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OPINION | BOTTLE SHOTS: Controversial truth — white wine's better than red

by Seth Eli Barlow | May 26, 2021 at 1:54 a.m.

I've said a few controversial things in my day. Most recently, it was in last week's column when I gave a shoutout to Cave City's ability to grow what surely must be the world's best watermelons. All of Hempstead County was offended by this, and nearly half the residents of Hope wrote me out of frustration. Oops.

But this week, I've got what's possibly an even more controversial opinion: White wine is better than red wine. I'm sorry, I'm just living my truth. If you're reading this, mouth agog, wondering how I could ever think that a glass of butter-tasting, 1963-kitchen-remodel-yellow chardonnay could best a glass of whatever red wine you prefer, let me remind you that there are thousands of wine grapes across the world, and you may have to explore beyond the commonplace chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio to have your "lightbulb" moment.

This summer, instead of grabbing your usual bottle, look to these grapes instead:

ALBARINO

If you only take one thing away from this week's column, it's that you should be drinking more albarino. Whether it's the Martin Codax ($16), Neboa ($19), or the Envidia Cochina ($30), you'll find a liquid version of early summer. Citrusy with peach and apricot top notes, these wines from Spain's Rias Baixas region are what your cheap pinot grigio wishes it could be.

TORRONTES

I was once in a seminar of 60 wine professionals, and we were asked to raise our hands if we liked the Argentinian grape torrontes. I was the only person to do so. It was then I knew that I was in a room with 59 people of questionable taste. These wines are highly aromatic with notes of Key lime, rose hip, ginger and geranium. My favorite bottling comes from Crios ($18). On the off chance that you try this and don't care for it, add some brandy and turn it into a white sangria.

CHENIN BLANC

Chenin blanc is one of the world's most versatile grapes, easily finding its way into sweet, dry, still and sparkling wines. I love the fresh orchard fruit notes of the wines made by the Champalou family in France's Loire Valley. Both their Vouvray ($21) and their "Les Cuvée des Fondraux" bottling ($26) make regular appearances in my glass recycling bin.

TEQUILA

OK, sure, this isn't wine, but I'll take a margarita, a paloma, or even just a shot over a lousy glass of white wine — pinot grigio, I'm looking at you — any day of the week.

As always, you can see what I'm drinking on Instagram at @sethebarlow and send your wine questions and quibbles to sethebarlowwine@gmail.com

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