By Rick Riozza

The Rite of Spring is a ballet by Russian modernist composer Igor Stravinsky that premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris on May 29, 1913—thus the French title: Le Sacre du printemps. It is considered one of the first examples of Modernism in music. The Rite of Spring tells the story of an ancient pagan society that performs necessary rituals for the coming of spring as an absolute means of survival each year.

A “rite” often means a religious or other solemn ceremonial act; but modern definitions also include the word meaning “a social custom, practice, or conventional act. We’re not so heavy in absolute means of survival here, but rather our Rite of Spring Wine coverage simply includes the joy of the red, the rosé, and the white, and maybe even an orange wine.

And here in Palm Springs, we just experienced Modernism Week—so no group is more prepped to learn of some snazzy spring wines than we desert dwellers. Below are a couple of savvy blancs, a rosé and a chard to start the season that have just been released and are available in our markets. Of course we’ll continue to review a slew of wines of all colors for the sunshine of your love and springtime of your life!


Let’s start with a lovely and fashionable rosé: 2022 Il Poggione Brancato Rosato ($22).

It was our Valentine rosé pick, and we still think it is, perhaps, the most beautiful rosé on the market right now. And there’s a screw cap for those who can’t wait!

Winemaker Notes: “Salmon color with amber highlights. Floral nose with notes of raspberry, strawberry, and spices. Fresh on the palate, but with a pleasant roundness, this rosé flows onto the palate with an expressive core of perfumed cherries, spices, and flowers.

Excellent as an aperitif, Brancato pairs well with seafood, vegetables, and soft cheeses.”

We recently reported, “notes of raspberry, strawberry and citrus on the nose. “It’s fresh on the palate, but with a pleasant roundness; this rosé flows onto the palate with an expressive core of perfumed cherries, spices and flowers.

Okay—for many of our valleys enthusiasts, it’s Sauvignon Blanc time in the springtime. Wine lovers with time on their hands argue that Pinot Grigio should be considered the refreshing quaff for our hot environs. We may jump into the fray on this pressing point, but for another time. Here and now we’re doing Sauv Blanc.

Merry Edwards Winery was founded in 1997 by one of California’s first highly successful female winemakers. Considered a trailblazer whose contributions have helped shape the American wine industry—and, with women at the helm. Today her legacy carries on—Winemaker Heidi von der Mehden and Winery President Nicole Carter “honor her accomplishments every day, sharing Merry’s fierce determination and uncompromising commitment to quality.” Further, everyone loves their famous nudes frolicking on the label!

Known for its fabulous Pinot Noir, the winery also produces one of the best savvy blancs in California—and those who are privileged to afford the wines, well they surely enjoy what they’re paying for: 2022 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley ($50) Winemaker notes: “This lively wine with a golden-green hue sports an aromatic nose of tangerine, guava, honeydew and cantaloupe melons along with notes of white blossoms and marzipan. On the palate, sweet oak is balanced by crisp acidity, with a juicy finish featuring a splash of zesty grapefruit.”

Incredible for a Sauv Blanc, Wine Spectator recently gave this wine a score of 95!

“A stunning white, this leaps out of the glass with aromatic mango, orange blossom and salted ripe melon flavors. Gains complexity from grilled peach, lemon oil, savory linseed oil and toasted herb elements, with a fleshy, creamy texture and fresh acidity. Drink now through 2029.”

Another wonderful Sauv Blanc at only $22, is the 2022 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc Solano-Napa Counties. Part of the Wagner Family of Wines, which include Caymus, Conundrum, Red Schooner to name a few, Emmolo (EM-oh-lo) Sauvignon Blanc is more minerality-driven than fruit-driven. Not grassy or overly ripe, it features delicate fruit flavors and steely, mineral notes.

Critics write: “Light and soft-bodied, it offers a firm acidity balanced with a stark, steely flavor. Aromas are fresh and clean, evoking the scent of early morning after a first rain, with a hint of honeysuckle and underlying notes of tangerine and wet stone. The wine enters the palate with a crisp yet soft quality, flowing into flavors of flower blossom and ending with a mouthwatering finish of fresh-squeezed grapefruit. A long-lasting, zesty minerality leaves the sensation of both subtlety and brightness.”

Mount Eden Vineyards is a small historic wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Founded in 1945, it is recognized as one of the original “boutique” California winery properties, focusing on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Mount Eden Vineyards also produces non-estate Chardonnays from the central coast, primarily Edna Valley. They have great success making Chardonnay from the Wolff Vineyard and are continually recognized as making outstanding wines from that region.

Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Edna Valley Wolff Vineyards Old Vines. ($26). “This wine shows lemon meringue and orange sherbet flavors balanced by salted toasted hazelnut and cardamon notes, revealing hints of wild fennel on the long, lush finish.” What’s not to love here—such a springtime beauty! Cheers!