It's hot and I need a wine that I can kick back and relax with - whether I am swinging in a hammock at home or hanging out at the beach.
I need a "summer" wine.
The requisite summer wine has got to have enough fruit to keep up with summer foods and enough acidity to keep it light and refreshing. After all, the acidity is responsible for the clean, fresh finish that dries your palate and whets your appetite.
Traditionally, sauvignon blancs lend themselves to the aforementioned characteristics, but lately, other varietals and blends have popped up on the summer scene to provide relief from the heatů and humidity.
Let's start with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc - like the one made by local-boy-makes-good-wine, Gus Kalaris. The 2009 Worthy Five Clones Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley cuts down the heat of summer faster than a cold weather front, with scents of lemon/lime and honey dew melon on the nose and crisp, refreshing flavors of nectarine and citrus flavors in the mouth. The abundant acidity keeps the flavors bright and focused all the way through, from first sip to finish. $20
Argentina might know how to beat the heat, with the 2010 Susana Balbo Torrontes from South America. The winemaker notes that the aromas are similar to Viognier, with hints of peach, pear, and orange citrus fruit. On the palate, it has beautiful structure and the same bright acidity found in Sauvignon Blanc. The summer stone fruit flavors - think peaches and nectarines - keeps you coming back for sip after sip - and even though it's fruity and floral, the abundant acidity keeps it bright and refreshing - try it with sushi. $12
It must get hot down under, because the Aussies make some pretty invigorating wines, like the 2009 D'Arenberg "Broken Fishplate" Sauvignon Blanc from Australia. The fruit for this refreshing white comes from the cool climate of the Adelaide Hills region. According to the winery's website, the wine takes its name as a result of the fishplates which sit in the bottom of the harvester and collect the falling grapes, which are invariably destroyed due to the rough terrain of the vineyard. Good thing that the light and refreshing flavors of passion fruit, nectarine and lemon/lime built on the medium body make it worth the trouble. $18
Any winery with the name Dry Creek must know how to quench thirst. One of my favorite summertime wines to put out my palate fire is the 2010 Dry Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc from Sonoma, California. It's summertime in a bottle with whispers of honeysuckle, pineapple, white peach and honeydew melon on the nose and notes of crisp apple, cantaloupe, and pineapple, happily mingling with underlying minerality and freshly grated lemon zest on the finish that keeps this wine fresh and crisp. Ahhh. $12
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