Stephen’s Pick: 2016 Chateau Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône Blanc, $14.99

Many wine drinkers have not had the opportunity to try a white Côtes du Rhône. Here at the Wine Shop, we have received mixed levels of enthusiasm regarding this wonderful, not always appreciated white wine. When I found out about the subpar feedback from customers regarding white Rhônes, I was surprised; however, after a little bit of investigation, I discovered why. A French wine-expert friend of mine explained to me that many people drink white wines at very cold temperatures, assuming that all white wines are meant to be enjoyed cold, which is, to some extent, true. However, the word “cold” is quite relative. The Roussanne and Marsanne varieties that are the usual components of white Rhônes tend to have a bit of a bland taste when consumed at the too cold temperatures found in most household refrigerators. This could be due to their viscosity, however, I was able to analyze this phenomenon further, and I realized that when the taste receptors on our tongues (“gustatory receptors”) are too cold, they lose some of their ability to distinguish subtle flavors. The solution is to drink some white wines at cool temperatures rather than “cold” and the difference is quite dramatic!  White Côtes du Rhônes are a family favorite and when we enjoy them, we usually take them out of the refrigerator a good half hour prior to drinking, and at this “cool” temperature (rather than “cold”) they are absolutely delicious! The 2016 Chateau Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône Blanc is utterly sublime! A blend of equal parts Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, the vines grown in this region are planted in stony, limestone-clay plains. The result is a superb white wine, pulsating with beautiful, floral aromas and round, well-balanced acidity, with a long, luxurious, creamy finish. Pair this with pork, chicken, duck, lamb, sausage, veal, and Asian dishes. White Rhônes also go beautifully with spaghetti Bolognese and other dishes like Beef Stroganoff that have cream or sour-cream based sauces. Do yourself a favor—try a white Côtes du Rhône, but make sure it’s not too cold.