For many, if not most, people, the summer is easily the best time of the year for a well-deserved vacation and diverse outdoor activities.
The heat, the humidity and the type of food that we eat over the sunny season—all are elements to factor in when picking the wines that will offer the most enjoyable and refreshing experiences.
I would like to suggest and review here a selection of white wines that are rather easy to find, affordable and will make your summer more pleasurable and fun.
But first of all, please remember that for proper enjoyment, white wines must be served well chilled. It is also important not to pour too much wine at a time in your glass, as the wine would warm up faster than in the bottle. Ideally, when possible, the best is to maintain the open bottle in an ice bucket to preserve the wine’s freshness throughout the course of the meal.
I would like to highlight a few wines that would be very nice, either sipped simply on their own or that could also pair very well with a variety of light summer dishes.
First, light, off-dry and aromatic wines that, while enjoyable as aperitifs, would be a nice accompaniment to salads and dips or—why not?—with spicy Asian foods as well.
An unusual blend, the Baron Herzog Chenin-Viognier is made from two interesting varieties. Chenin Blanc is one of the main white grape types of the Loire Valley in France and can produce outstanding wines in a wide array of styles. In this case, the Chenin grapes for these wines are sourced from the Herzog’s family vineyards in Clarksburg, California, one of the finest growing regions in the country. Viognier originates from the Rhone valley, also in France, and is known for its fragrant summer fruit aromas. Some of the world’s most sought-after whites are the Viognier wines that come from the Condrieu appellation in the Rhone valley. This wine proves that the variety shows also quite successfully in California. The resulting combination of these two types of grapes here is a light, savory wine with each variety contributing to the flavor profile and to the texture as well.
Another fantastic Israeli white wine that is quite the crowd pleaser is Flam Blanc. It is a blend based on Sauvignon Blanc. However, the second variety here is Chardonnay. While most Chardonnay are aged in oak barrels, here it is not, as to retain all the freshness of the fruit and the acidity. This wine really is a joy to drink! Vibrant and lively, with aromas and flavors of stone fruits such as peaches and apricots as well as Meyer lemons. Subtle hints of spice such as white pepper are noticeable on the finish.
There are also white wines that can pair remarkably well with poultry or veal. Riesling is a noble variety originating from Germany and also quite popular from the neighboring region of Alsace in France. The Koenig Riesling represents very high value for the money. Dry and very well balanced with good acidity, this wine has all the characteristics of high-quality Riesling. Among those, notes of green apple peels, beautiful minerals and citrus pith. A very complex and affordable wine that will highlight any meal, anytime but even more so in the summer. There is even a worldwide festival among wine lovers that is called Summer of Riesling, encouraging the discovery of this wonderful variety.
Goose Bay is well known for making some of the best Sauvignon Blanc in the world. But their Reserve Fume is simply one of the most interesting wines out there. Aged for a few months in barrels to give it more structure and a slightly smoky profile, this is a wine that would do wonders with smoked chicken! While the classic grapefruit aromas prevail, some hints of flint make this a great topic of conversation! For a fun tasting, I highly recommend trying it side by side with the regular Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
Have a great and sunny summer! L’chaim!
By Gabriel Geller
Gabriel Geller is a wine consultant for Royal Wines.