Summer brings a particular state of mind. Everything is a little slower, the days are longer, and the sunshine compensates for the lack of sleep due to late nights spent in the backyard gathering with friends. There is a common theme between the type of food we eat, the music we listen to and the books we read during the summer – light and joyful. And I would say, at least for me, it is the same for the wine. And the summer heat is conducive to continuously restocking my cellar with crisp whites.
Here are a number of suggestions for refreshing summer whites to stock in your fridge and keep you cool:
Selections from Michelle Bouffard:
Bonnet-Huteau Les Bonnets Blancs, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie AOC, 2019, France ($19)
I never have enough Muscadet in my fridge. It has everything I love about an everyday drinking white: light and refreshing with discreet notes of white flowers, wet stone, citrus and a salty tang. I can drink it at brunch, at the aperitif, with a meal and after the main course when I want to go back to a delicate white. I never get tired of it. This is a fine Muscadet, la crème de la crème, made from a producer who has the biodynamic certification since 2005. Hurry up before I buy it all.
Anselmo Mendes Muros Antigos Loureiro, Vinho Verde DOC, 2019, Portugal ($23)
Anselmo Mendes is a reference in Vinho Verde. His wines are always a combination of freshness, approachability and quality. This one is which is made from the white indigenous grape Loureiro is no exception. Light, crisp and dry with expressive notes of laurel leaf, lime and stone fruit with a pleasant salty tang. Sardines and fresh steamed mussels are a natural. Sushi is also a great match.
Weingut Jurtschitsch, GrüVe Niederösterreich, 2019, Austria ($25)
Crafted by the talented and dynamic duo Alwin and Stefanie Jurtschitsch, this Grüner Veltliner is the perfect summer wine. Light body with crisp acid and juicy and vibrant notes of white grapefruit, gooseberries and lime zest make this wine dangerously easy to drink.
Made by nice people who have adopted sustainable practices to reduce their impact on the environment.
Astobiza Txakoli de Álava DO, 2020, Spain ($21)
I have great memories of drinking simple Txakoli with my tapas in San Sébastien. But this takes Txakoli to another level. While it is just as easy to chug, it has some depth and a pleasant creamy texture to coat the searing acidity. Light and fresh with notes of lime and grapefruit with a mouth-watering salty tang on the finish. Made for white anchovies, croquetas and fresh steamed clams.
Sattlerhof Südsteirmark, 2019, Austria ($22)
The first time I visited Austria, my biggest surprise was the lip-smacking Sauvignon Blanc from Styria. Sattlerhof is without a doubt one of the best producers of the region. Grown on very steep land, this Sauvignon Blanc offers a discreet aromatic expression of the grape with notes of green apple, gooseberries and a touch of fresh-cut grass. I can’t think of a better wine to enjoy with summer salads.
Selections from Evan Saviolidis:
Troupis Fteri Moschofilero 2019, Peloponnese, Greece ($16)
I have long asserted that the Moschofilero grape is Greece’s answer to Spanish Albarino or Italian Pinot Grigio. Grown at high altitudes on Greece’s largest Peninsula, this wine is vibrant and features a bouquet of peach, pear, rose water, white flowers and minerals. The flavours echo long, and it is an ideal pairing with grilled octopus or vegetable fritters.
Pitars Friulano San Cristoforo 2018, Friuli, Italy ($17)
The Friulano grape is a child of the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region of North-East Italy. This lovely rendition is fresh and friendly with a profile of pear, white peach, citrus, mineral and notes of honey. Dry, and well suited for risotto or seafood. Particularly good length and a solid value!
Gustave Lorentz Resérve Sylvaner 2019, Alsace, France ($17)
Sylvaner, in my opinion, is an underappreciated varietal. Long has the grape been backbone of Edelzwicker, the infamous blended wine of Alsace. Today, it is producing delicious mono-varietal wines. Case and point this bottling which comes from a house which was established in 1836. It flows forward with lemon, green apple, white flowers and lovely streak of minerality. A sublime pairing with oysters with mignonette. Drink over the next 3 years.
Santi Sortesele Pinot Grigio, Valdadige, Italy ($18)
Here is a straight-forward, friendly and accessible Pinot Grigio featuring peach, honey and lemon. Medium plus length and ready to drink. Think cheese platters or sushi!
EastDell Pinot Grigio 2019, Niagara Peninsula, Canada ($14)
EastDell’ s entry level white wines always deliver typicity and bang for the buck. The newest vintage of their Pinot Grigio is light bodied and extremely quaffable with a mix of pear, white peach, green apple and notes of honey. Dry, the fresh acidity completes the experience. Chill well before opening.
Henry of Pelham Riesling Estate 2019, Short Hills Bench, Ontario ($20)
The Speck Brothers, owners of HOP, are some of the most down to earth/affable personalities in the Niagara wine biz. From a vineyard planted in 1984 comes this zippy Riesling which expresses itself in the form of lime zest, white peach, white flower and green apple. There is some residual on the finale, but it comes off as dry. Drink until 2030.
Cave Spring Riesling 2019, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($16)
From one of the OG Ontario Riesling specialists! This is Cave’s entry-level, off-dry Riesling but for all intents and purposes, it feels dry. Lime, bergamot, mineral, lemon juice and minerals mix on a brisk palate. Sushi was the first food pairing which came to mind. Drink over the next 5 years.
Reif Estate Winery Riesling Reserve 2020, Niagara River, Ontario ($20)
The warm vintage has imbued this wine with sweet peach, honey, powdered candies, and citrus. This is a mid-weight and easy drinking Riesling with a touch of sweetness. Ready to drink. Think tacos el pastor or ceviche.
Westcott Vineyards Butler’s Grant Riesling 2020, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario ($19)
This a straight-up, easy quaffing Riesling with peach compote, pear, mineral, lime and honey. Chill well and serve as an aperitif or with mild cheeses.