Wine of the Week: Memorial Day is start of white wine season

While the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, may mark the official beginning of summer as June 21 this year, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the psychological start of the season. And judging by the crowds on the National Mall, tourist season as well.

If you stand on ceremony, you might be tempted to trade in red wines for something a little lighter and brighter as the days heat up. And while I drink white wines just about any time of year, the arrival of the summer season gives me just one more excuse to pretend to be vogue.

So, if you’re firing up the barbecue this weekend and you’re looking for some fun wines to share with family, friends and neighbors, here are a few delicious and affordable white wines to consider putting in the fridge or on ice.

The Marlborough region, located in the northern tip of the South Island of New Zealand, is home to two valleys that produce world class Sauvignon Blanc wines: Wairau Valley and Awatere Valley. Winemaker Anthony Walkenhorst takes advantage of the best of the of the Marlborough region in the 2018 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. Fresh and juicy with vibrant acidity — the 2018 version features an aromatic nose of green grass and grapefruit that paves the way for flavors of gooseberry, passion fruit and tropical fruit on the palate. A pop of lemon-lime acidity on the finish is lip-smacking delicious. $15

The 2017 La Cana Albarino from the Rias Baixas region of Portugal is vinified without oak, boosting the refreshing qualities of this lovely white wine. It has excellent balance between the flavors of tropical fruit, nectarine and citrus and abundant acidity, which keeps the bright flavors fresh and the slightly smoky finish crisp. Great with grilled seafood. $16

Torrontés is a white wine that is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be, particularly if you’re looking for a charming summer wine to chill out with. The 2016 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés is a blend of Torrontés grapes from Mendoza and Cafayate valleys in Argentina, where the days are warm and the nights are cool, resulting in bright acidity that lets the true nature of the fruit shine through. Stylish scents of white flowers and tropical fruits shine through on the bouquet while citrusy flavors of grapefruit, nectarine and mango fall onto the tongue. The wonderfully refreshing finish features hints of white peach. Perfect with a hammock. $17

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