By Rick Riozza

It’s always one of my favorite wine stories. Either I’m conducting a wine tasting at a wine bar or I get invited over to a residence that’s having a wine tasting party.

Invariably I’ll run into someone who only drinks red wine. They are very happy to be drinking only red wine, and they don’t particularly like people—as I’m wont to do—telling them how good this or that white wine can be.

They are not interested in hearing about white wine because they’ve either had a bad experience with it (I mean how traumatic could things be?—it’s just wine) or they honestly don’t like the taste of white but love, love, love the taste of red.


Okay—I got it, leave these nice red wine drinkers alone.

But I can’t. I even make bets with these people—that if they don’t find anything redeeming in the wine I’m offering, I’ll gladly pay up!—LOL. But still, some will not even put the glass to their lips. Apparently these individuals have sworn an oath never to even taste—let alone sample—a glass of white wine.

So I try another technique—I join their red club—to infiltrate. I truthfully tell them that, I—myself, am a die-hard red wine drinker. And if I could have only one type of wine forever (and why someone is making me this offer I can’t refuse—I don’t know), it absolutely would be a red. However my favorite Châteauneuf-du-Pape from the Rhône or a Barolo from Piemonte gets a bit heavy this time of year. Just last month I wrote about the ultimate pizza wine being a Barbera—and I could be happy consuming that Italian match-up forever. Well—the club’s happy to hear all that, but there’s still no way they’re letting me sneak in a white.

We desert dwellers have again just witnessed the sliver of springtime slipping by as we ushered in the sunshine of summer. Thus, immediately, our wine cravings have us reaching for those lighter, refreshing wines that are chilled-up, crisp, lower in alcohol, that can both relax us and revitalize us, and keep us more hydrated. Andwhites take on this task naturally, smoothly, and fluently.

Summer fare gets just as exciting in our fecund Coachella Valley where we get to pair tasty white wine with fresh and crunchy crudités, citrus-laden summer salads with sensational seafood, perfect al dente pastas, and sandwiches fixed with sustainably raised meats and cheeses with inventive tapenades on artisanal chewy bread, which all span an array of flavors and textures, making a wine’s mission of matching the menu an exciting undertaking in itself.

And the summertime patio pool party or picnic with its grilled foods, tangy sauces, and the latest hot and spicy pepper in town all gets washed down with a thirst quenching quaff of your favorite white wine. Of course we’re all wine lovers here, and we more than welcome a chilled rosé as well to the party—no worries!

Let’s play a quick wine game—let me guess: your favorite chilled wine of the summer is a . . . Champagne or Sparkling wine! Mais Oui! There you go! No need to spend any time deciding on a Sauv Blanc or a steely Chard or wondering what your friends want: The world lovesChampagne and loves the party it brings.If there is any wine in the universe that goes well with anything you’re cooking up, it’s a brut sparkler. In its simplest arrangement, a bowl of Lay’s potato chips and some chilled Champagne with its tiny bubbles tickling the tongue and bathing your taste buds with creamy minerality, high acidity, and hints of citrusy melons, makes any gathering happy.

And let me diagnose—you’re suffering from . . . Pinot envy! I know—it’s really spreading around with all the likes of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Meunier all ready to take a fresh contagious jump into your wine glass. This wine condition surely brings on the confusion as to which pinot goes with what, where &when, how & why? Here’s the cure: keep reading this column for the summer and you’ll become the coolest and smartest wine bibber on your block.

To get a head start on the heat (eh—too late) CV Weekly is on board to help you steer through summer fare without fail, with a quick reminder of the panoply of Pouilly-Fuissés, Pinot Grigios, Pigatos, and the whole line-up of white wine to chill with.

And how fortuitous! Our rendition coincides with the Seventh Annual Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week to be held Friday, May 30 through Sunday, June 8, 2014 throughout the Coachella Valley, where some of the best eateries prepare delicious 3-course meals for your dining pleasure at $26 or $38.

Actually, your sommelier-about-town is already out and about meeting with the local chefs on their particular vino bianco that pairs wonderfully with their creative cuisine. So take a cool seat and nestle down with a crisp glass of white wine and enjoy a few of my next columns as we take a culinary landscape trip through Hwy 111 and its environs.

No surprises here—Rick is your somm-about-town working hard for you. Contact