Sunday, June 27, 2010

Good, Inexpensive Summer Whites

Summer is upon us. It's the time of year when I start to look for nice inexpensive wines I can sit on the patio and sip with lunch during a hot afternoon. There are many good buys.  But I want to let you in on some of my favorites.  Eating a lunch of salmon, olives and artichoke hearts is one of my favorite past-times. Adding a wonderfully crisp and succulent white wine is the best accompaniment I can think of. When the wine is inexpensive, all the better.

Gazela Vinho Verde: This is a real favorite of mine.  It is a straw colored, almost transparent white from Portugal.  It is a splendid aperitif for summer.  To enjoy this wine you have to be prepared for the green part.  The green relates to the youth of the wine not it's color.  This wine is meant to be enjoyed very young.  In fact, Gazela has done away with any vintage date at all.  It pours with a froth that comes from added carbonation.  The carbonation is very light with only a few bubbles left behind.  This is a simple, crisp, refreshing, and dry wine that goes with fish or any light summer lunch.  It's nicely acidic with good balance.  If you let the Vinho Verdi be itself you can grow to fully appreciate what it offers.  It's only 9% alcohol but don't be fooled.  The Gazela goes for well under $10.00. 

C.M.S 2007: This is a relatively recent find. The wine is produced at White and Hedges in Washington State's Columbia Valley.  As the name implies it is a blend of 35% Chardonnay, 1% Marsanne, and 64% Sauvignon Blanc.  This is a very different and exciting wine.  The nose is exceptional, a strong bouquet of lemon, pineapple and pear, very aromatic. The texture is buttery and oily on the palate reflecting the Chardonnay.  Just below the surface come the elements of a great Sauvignon Blanc with notes of pineapple, gooseberry and pear.  The feeling is full in the mouth with a rich body.  From the Marsanne there is the hint of spice.  This is a well balanced wine with the full body of a Chardonnay, the minerality and flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc and the spicy aroma of a Marisanne. I find it crisp and pleasant.  It can be purchased for under $15.00.   

Ruffino Orvieto Classico 2008: I never seem to tire of this one. The 2008 vintage is especially good. It is made from 40% Grechetto, 20% Procanico (sub-variety of Trebbiano), with the remaining 40% comprised of Verdello and Canaiolo Bianco. It is superbly balanced,crisp and refreshing with a playful give and take between structure, acidity and taste. Apples, lemons, and great fruitiness make this a superb summer drinking wine. The extra long and refreshing finish is especially pleasing. There's no harshness here. Just a smooth, succulent, refreshing and flavorful wine. You can find this wine in most wine stores for under $10.00.

La Linda Torrontes 2009: Just the other day I tried an Argentinian Torrontes, 2009 from Bodega Luigi Bosca.  This was my first Torrontes.  It is very aromatic with citrus notes, lemon and possibly orange, as well.  It's lightly textured, pale in appearance and quite smooth on the palate.  It's a surprisingly 14.5% alcohol so it is quite big for a white. I picked up apple and soft lemon on the palate.  It was nicely crisp with good acidity and minerality.  I did note a bitterness on the finish.  I will try this again and see if it makes it into the Pantheon of summer whites. This wine goes for a tad over $10.00. 

I hope you enjoy these wines during the hot summer months.  They are refreshing, crisp and highly enjoyable.  Let me know your experiences with them.  You can also send me your list of favorite summer whites. 

1 comment:

djoliva said...

14.5% alcohol, hmmm. That is hefty for a white wine :)