Wine of the Week: White wines of summer

My second favorite saying in D.C. is, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Who are they kidding?

Either way it’s hot, and I want a white wine that cuts through a D.C. summer like a motorcade cuts through rush-hour traffic. I need a summer white 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.

Fortunately, there are many varieties and blends readily available that are up for the challenge.

Here are a few picks to get a little relief from the heat — and humidity — and provide some summer sipping enjoyment.

I would never have believed it if I had not tried it myself, but pouring the well-chilled Nonvintage Casa Bianchi New Age White Wine over ice and then adding a squeeze of lime makes an amazingly refreshing aperitif. Called a “Tincho,” this low-alcohol blend of 90% Torrontes and 10% sauvignon blanc, is a citrusy-based wine from Argentina that provides a wonderful backbone for flavors of peach and nectarine to shine through. The slight fizz gives a revitalizing boost to the palate. This wine is a surefire thirst quencher. $10

I have a hammock in the backyard that needs two things this weekend: me and a chilled glass of the 2018 Gamble Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. The Gamble Vineyard is shaded against the sun in the late afternoon on hot summer days, preserving acidity and freshness. This wine is a single-vineyard estate, bottling composed of four distinct sauvignon blanc clones, and all of the fruit is sustainably farmed and hand harvested. The result is an extremely well-balanced wine with an aromatic nose of guava and grapefruit. Flavors of gooseberry, passion fruit and tropical fruit are kept bright and focused on the palate, thanks to a pop of lemon-lime acidity on the lip-smacking finish. $28

Italian white wines can be very refreshing and Gavi is one of my wife’s favorite white wines to chill out with during summer months. The 2018 Marchesi di Barolo Gavi di Gavi from the Piedmont region is made from Cortese grapes and is known for being light, refreshing, upbeat and smooth. Stylish scents of white flowers and tropical fruits shine through on the bouquet, while citrusy flavors of grapefruit, nectarine and mango fall on the tongue like a waterslide down to the wonderfully refreshing finish. $20

Portugal has some stunning white wines, such as the 2018 Soalheiro Alvarinho Vinho Verde, which hails from the Melgaço appellation in Portugal, where the Alvarinho grape is king. This single varietal wine has a very aromatic nose, with scents of white flowers and tropical fruit. The mineral-laden palate is lifted by vibrant peach, papaya and citrus notes that add a sense of richness on the palate. A touch of salinity on the finish calls out for freshly shucked oysters. $25

By the way, my favorite saying in D.C. is, “Anything you say will be misquoted, and then used against you.”


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