Once springtime hits and the clock moves an hour forward, most people will grab the old reliable Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and consume copious amounts on the boat, patio or pool deck. Time to branch out and try a few new things from lesser known areas.

 

Greece

 

 

 

Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini is a great summertime quaffer. Santorini is one of the jewels of Greek Tourism. With winemaking history going back to the Bronze Age, the almost inhospitable volcanic soils produce truly amazing Assyrtiko. Bright, crisp acidity and integrated aromatics make this wine perfect for sipping outside when the mercury jumps out of the thermometer. Look for Estate Argyros at around $30. The family has been making Assyrtiko since 1903 and is on the fourth generation.

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa

 

 

South Africa is the most biodiverse country in the world, with more species of flora and fauna than any place on Earth. Since Apartheid has ended, international investment in wineries has really improved the quality coming out of the country. Chenin Blanc is South Africa’s signature white wine. With acidity that goes on for days, keeping you coming back to the glass, it is very easy to crack open a few bottles without blinking an eye. Ken Forrester, the undisputed master of Chenin Blanc in South Africa, is my choice at home. He has bottlings to fit every price point, including his “FMC” which is on par with Grand Cru Burgundy.

 

 

 

 

 

Italy

 

 

 

If Chablis and Pinot Grigio had a kid, Arneis would be it. The weight and body of a Chardonnay coupled with the vibrant acidity and minerality of Pinot Grigio makes this wine go down like water! Produced in the Piedmont region in NW Italy, it is only labeled as Langhe Arneis or Roero Arneis. In Barolo and Barbaresco, Arneis is grown on the north facing slopes and is a true value coming from the best Barolo and Barbaresco producers. As much as I would love to drink Bruno Giacosa’s Barolos, they are way out of my price range. I go for his Roero Arneis for about $25.

 

 

 

 

 

Adam Arlen, Sommelier

Adam Arlen: “I am passionate about wine because it is history in a bottle.” He is the sommelier for The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC. Originally from Allentown, PA, he believes you should always branch out and find new things. His goal is to never stop learning and continuing to grow both personally and professionally. A fun fact about him: “I was a nuclear engineer on a submarine in a previous life.”

 

 

 

 

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