The Whiter Side of Helix
My sweetie and I took off for an UH-mazing trip to northern Europe over Thanksgiving last year for good ol’ exploring and visiting with my friends from graduate school. As good house guests, we wanted to bring a bottle from Walla Walla for each person we were staying with on our journey. As we didn’t know anything about their wine preferences, we decided to red was probably the way to go, but why?
Like any good Walla Wallan, I love red wine, but a lot of times I prefer white (and feel like a bit of an outsider for it). Unlike the people who start drinking white wine in June only to switch back to red in September, mine is no mere seasonal fling. I love the way white wine can be rich and seductive, with layers of flavors and aromas that range from violets and honey to lime and wet stone, or simple, straightforward and refreshing, a beverage in the best sense of the word. But most of all, I love that thanks to the plethora of solid winemakers in Walla Walla, there’s never been a better time to be a fan of white wine than now.
Most people underestimate how well white wine goes with food. Examples of great white-wine-and-food matches abound well beyond the traditional province of pasta and chicken. For example, the fresh, melon-esque notes and full body of Viognier pair perfectly with roast pork or smoked ham, while choucroute and Riesling are a match made in heaven. Any dish rich with egg or cheese is almost by definition Chardonnay material–in fact, white wine and cheese work brilliantly together, as evidenced by my usual afternoon snack in my parents’ kitchen. I guess we should have thought of that given that we were spending our time in the Netherlands (home of Gouda) and Sweden (home of the cheese-obsessed).
As it turned out, while our red wine gifts were greatly appreciated, everyone we brought a bottle to admitted to being more of a white-wine fan. What I have learned from this experience and further thinking: if you are gifting wines to anyone living in Europe, the Midwest (Europe without the landmarks), the South, Canada, or Mexico – unless you know that they adore reds – take them white. More specifically, take them a not-too-dry or oaky white, like our 2011 Helix Chard or 2011 Helix Viognier. The best part is that they won’t break your bank, either, unlike some of those showstopper reds you might be tempted by. If only I had known.
2011 Helix Chardonnay
2011 Helix Chardonnay has wonderful acid and a crisp, beautiful sparkle thanks to the stainless steel fermentation. It features Granny Smith apple sweet-tartness and a mellow draw on the finish with fresh pineapple and subtle orange flower. A perfect wine for brighter weather.
2011 Helix Viognier
Aromas of white flowers, Asian pear, green apples and honey sweep you away for some afternoon delight. Take a sip an indulge in a waxy-textured mouth feel of honey and more Asian pears. You’ll be left satisfied with flavors of hazelnut and good memories.