Wine’ing About: Varietals for Spring Sipping

Put the heavy reds back in the cellar and trade in for some lighter wine varietals.

The warmer weather such as we were lucky to experience this past weekend gives us the urge to swap out those seemingly drab winter clothes for light, airy and carefree outfits that haven’t seen the light of day in seven months.

That same urge applies to the wine we drink. So this week, I’m bringing you some options perfectly suited for shifting from heavy winter reds to lighter, refreshing wines for that warmer spring weather that seems to come and go in Seattle. Look for these light-bodied, refreshing varietals on your next spring wine shopping trip.

Sauvignon Blanc

This crisp, dry wine is an excellent choice for a mid-afternoon break on the patio while soaking in the sun — (it’s one of my favorites). Sauvignon Blanc is widely cultivated in wine regions such as New Zealand, France, Chile, Australia, South Africa and California. Though the varietal is known for its crisp freshness, the flavor of any given bottle can vary from gooseberry and passion fruit to hints of fresh cut grass, depending on the region it is from. Experiment with this varietal by tasting wine from various regions to find your palate pleasing spring staple.


Refreshing as a chilled white wine mixed with characteristics of a red, this pretty varietal is probably one of the most misunderstood. For many, it’s hard to get past the shame of “drinking pink” due to its eerily similarity to… that other pink wine we won’t talk about here. Others are under the impression that this wine will be too sweet for their liking when in fact, many Rosé wines are particularly dry.

The majority of Rosé wines are made from red varietals you know and love such as Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavors of a Rosé wine tend to be more subtle versions of their red varietal counterparts and their food-friendly versatility make them the perfect spring and summer wine. Make it a mission this spring to explore the wonderful world of a Rosé and “drink pink,” sans fear.

While many tend to turn to white wine for its crisp and refreshing qualities in warmer weather, red wine can still make an acceptable appearance for summer fare. So all of you avid red wine drinkers, you can still forgo a heavy Cabernet or Bourdeax for a lighter option and stay true to your red preference.


Despite its meaning, “little sweet one,” this varietal is typically dry and versatile thus pleasing to a wide array of red wine drinkers, making it an excellent pick for a spring gathering with friends. Indigenous to the Piedmont region of Italy, Dolcetto had been traditionally produced as a light wine but more recently, bolder versions have been produced for age worthiness (traditional Dolcetto is not made to age). Opt for a traditional style, which is typically light purple in color with low tannins, cherry, raspberry and some hints of spice for a light bodied crowd pleaser.

What are some of your favorite wine varietals for spring sipping? Leave me your Facebook comments below — salute!