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World of Wine: Tasty white wines for you to try

Ron Smith, World of Wine columnist

The only way to learn about wine is to taste it, and that's exactly what I did recently at a wine tasting while vacationing in Florida, and back home here, in Fargo, North Dakota.

My Florida tasting was from the Brotherhood Winery — the oldest continuous winery in America, which is based out of New York.

We enjoyed a very dry Riesling that fortunately went very well with the seafood dinner. This was the most crisp, dry and racy Riesling I've ever tasted. It had distinct grapefruit and pear scents, with ripe fruit flavors, and a touch of minerality that would allow it to compete with its northern European kin.

In addition to complementing seafood, the wine was also a good combination for cheese nibblers. It was a Gold Medal winner in the 2010 Taster's Guild International.

Wondering what to bring to a dinner party? This one is bound to be a winner at most such occasions.

This winery has an interesting history to go with some select, very good wines. In 1810, a French Huguenot émigré named Jean Jacques' purchased land in the bucolic Hudson Valley and began planting grapes.

By 1837, he found more land was needed, so purchased some in the quiet village of Washingtonville, NY, and planted another vineyard. In 1839, his first underground cellars were dug and Jacques' fermented his first wine vintage.

After some changes in ownership and the Prohibition (during which the winery survived by providing wine for Sacramental purposes), new owners realized the potential for winery tours from nearby New York City and the cellars are still in full operation today. If not available locally, the wine can be ordered online and shipped to most states. A final plus: the SRP is around $12.

Another white wine that caught our attention was the M Chapoutier Cotes-Du- Rhone. This very interesting and tasty wine comes from the southern region of the Rhone Valley in France near the Mediterranean Sea. The grapes used to make this wine must be heat-tolerant and late ripening, criteria that both the Grenache and clairette et bouboulene grapes easily meet.

The Grenache blanc is the variety, which when blended with the clairette et bouboulene, produces a beautifully appearing pale yellow wine with aromas of green apples, hawthorn and white blossoms, which ends with full notes of citrus and exotic fruits. The lengthy well-balanced finish makes this a very likeable wine.

This wine is, or should be available, locally, or easily ordered online, and it has a very favorable price point at less than $15.

Ron Smith, a retired horticulturist, writes weekly about his love of wine and its history. Readers can reach him at