This time of year, my column seems to have a recurring theme — the sweltering summer heat. I get more than a few e-mails and whispered party confessions of wine drinkers forsaking cabernet sauvignon for an ice-cold beer. With a wide range of refreshing wines available, there’s no need to grab the barley brew.
When I think refreshing and light wine, sauvignon blanc always comes to mind. The crisp acidic flavors are ideal for a summer cool-down. Each year it becomes a staple in our refrigerator to pair with our light summer meals.
- 2009 Estampa Sauvignon Blanc, Chile (about $9 retail)
- 2009 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $8 retail)
- 2009 Schug Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $20 retail)
- 2007 Halleck Vineyard Little Sister Sauvignon Blanc, California (about $36 retail)
If you keep in mind that not all rose wines are sweet, rose may be the ultimate summer refreshment. It offers the health benefits of a red wine (rose is made using the skins of the grapes) with the light, crisp qualities of white wine. Today’s rose is not the same cheap, sweet and slightly fizzy wine of the early 1970s. Quality rose wine is neither sweet nor fizzy, and many wineries are producing refreshing, bone-dry wine filled with the flavors of cherry, strawberry and raspberry.
- 2009 La Vieille Ferme Rhone Rose, France (about $11 retail)
- 2009 Bodega Norton Rosado, Argentina (about $13 retail)
- 2009 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare, California (about $18 retail)
- 2008 E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose, France (about $24 retail)