Every picnic blanket and beach towel deserves a chilled wine to match. Though rosé has grown synonymous with summer, it’s time to evoke the spirit of the sun with refreshing, food-friendly white wines. All of these wines satisfy the need for complexity and style while promising cool refreshment.
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In true French style, the name Sancerre indicates place, not grape variety. But there’s nothing complicated about it – when considering the refreshing white wines of Sancerre remember one thing: Sauvignon Blanc. Sancerre is located on the left bank of the Loire River, in the easternmost part of the region. These wines are light-bodied with citrus and minerality, and exude aromas of cut grass. Celebrated as one of the world’s most highly-regarded manifestations of Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre can work alone or with spicy foods, shellfish and roasted veggies.
Wine to try: Domaine Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2017 (suggested retail: $29)
Despite its literal translation, Vinho Verde isn’t a green wine, but rather a young white wine released a few months after harvest and consumed without aging. Vinho Verde is a wine-producing region in northwest Portugal, one of the oldest and largest in the country. Recommended grape varieties are Alvarinho, Avesso, Azal, Arinto, Loureiro and Trajadura, which produce light and bright wines with fruit aromatics and flavors. Vinho Verde wines are distinctly low in alcohol and can sometimes present an effervescence, aspects that are thirst quenchingly appealing. Traditionally paired with fresh seafood, this wine also matches with slightly spicy dishes.
Wine to try: Faisão Vinho Verde 2016 (suggested retail: $8)
My Saturday #whitewinelush moment brought to you by @domaine_du_bagnol and their lovely Cassis Blanc. It’s a blend of Ugni Blanc, Clairette and Marsanne and makes me wish I was at an overpriced seaside restaurant in Provence eating some kind of avocado tartine with the wind in my freshly blow dried hair. There might be a celebrity sighting or two but they better keep their hands off my wine. 🥂 . . . . #winenight #winewriter #winewriting #cassis #whitewine #kermitlynch #domainedubagnol #domainedubagnolcassis #provencewine #winesofinstagram #dianemcmartin #thiscallsforadrink
If it’s Mediterranean sunshine you’re looking for, Cassis is the jackpot. This Provençal wine region is full of vineyards growing between the sea and stunningly steep limestone cliffs. Cassis is the only region in Provence to produce primarily white wine, which must contain 80% Marsanne, a variety packed with honeysuckle and melon aromatics – this is generally blended with Clairette which fosters brightness and acidity. Known for complexity and high quality, Cassis can even be aged for several years and is an excellent pairing for ratatouille, fish and shellfish.
Wine to try: Domaine du Bagnol Cassis Blanc 2016 (suggested retail: around $20)
Picpoul is native to the south of France and is permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape as well as in some wines from Provence. But this variety is truly known as a Languedoc mainstay – there is even an appellation with Picpoul in the name, Picpoul-de-Pinet. The name origin of this wine means lip stinger, and that’s due to a high level of acidity. Expect citrus, minerality and even a touch of salinity in this light- to medium-bodied wine that works as well poolside as it does with dinner. The ideal match for Picpoul is, and always will be, oysters.
Wine to try: Gerard Bertrand Terroir Picpoul de Pinet 2016 (suggested retail: $18)
Albariño hails from the Iberian Peninsula and is the centerpiece of the Rías Baixas region in northern Spain where nearly all production is white wines. Albariño has enticingly complex aromatics of citrus, melon and flowers. Known for tempting acidity, these wines also balance minerality and a dash of salinity. Resulting in a rounder mouthfeel, Albariño may experience barrel aging, longer contact with lees and malolactic fermentation – all winemaking techniques that contribute to style. Enjoy Albariño with a range of foods from charcuterie, grilled seafood, cheese and veggies.
Wine to try: Senda Verde D.O. Rías Baixas Albariño 2015 (suggested retail: around $13)