By Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue
It might not be fashionable to wear white after Labor Day, but it is perfectly acceptable to drink white wine straight into autumn.
In fact, you don’t need to worry about putting a dent in your bank account for many white wines, giving you great options for weeknight dinners of chicken, seafood, pasta or spicy dishes from Thailand, China, India or Latin America. And they are perfect for those last gasps of outdoor weekend dining.
Here are several white wines we’ve tasted that are priced at $15 or less. Look for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the wineries directly.
San Juan Vineyards 2012 Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, $14: This is a tree-free Chardonnay, making for aromas of fresh pineapple, peach, Sprite and a basil leaf for complexity. Flavors focus on ripe Golden Delicious apple and a delicious white peach with pleasing acidity.
Airfield Estates 2012 Flygirl White, Yakima Valley, $15: This delicious and refreshing blend of Pinot Gris, Viognier, Semillon and Marsanne opens with alluring aromas of lavender, jasmine, lime, fresh linen and vanilla, followed by bright flavors of pear, quince and lemon. It’s all backed by piercing acidity. Serve this with light curry dishes, halibut topped with mango salsa or burritos.
Anew 2012 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $11: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates’ newest label is a national brand that debuted in June and focuses entirely on Riesling. It begins with aromas of apple, pear, fresh-cut celery, slate and spice, backed by flavors loaded with jasmine, pineapple, pear and apple. It is perfectly balanced with bright acidity that provides a lengthy and memorable finish.
L’Ecole No. 41 2012 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, $15: Few are as dedicated to the noble Chenin Blanc as L’Ecole’s Marty Clubb. Aromas of grass, lime, apple blossom and pear are followed by refreshing flavors of white peach, Asian pear and Waldorf salad. Clean, bright acidity lifts the fruit in this deliciously dry white wine.
Ryan Patrick Vineyards 2011 Ryan’s Riesling, Columbia Valley, $10: This off-dry Riesling flashes hints of white peach, apricot, baked apple and slate, setting the stage for a nearly seamless transition. There’s a thin trail of pie cherry juice and orange acidity to balance the residual sugar of 2.4 percent.
College Cellars 2012 Clarke Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Walla Walla Valley, $12: Produced by the instructors and students at Walla Walla Community College, this Sauvignon Blanc opens with huge aromas of freshly sliced lime, a hint of gooseberry, Asian pear and apple. On the palate, it reveals crisp flavors of minerality, lime, Granny Smith apple and cotton candy. This is a perfect wine to enjoy with pan-seared scallops tossed with linguine and a light butter sauce.
Waterbrook Winery 2012 Riesling, Columbia Valley, $11: From a longtime Walla Walla winery, this Riesling opens with aromas of pineapple, lemon custard and rosewater, followed by flavors of green apple, Asian pear and a hint of honey. This is a perfect wine with Thai, Vietnamese, Indian or Tex-Mex dishes.
Kiona Vineyards and Winery 2012 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, $15: Huge tropical aromatics and flavors of pineapple, papaya and jasmine are met by lingering acidity to balance the residual sugar of 1.4 percent
Saviah Cellars 2012 The Jack Riesling, Columbia Valley, $15: Walla Walla Valley winemaker Richard Funk delivers a delicious wine with apple and peach in the bright nose that also hints at saffron and lemon pepper. Those same fruit flavors dominate the palate, which is off-dry at 1.8 percent residual sugar, but juicy acidity and notes of slate keep it refreshing.
Sawtooth Winery 2012 Pinot Gris, Snake River Valley, $14: This opens with aromas of fruit cocktail, lime zest and lychee, followed by flavors of pear, cherry and pineapple. It’s all backed with bright acidity. Pair this with trout, salmon or scallops.
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.