Skin-fermented white wines are all the rage. While most whites are made from juice pressed off and separated from the skins, a technique that emphasizes freshness, skin-fermentation adds color, body and tannin. This week's selections feature a California gewurztraminer that serves as a great introduction to this style. And we have two bold reds from South America as well as two great rosés for spring.
Union Sacré "Belle de Nuit" Gewurztraminer 2017
Central Coast, California, $21
This lovely Gewürztraminer was fermented on its skins, like a red wine, giving it a lovely salmon tint, as well as extra body and tannic grip. It isn't floral like many gewurzes are, but it does have the characteristic litchi flavor of the grape. This is a nice introductory wine to the skin-fermented style popular for white wines today. ABV: 12.8 percent.
Loma Larga Vineyards Quinteto 2015 Red Blend
Casablanca Valley, Chile, $17
Here's another example of Chile punching above its price level in terms of value. And it's an anomaly: The Casablanca Valley, a cooler climate region northwest of Santiago, is known for its pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. This blend is based on cabernet franc, with malbec, syrah and merlot - oh, and a dose of pinot noir thrown in for extra interest and an intriguing balance of bold fruit and acidity. Creative, delicious and original. ABV: 14.5 percent.
Que Guapo 2015
Mendoza, Argentina, $11
There's nothing subtle about this wine - it will grab you and lead you through a tango of flavors, each one as bold as the colors and music of the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires that inspires the label and the blend. Malbec, bonarda and syrah dance a handsome triptych that calls for grilled meats, loud music and a fire pit on the patio under the stars. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Les Dauphins Reserve Rosé 2017
Cotes-du-Rhone, France, $11
Bright acidity, with strawberry and melon flavors: This is a textbook rosé at a great price. ABV: 12.5 percent.
Usoa de Bagordi Rosado 2017
Rioja, Spain, $10
Just $10 for a tasty, organic rosé? Sign me up for a case. This is made from garnacha (Grenache), a classic red grape for pink wine. It offers zesty flavors of melon and herbs with an appealing salinity. ABV: 13.5 percent.
Three stars exceptional, two stars excellent, one star very good. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.