It's cool at last! Nothing against summer, but the seasonal heat hung on a little too long. Now that we're getting closer to normal temperatures, it's time to ease into light reds and bolder whites. Wines from the Rhone are just the ticket, so this time around, we tried white blends from that region, as well as wines made in that style. Here are the top three:
2015 Alexandria Nicole Shepherds Mark White, $21
This single vineyard Rhone style blend of roussanne, marsanne and viognier hails from Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington. The nose is filled with gooseberry, lemon custard and soft peach, while the palate is round and ripe with creamy peach flavors backed by cinnamon baked apple and pumpkin pie spice. Bright, cleansing acidity marks the finish.
2014 Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone Reserve, $9.99
The lovely aromatics are marked by light apricot, ripe apple and vanilla, along with touches of mineral and smoke. This is a nicely balanced wine, where crisp lime and lemon play against ripe peach and quince, and there's a bit of herb on the smooth finish. Along with being the sole French entry to make the cut, this is also the best bargain.
2016 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc, $24
This is another Rhone style wine, but unlike the white from Horse Heaven, this is a blend of grenache blanc, viognier, marsanne and roussanne from nine different California vineyards. The nose is peach and pear with a hint of citrus. This is a fruit-forward crowd pleaser with juicy stone fruit and ripe citrus flavors. A nice minerality and light acidity come through on the creamy finish.