Looking to broaden your white wine horizons? Why not do it for National White Wine Day? Yes, it’s anther “XXX” day, but I do find the wine days are fun ways to explore things I don’t necessarily think about. It’s funny, because when I first started drinking wine, you were hard pressed to get me to drink much white wine. I was all about Pinot Noir and then eventually bolder red wines. You know, after I got past my 5-gallon box of White Zinfandel phase. Hey, we all have to start somewhere! And it was that way for a while. But over the years, things began to shift.

These days, I drink as much, and likely more, white and sparkling wine as I do red wine. I think one of the biggest factors in that shift happened when I really began to enjoy my wines with food as opposed to just drinking them on their own. To be a good pairing partner, wines need to have acidity and so many times, white wines deliver on that must-have characteristic. Don’t get me wrong, red wines have acidity too – Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese are all known for their high levels of acidity – but the refreshing nature of many lighter styles of wines just seem so welcome at the table. Of course, it’s not all about acid and at the end of the day, the wine needs to be balanced. I mean, I don’t want to drink lemon juice either! But even as an evolved white wine drinker, and a somewhat adventurous wine drinker, I do find myself going to the same white wines that I love. Chardonnay (I will fight you close-minded ABC’ers!) and Riesling are never far from my mind. But of course, there is so much more to discover when it comes to white wines. So let’s step out of our comfort zones together…

Here’s a hint to one of our wines…

Picpoul Blanc

If you enjoy “good” as opposed to “alcohol water” Pinot Grigio (no shame to PG as there are many I enjoy) Picpoul Blanc is a great alternative. Pronounced “peek-pool,” it is one of southern France’s oldest varieties with the best, Picpoul de Pinet, hailing from Languedoc. The name loosely translates to “lip stinger” due to its natural lively acidity. I’m a bit of an acid head (in the best way possible) so this wine speaks to me. Fresh, crisp and lively and with citrusy notes, this reminds me of the aforementioned “good” Pinot Grigio The ones from Languedoc are what got me into it, but I have to share that many I’ve had from Texas are dangerously easy drinking. The Texas wines seem to have a little less acidity too. Green fruits (apple, pear, melon) along with some minerality makes them great for warm days and excellent food wines. Bring to the pool, the beach or pair with salmon, sushi, or fried shrimp. Fried shrimp po-boy?! Heck yes!

Wine to try: Domaine Delsol Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc $13; Bending Branch Picpoul Blanc, Texas High Plains $26.


Every time I enjoy a glass of Albariño, I always wonder why I don’t drink it more. Vibrant and refreshing, there’s not a whole lot not to love. Its spiritual home is Rias Biaxas on Spain’s Atlantic Coast where its picks up its hallmark saline characteristics from the sea. It is also grown in adjacent Portugal where it shows up in Vinho Verde as well various places in the U.S. including California and Texas. Albariño gives us all the citrus notes – lemon, lime, grapefruit, as well as green melon and pear. I have enjoyed Albariño with all sorts of things including shellfish (all of them!), creamy pasta, and a loaded baked potato. I’ve even brought it to Thanksgiving as it’s extremely versatile and handle the hodgepodge of dishes on the table.

Wine to try: Santiago Ruiz Albariño, Rias Baixas $21; Granbazan Etiqueta Verde Albarino, Rias Baixas $25.


If you can’t go to Greece, then travel there though a glass of Assyrtiko. You can practically taste the sea in these wines from the breezes off the Aegean Sea. Native to Greece, Assyrtiko can be found throughout the country, but it truly shines in the volcanic soils of Santorini where it originated. While it has a high degree of acidity, the wines can have a smoother, softer mouthfeel which makes them approachable to a wide variety of palates. This is particularly the case when the wine sees a little oak. Assyrtiko tends to be fresh and zesty with lemon-lime, tropical fruit, and pronounced salinity. In some ways, it gives be a Chablis-like feel. When pairing, think as the Greeks do and enjoy with a tomato, feta, and olive salad. A classic roasted chicken would also pair nicely.

Wine to try: Gaia Santorini Wild Ferment Assyrtiko $49; Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini $47.

Grüner Veltliner

For lovers of Sauvignon Blanc, do give Grüner Veltliner a try. Like Sauv Blanc, Grüner provides mouth-watering acidity as well as some green characteristics such as lemon-lime and herbaceous notes. Lighter versions are known for mineral, stone, and white pepper characteristics, while riper versions give off stone fruit characteristics. In either state, Grüner is such a great food wine. During a couple of trips to Austria, I was able to become intimately familiar with this varietal and have such an appreciation for it. In fact, I had it with fried chicken in Austria, and yass! I also love it with a BLT and oysters. And while it is practically synonymous with Austria, don’t sleep on some of the New World versions.

Wine to try: Domane Wachau Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen, Austria $18; Raptor Ridge Grüner Veltliner, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley $30.


Soave is a dry white wine that hails from northeast Italy (Veneto) and is made primarily with the Garganega grape. Until I started studying wine, I was not familiar with it. But those who have known it for years may not have the best image of it. Kinda like what Pinot Grigio and Merlot was to some, the wine suffered from ubiquity. For me, my first exposure was from a great producer, so I’ve not really had the poor wines. In fact, I enjoy it so much that I use it in my wine tastings. It’s so ridiculously affordable and goes with practically anything! I’m like, “why isn’t everyone drinking this?” But either way, there are some producers out there doing great things with it. The best Soave typically comes from the Soave Classico region where vineyards are planted on hillsides at higher elevations. It is made in oaked and unoaked styles with the former being softer and rounder and more complex, while the latter shows more citrus, tropical and stone fruit. You’ll experience some saline notes in both styles. Weightier Soave is wonderful with chicken, pork, and mushroom risotto while the lighter styles are great with cool vegetable soups, ceviche, and shellfish.

Wine to try: Inama Vigneti di Carbonare Soave Classico $29; Pieropan Soave Classico La Rocca $46.

Cheers to National White Wine Day! I do hope I’ve convinced you to step outside of your white wine comfort zone and try these under the radar gems.

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Bravo
    7 months ago

    HI there Kat and Happy Thursday!

    I’d like to invite you and your team to the Trade & Media Walk-Around Wine Tasting in Houston on Thursday, September 28. See below invite. This event is free for the wine trade. Please reach out with questions, and I hope to see ya’ll there! 😊 -j

    RSVP HERE >>

    Website >>

    Paso Robles Wine is Coming to Houston
    Thursday, September 28 | 2:30 – 4:30 PM | The Majestic Metro

    Attention Houston Wine Trade! Paso Robles Wine Country, from the
    Central Coast of California, brings 24 wineries and more than 100 wines to Houston for a one-day tasting experience.

    This event brings the winery personalities out of the cellars, vineyards, and tasting rooms to your neighborhood for a special tasting event. Come rediscover some of Paso’s legacy wineries or taste from brands that are new to market. You’re guaranteed to find a wine that you need in your portfolio.

    The Majestic Metro
    911 Preston Street | Houston
    Walk-Around Trade & Media Wine Tasting
    2:30 – 4:30 p.m.


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