Versatility in a (pale pink) glass: Top wines for spring entertaining please many palates

After a long and particularly wet winter, the recent mild weather has people yearning to socialize. 
(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

Knowing how to fill your wine glass during the changeable weather of spring can be somewhat perplexing, but if you stock up on a few versatile vintages, you’ll be ready for every entertaining scenario.
It is with some reservation that I share my current go-to bubbly. There’s a portion of me compelled to hoard the remarkable value all to myself. At $14.99, Antech Emotion 2016 Crémant is as well priced as it is delicious.
Crémant wines (made the same way as Champagne but far less dear in price) are ideal for spring entertaining. The fine strands of bubbles, delicate pink hue and tender floral and dreamy cherry notes of this Crémant have me wondering whether the winemaker managed to bottle spring itself. From the Languedoc region of France, Antech Emotion 2016 Crémant is a great aperitif before a dinner party. Or have it on hand for a night when company is coming but your energy level calls for takeout sushi.
While light and ethereal rosé from the South of France is rightfully typecast as a summer wine, plenty of rosés have the personality range and weight to work on even the breeziest spring evenings. From neighbors popping in for a casual toast to longer and longer evenings and the big brunch celebration of Easter Sunday, Cline Mourvedre Rosé 2017 ($18) stands up to everything from hearty soups to smoked salmon and cured meats. Medium in body, delicate in color, wonderfully aromatic and with a lengthy finish, this wine is made with the Spanish red grape varietal Mourvedre. With notes of plum and red currant on the palate, the wine will bring an appreciated brightness to any spring feast.
Viognier’s superpower is that it is adored by dry and full-body white wine lovers as well as many red fans. The wine’s wide array of flavors – ranging from light to buttery – makes the varietal worthy of such a diverse following. Fausse Piste 2015 Viognier ($20) is a big-aroma, big-personality version that will serve you well through spring. Honey and melon aromas leap from the glass. On the palate, an ever-so-subtle brininess makes the wine ideal for pairing with a favorite spring dinner of mine, chicken and apricot tagine.
Another multitasking wine option is the earthy and spicy red blend being made by Beckmen Vineyards in the Santa Ynez wine region. Beckmen Vineyards 2016 Cuvee Le Bec ($17) is a skillful bottling of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Counoise. The Rhone-style wine is an alluringly vivid indigo color. Dark fruit and peppery notes are present both in the charming aroma and the flavor of this exuberant wine. If you’re dusting off your outdoor grill in April, this is the right wine to begin with and then drink throughout grilling season.
One-stop shopping makes sense when you’re stocking up on wine. Most of these recommendations are available at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City. Or strike up a conversation with your local market’s wine steward, who can help you find alternate producers of these suited-for-spring varietals.


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