Crisp Whites for Summer Sipping
The summer is finally here and the soaring temperatures call for chilled, crisp & thirst quenching whites, made for hot, lazy days of summer. The world is full of such light and fruity cool climate whites, with brilliant natural acidity and steely nature. Their ability to match vast array of dishes makes them an exceptionally versatile food partner and a perfect summer patio sipper.
Beat the heat and head to the isles of France for some famous French classics; crisp burgundian Chablis, vibrant Muscadet Sur Lie & Vouvray, elegant and complex Sancerre & Pouilly-Fume with their crisp minerality from Loire, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc’s from Bordeaux and a deliciously juicy Alsatian Rieslings.
If looking to match a light summer meal with an Italian flavor try an old favorite; racy Gavi made with Cortese grapes in the northern region of Piedmont. Delicate Vinho Verde from the north of Portugal comes with a touch of fizz, a true delight with seafood dishes, as well as its Spanish counterpart in Rias Baixas.
While exploring, try some new and unique whites definitely worth discovering; venture to the aisles of Argentina and try their aromatic Torrontés for a perfect aperitif, Austria’s flowery Gruner Veltliner and Germany’s Kabinett Riesling from Mosel Valley with vibrant acidity and rich mineral notes.
Experiment with new food matches, explore new grapes and wine regions around the world and above all, enjoy those lazy days of summer. The following are a few of my favorite summer whites:
Bougrier Vouvray Chenin Blanc 2016,
This lovely Chenin Blanc hails from Loire’s Vouvray AOC, one of the best regions in the world for producing the wines from this varietal. Bougrier Chenin Blanc is a true delight and a fantastic value at this price point. Beautiful aromatic and just off-dry with luxurious mouthfeel. Pronounced aromas and flavours of orchard fruits and quince. Well balanced acidity and lingering finish. Perfectly matched with patés, roasted chicken and shellfish, or simply as a delightful aperitif. Score: 91/100. Tasted July 2017. LCBO#: 253229, $ 15.35.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling 2015
This beautifully aromatic Columbia Valley Riesling is a winemaking collaboration between Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Bob Bertheau and Mosel’s legendary winemaker Ernst Loosen. Fresh and lively with crisp acidity. Aromas and flavours of apricots, tangerine and lime with pronounced minerality, leading to a polished, lingering finish. Perfect pairing with grilled shrimp with a splash of lemon juice. Score: 92/100. Tasted June 2017. VINTAGES#: 677161, $ 44.00.
Attems Pinot Grigio 2015, Venezia Giulia IGT, Italy
From the rolling hills of Gorizia in Italian region of Veneto comes this lovely white. Crafted with 100% Pinot Grigio grapes fermented in stainless steel followed by maturation in a combination of new and used barriques. Abundant aromas and flavours of lemon drops and ripe stone fruit with subtle floral notes and a touch of minerality. Crisp acidity, vibrant and elegant, this makes for a perfect aperitif and worthy companion to summer salads and seafood. Score: 91/100. Tasted May 2017. VINTAGES#: 707950, $ 19.95.
Zuccardi Serie A Torrontés 2015, Salta, Argentina
Easily quaffable, beautifully aromatic Torrontés vinified with handpicked grapes sourced from the Cafayate vineyards in Salta province. Extra dry, fresh and lively with crisp acidity and aromas and flavours of delicate jasmin blossom, fleshy orange and lime zest. Closes in a lingering polished finish. Perfect pairing with mature goat cheeses and for the most traditional pairing, with hot meat empanadas and Argentinian “asado” (grill). Score: 91/100. Tasted April 2017. VINTAGES#: 389262, $ 16.95.
Haut-Censy Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie, France
Loire Valley Muscadet, beautifully light and fruity with bright, crisp acidity. Comes from sunny hillsides in the superior “Muscadet de Sèvre et Main” district of Loire, only made and bottled “Sur lie”. Great served as a summer aperitif, palate cleanser between the courses or with seafood in creamy sauces. Drink now or keep 2-3 years.
Henry of Pelham Family Tree White 2015, VQA, Niagara
A delightful white blend of 35% Viognier, 25% Chardonnay, 25% Gewurztraminer and 15 % Chardonnay Musqué. The fruit for this blend comes from the vineyards across Niagara Peninsula. Fresh, lively and crisp, it displays aromas and flavours of orchard fruits; apples, pears and apricots with subtle tropical notes. Beautifully aromatic with well-balanced acidity and lingering finish. Perfect pairing with grilled fish and seafood. Tasted March 2017.
Lurton Estates Les Fumées Blanches Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux, France
The fruit for this delightful Sauvignon Blanc is harvested in the cool climate region, ideal for its production, 150 km south of the city of Bordeaux. Elegant and complex, it is very well balanced with lively acidity and a hint of minerality. On the palate; grapefruit, lime and orange zest mingle with the tropical fruit, delicate jasmin flowers and a touch of smoke. Best enjoyed with salads and seafood. It’s also great on its own as a delicious aperitif.
Clean Slate 2012 Riesling, Mosel, Germany
This lovely, refreshing white is vinified with the grapes grown on the steep riverbanks of the Mosel River Valley. They are kept warm at night by precious, heat-retaining/reflecting slate stones which allow them to fully ripen in this cool climate. The result is a light, crisp and refreshing wine with vibrant acidity, flavours of peaches and lime with subtle mineral notes. It has enough sweetness to accompany spicy Indian & Asian dishes, as well as desserts. Lovely!
HAPPY SUMMER SIPPING 🙂