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Five Shades of White

Looking to expand your white wine portfolio? We asked Jean Hoefliger, a Marin-based winemaker, for some tips. Hoefliger was raised in Switzerland and trained in France and South Africa and is currently the winemaker and GM of Napa’s Alpha Omega.

• Although known for its red wines, Tuscany is what you taste in the 2012 Monteverro Chardonnay, the slightly salty sea air evoked with each sip. Complex and elegant, this Italian chardonnay, often compared to a Puligny-Montrachet, will surprise wine drinkers with its exceptional quality.

• A vermentino, such as the 2013 Monteverro Vermentino, offers a lighter taste with a balance of minerality and bright fruits. This wine is perfect as an aperitif or complement to seafood.

• If you like a dry wine with a more tropical taste, a Napa sauvignon blanc is your varietal. The 2014 Clark Claudon Wild Iris Vineyards, with aromatics of passion fruit, Meyer lemon and gooseberry, is fresh and bright from the first sip to the last.

• If you’ve never had Viogner, start with the 2015 Tolosa from the Edna Valley. Its rich flavors of honey, caramel and toffee linger on the finish. This is an ideal wine for that night at home with Thai takeout.

• Those of you who say you don’t like chardonnay might try the varietal unoaked. Alpha Omega’s 2014 vintage was ready early, permitting an amazing balance on the palate, with an entrance of lemon, grapefruit and white peach, and a lingering taste of minerality, quince and jasmine.

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