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Many sommeliers and wine professionals find their taste preferences change with the weather. The body and flavour of go-to wines for winter bulk up, just as we add layers of clothing in colder temperatures and consistently inclement weather. When the sun comes out, wines that refresh are highly prized for their thirst-quenching character. In April, by the glass wine lists are re-evaluated to make room for lighter, brighter styles.

Mind you, not all consumers’ taste in wine is so seasonal. They might consistently shop for the same producer or label, sticking with old favourites they know they enjoy. But for everyone else, the change in season is a great opportunity to explore a wider range of wine styles and expressions, especially the current releases from Canadian wineries. Spring paves the way towards fresh and fruity styles of wines like these.

Sauvignon Blanc

When most any crisp and refreshing white wine is well-suited to warm weather enjoyment, sauvignon blanc takes centre stage for spring as a dry white with high acidity, which can also have seasonally appropriate grassy and herbal notes. Yes, there’s an abundance from New Zealand, but terrific examples are being made in other parts of the world, too. Inexpensive examples from Chile and South Africa often have some peapod or green-tinged flavours that are appetizing, if you like that sort of thing. I have long appreciated home-grown sauvignon blanc. Creekside, Hidden Bench, Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate, Peller and Trius are producers to watch from Ontario, while Burrowing Owl, Church and State, Clos du Soliel, Mayhem, and Mission Hill are doing exciting things in British Columbia with sauvignon blanc grown in the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

Riesling

Poor old riesling deserves better. This noble grape produces some of the most electric and enjoyable styles of white wine in the world, but very few consumers pay any attention. In the right hands, it’s the best grape grown in Niagara, however, even local riesling specialists are devoting more energy and attention to other grape varieties because sales have fallen off a cliff. Maple Leaf fans continue to keep hope alive year after year, but I’ve noticed that riesling lovers no longer talk about the possibility of a riesling renaissance happening. It’s not all doom and gloom: Top examples from Germany, especially the ones made in a drier style from legendary vineyards in the Rheingau and Rheinhessen are quickly snapped up by collectors, and Canadian producers continue to create amazing expressions in Ontario and British Columbia that they sell to devotees. If spring is all about renewal and rebirth, take the opportunity to try riesling on for size and see what you think. Seek out CedarCreek, Kitsch, Martin’s Lane, Storm Haven, Synchromesh, and Tantalus in British Columbia. Cave Spring, Fielding, Flat Rock, Hidden Bench, Tawse and Thirty Bench are riesling producers of note in Ontario.

Muscadet

Wine lovers commonly associate muscadet wines as light, simple whites that exist solely to wash down oysters. But while the Melon de Bourgogne grape is incredibly well-suited to making fresh and lively white wines in the Loire Valley, it can make mouth-watering and flavourful wines with enjoyable peach and pear flavours and floral fragrance. These regional wines from France are worth seeking out whether you have oysters on hand or not. Meanwhile, the annual release of Malivoire Wine Company’s Melon is a sure sign of spring. The Beamville, Ont., winery is selling its 2022 right now and it’s a winner.

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