Wine Guys

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With summer well under way, we are spending more time on our decks and boats. Many of  you have celebrations and parties scheduled in the next couple of months. And, even if you don’t, sitting by the poolside with a glass of chilled white wine is appealing. Are we right?

Hot temperatures call for simple wines that can be chilled without impacting their flavors. Thankfully, these wines don’t have to be expensive. If you prefer cold pastas, fruit plates, veggie trays, salads and the like, chilled white wines will do well.

One wine you should consider is Soave in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. The Soave made in the plains is inexpensive, simple and not very complex. Those soaves made on hillsides are of better quality, but come at a higher price. These wines are called either Classico Superiore DOCG or Colli Scaligeri Superiore DOCG.  The difference may be the amount of trebbiano toscano grapes that are n the blend – this is a variety not allowed in DOCG wines.  The common grape variety used in all Soave is garganega.

Italy produces more than Soave. Pinot grigio continues to grow in popularity and varieties like greco, arneis, verdicchio and vernaccia offer very crisp, refreshing wines for summer quaffing.

Here are several  white wines, including soaves, we recommend for backyard sipping:

Cantina di Soave Re Midas Soave 2012 ($10). Great value, simple and fresh. Made entirely from garganega grapes.

Cantini di Soave Rocca Sveva Soave Classico 2012 ($16). Nice dimension in this step-up from a common soave. Made entirely from garganega grapes, it sports apple notes and crisp acidity.

Inama “Vin Soave” Soave Classico DOC 2011 ($15). Elegant profile with a flowery nose and mineral and almond notes mingled with apple flavors.

Inama Vigneti di Foscarino 2010 ($24).  The aromas are more assertive in this interesting soave. Honey and elder flower notes are followed by apple and mineral flavors.

Aia Vecchia Vermentino Maremma Toscana IGT 2011 ($11). Composed entirely of vermentino grapes, this refreshing wine has grass and grapefruit flavors and a medium body to make it a nice sipping wine.

Terras Gauda O Rosal 2012 ($24). We loved the tantalizing flavors of this Spanish blend of albarino, loureiro and caino blanco grapes. From the Rias Baixas region that brings us the wonderful albarinos, this wine has generous peach and baked apple notes with a dash of pine and mineral. It would be great with crab and other seafood dishes.

Atalon Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($20). This is a vibrant, crisp sauvignon blanc that would do well as an aperitif or with appetizers. Citrus notes abound with a dash of mineral.


Waterstone Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($18). Lemon and tangerine flavors characterize this quaffable sauvignon blanc. Good balance and nice herbal notes keep it interesting.

Stonestreet Terrace Ridge Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2011 ($35). This Bordeaux-style blend is a tantalizing spin on sauvignon blanc. Using mountain-grow grapes, it has a range of aromas and flavors. Fig, mango and lemongrass are just a few.

Bonterra Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($15). One of the early and most reliable organic wine producers in California, Bonterra continues to knock out a beautiful sauvignon blanc year after year. The fruit is drawn from Lake and Mendocino counties. A dash of muscat and chardonnay is added to the blend to give it some roundness and dimension. Grapefruit and melon notes highlight the wine.

Benziger Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2012 ($15).  Expect to find lots of bright citrus aromas and the classic grapefruit flavors in this wonderful North Coast sauvignon blanc.


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