Photo by Erin Cooper.

Flowers are blooming, picnics blankets are unfolding and people are in the mood for fun and refreshing white wines. One could play it safe and choose to drink Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay or one could live adventurously and elect to show some love to one of the lesser known white varietals. We consulted with Jessica Waugh, Assistant Director of Wine Education at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Nevada, and came up with a handful of intriguing wines to keep an eye out for this season. With thousands of known grape varietals in existence, why limit yourself to enjoying a select few? 

1. Mad, Dry Furmint From: Tokaj, Hungary 

Description: This wine is like dry Riesling meets Chablis. You get the racing acidity and stone fruit of a dry Riesling with the texture, mouthfeel, and minerality of Chablis. 

Where to find it: La Cave at Wynn Las Vegas 

Suggested Pairings: Jumbo Lump Crab Lettuce Cups, Thai Snapper Ceviche, Chicken Thai Basil Flatbread or Moroccan Chicken Skewers 

2. Movia, Rebula 

From: Goriska Brda, Slovenia 

Description: Rebula, known as Ribolla in Italy, is a unique white wine that is made similarly to a red wine. By using skin contact, the color turns very golden. The flavor is similar to Sancerre but with oak. 

Where to find it: Carnevino at The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino 

Suggested Pairing: Arugula Salad with goat cheese, mushrooms, and pickled onions 

3. Bruno Giacosa, Roero Arneis 

From: Piedmont, Italy 

Description: Arneis is like Pinot Grigio’s beautiful sister. With more acidity and texture, the fruit notes are tropical with hints of florals. 

Where to find it: Masso Osteria at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa 

Suggested Pairings: Potato Gnocchi, Squid Ink Rigatoni or Cedar Roasted Whole Sea Bass 

4. Sigalas, Assyrtiko 

From: Santorini, Greece 

Description: Assyrtiko is similar to Sauvignon Blanc but with racy acidity and high amounts of minerality. 

Where to find it: Michael Mina at Bellagio Las Vegas Resort and Casino 

Suggested Pairing: Heirloom Tomato with watermelon, brioche and basil 

If you’re looking to taste a multitude of new and exciting varietals in one evening, we recommend taking a sip for scholarship by attending UNLVino on Saturday, April 14th from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Keep Memory Alive Event Center at Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (888 W. Bonneville Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89106). Each year UNLVino brings together community spirit and a culinary spectacle in a Grand Tasting event that was created to fund scholarships for future generations of UNLV hospitality students. This year’s event will also honor the legacy of the late industry pioneer, Donald Carano, with the Dom Perignon Award of Excellence. In addition to wines from Ferrari Carano Vineyards & Winery, some of our favorite suppliers will be featured at this magnificent event. This includes but is not limited to, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Chateau d’Esclans (Whispering Angel), Delicato Family Vineyards, Hug L’Originale, Moet Hennessy USA, Pernod Ricard USA, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Constellation Brands. According to UNLVino’s website, this year “we celebrate 50 years of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality with 50 internationally acclaimed wineries, spirit providers, chefs and restaurants providing 50 unique pairings, and featuring the Grand Tasting, champagne and sake pours, and the silent auction.” For tickets and more information, visit www.unlvino.com