As we get into mid-May and early June and begin to see more warmth and sunshine, we begin to think about more about enjoying chilled white wines.
White wines tend to be quite versatile food wines, pairing well with fresh seafood, shellfish, chicken and pork dishes. Dry whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and some Rieslings work perfectly with pasta dishes, especially in white sauces or tossed with grilled vegetables. Off-dry white wines can be superb with Asian dishes such as Vietnamese soups, Indian or Thai curries or spicier Chinese cuisine.
We have selected eight white wines that retail for $15 or less. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
Garofalo Family Winery 2011 Les Collines Vineyard Semillon, Walla Walla Valley, $14: Young winemaker Chad Garofalo recently launched his Walla Walla Valley winery with a series of approachable and affordable wines, and his Semillon is a great introduction. It opens with mouthwatering aromas of melon, Asian pear, Granny Smith apple and lemon curd. Flavors dance between cantaloupe and honeydew, lime and apple amid a structure that's tart yet rounded.
Kyra Wines 2012 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $15: This Chardonnay from a Moses Lake winery offers aromas and flavors of dusty apple, pineapple, pear and lime. With that ripeness of fruit comes a balancing blast of acidity and a touch of minerality.
Naches Heights Vineyard and Winery 2012 Pinot Gris, Naches Heights, $13: This plateau west of Yakima was established as an American Viticultural Area two years ago. The nose of this Pinot Gris brings aromas of Gala apple, pear, pineapple, lime and white pepper. Inside, it's startlingly dry with a theme of apple, Asian pear and lime.
B. Lovely 2012 Pinot Gris, Washington, $12: Precept Wine in Seattle created this brand for Total Wine & More. While the fanciful bee-themed labels in blue or pink (on shelves as Pinot Grigio) seem to appeal to women, what's in the bottle deserves a wider audience. Enticing aromas of guava, apricot jam, butterscotch and Corn Pops breakfast cereal transition into a rich entry of pear and Jonagold apple. Its structure floats on the palate, and the residual sugar (3 percent) is dealt with by a lime-like acidity that makes for a gorgeous and long finish with a return of apple.
Silver Lake Winery 2012 Roza Riesling, Rattlesnake Hills, $9: Silver Lake is one of Woodinville's oldest wineries. Its luscious Riesling opens with fruit salad aromas of fresh apple and Asian pear with clove and honeysuckle. On the palate, the luscious fruit takes a beautifully tropical angle with mango joining the orchard fruit. The abundant residual sugar (5 percent) is perfectly balanced by acidity than keeps delivering through to the pinch of anise in the finish.
Purple Star Wines 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $11: Washington winemaker Kyle Johnson reaches into Caliche Lake Vineyard, a site in the new Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area, for this Sauvignon Blanc. It's a brisk white with tones of Asian pear, sweet herbs, lemongrass, fresh lime juice, white pepper and minerality. Enjoy with Tex-Mex.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars A Squared 2013 Pinot Gris, Horse Heaven Hills, $14: Here's a beautiful example of Washington Pinot Gris. The nose features very floral aromas, backed by peaches, pear, lime zest, tutti fruitti, clove and rosewater. On the entry, it leads into delicious flavors of pear, apple and pineapple. The structure is clean, bright and dry.
Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2013 Bacchus Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $10: This gorgeous white opens with aromas of lemon curd, timothy hay, honey and candy corn. There's a viscous entry to the palate with a burst of lemon, backed by Herbes de Provence and caramel in the finish. Suggested fare includes Asian dishes with seafood or chicken, as well as served with goat cheese.
-- Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Check out their new weekly podcast at www.greatnorthwestwine.com/category/podcast.