My go-to varietal in the summer is Sauvignon blanc. I have never been a fan of Chardonnay – too popular, overdone and I just don’t like the buttery, creamy, oakiness of many Chardonnays. Sauvignon blanc is crisp, light, acidic – the perfect counterpart to a hot summer day. I favor light and fruity (especially those with grapefruit and herbaceous notes). While the Marlborough region in New Zealand is a favorite I have found a few good California Sauvignon Blancs as well. Another big benefit to sauvignon blanc wines is their price – I rarely spend more than $15 for a bottle. A few of my favorites are (tasting notes from the vineyards unless noted):
- Kim Crawford (Marlborough, New Zealand) – “Beautifully bright pale lemon color. With the crack of the cap, unleash the unexpected as an array of delicious aromas leap from the glass. Pink grapefruit, key lime, passion fruit, frangipani, and pineapple tempt your senses. An exuberant wine packed with flavor, balanced by mouth-watering acidity and a fresh, zesty, lingering finish.”
- Villa Maria Estate (Marlborough, New Zealand) – “This intense Sauvignon Blanc is alive with a myriad of flavours dominated by gooseberry, passionfruit, fresh citrus, melon and herbaceous aromas. The wine has an enticing palate with a juicy flavour profile, purity and concentration, finishing crisp and clean with an interwoven thread of acidity.”
- Geyser Peak (Sonoma) – “The fruit flavors are abundant and the acidity bright and crisp. Geyser Peak blends grassier elements with citrus and mineral notes and passion fruit and melon flavors.” A Wine Enthusiast Best Buy – “This tastes bone dry, and it offers acidity that’s so clean and racy, it makes your mouth feel like it’s shining. The flavors of limes, lemons, hay, white pepper and vanilla are delightful.”
- Cloudy Bay (Marlborough, New Zealand) – A bit of a splurge vs the others on the list ($30 or so). “Zesty lime and grapefruit aromas are the first to emerge from the nose of our 2013 sauvignon blanc, followed by nectarine and lemongrass tones. The palate is fresh and focused with ripe citrus, stonefruit, fennel and mineral notes lingering on the persistent finish. From Wine Spectator: “Graceful and elegant, with spice, Meyer lemon and quince notes up front. This is silky smooth but shows tremendous power on the finish where crisp, clean acidity and flavors of mineral, ruby grapefruit and stone fruit crescendo.”
Over the past few seasons I have also become a fan of rosés – no longer for that big box or jug-size bottle of wine. No particular favorites here yet but see the links below for a few good choices at reasonable prices.
- Ten unconventional rosés that prove pink drinks are complex: http://www.eater.com/drinks/21/alternative-roses-story
- Eight superb rosé wines: http://www.coolhunting.com/food-drink/eight-superb-rose-wines