Fragrant with possibility and light in body and spirit, aromatic whites reflect the overall mood of spring. They’re also great alternatives for befuddled sons and daughters looking to avoid (or go beyond) the 1-800-flowers.com route this Mother’s day. The following wines, all of which have distinctive floral notes, pair well with spring foods—fresh salads, light meat, soft, fresh cheeses, and fresh fish—and “I Love You” cards.
Viognier: A vibrantly floral white from the Northern Rhône with a bouquet of orange blossom, honeysuckle, peaches, and apricots. Its full body appeals to Chardonnay drinkers.
Chenin Blanc: Originally from the Loire, Chenin Blanc is now grown around the world. Crisp acidity and signature aromas of honey, honeysuckle, straw, and melon stand out in wines produced in cooler regions. Try slightly-sweet versions from Vouvray or South Africa.
Torrontes: Argentina’s signature white grape has a hint of orange blossom and citrus fruit on the nose, rounded off with sweet tropical mango and peach flavors. Dry, full-bodied, and crisp, Torrontes is generally a great value.
Muscat: Grown around the world, Muscat is probably the most aromatic white wine of all, with intense aromas of musky perfume and ripe grapes.
Gewürztraminer: Though the literal translation of the German “gewürz” is “spicy,” the contextual meaning is more likely “perfumed.” Gewürztraminer is full-bodied, with a heady nose of roses, gardenias, and honeysuckles and flavors of mangos, peaches and sweet spices.
Riesling: Along with a distinctive apple and floral bouquet, Riesling tends to pick up minerality from the vineyard that gives the nose additional depth. They’re naturally high in acid and made in a variety of styles from bone-dry to sweet—the best come from cool-climate areas like Germany, Alsace, and New York.
Arneis: Originally grown in Italy’s Piedmont region, Arneis is a fragrant white with apple, peach, and pear aromas and flavors.
Albariño: Spain’s signature white wine is light, fresh, and high in acid, with aromas of almonds, apples, peaches, and flowers. It’s generally inexpensive and delicious with seafood.
Gretchen Roberts is a wine and food writer who writes frequently for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, myrecipes.com, Woman’s Day, and more. Visit her website at www.gretchenroberts.net.