the nose and green apple, pineapple and lemon on the palate. Fish with a lemon sauce, asparagus or chicken piccata would make nice pairings. Eggs, quiche or salads with a lemony vinaigrette also would complement the wine. Think of this as the wine to grab when you're going to brunch at a BYO.
The wine is made with 70 percent pinot blanc and 30 percent auxerrois, a grape commonly grown in the region and often blended with pinot blanc. Albert Mann wines have been certified organic since 2000 and certified biodynamic since 2010. (SRP $17.99.)
Babcock Pinot Noir: With this wine, I have once and for all tossed the notion that I don't like pinot noir. I will chalk up my former opinion to a few not-so-exciting bottles several years ago. I've had many since that aren't dull, and this lovely California pinot noir took the nail out of the coffin for me.
This 100 percent pinot noir has the flavors of ripe cherry, a little smoke and peppery spices. It's bright and slightly tannic. Pair with fatty meats like grilled chicken thighs, foods with earthy mushrooms like crostini with wine-glazed mushroom and goat cheese or grilled portobellos, and just about anything you pull off the grill. Babcock supplies a significant portion of its power from its own solar array. (SRP $25)
Segura Viudas Brut Cava: There's no wrong time of year for sparkling wine. This Spanish cava is my new go-to bubbly, and it's a great value. I took it with me to parties last holiday season, and it was the wine my friends and I used to toast the finale of "Downton Abbey." There's a chilled bottle in my refrigerator right now, just in case a need for bubbly arises.
Pear, citrus, lime, pineapple and brioche all play together in this wine, which goes with just about anything, as most dry sparkling wines do. The wine is 50 percent macabeo, 35 percent parellada, 15 percent xarel·lo — three traditional grapes used in cava.
The winery protects the biodiversity of its vineyards and surrounding lands and also practices sustainable viticulture. (SRP $9.99)