Savoring summer whites


Ever since I moved to Old Town, I always seem to have friends stopping by my place.  Old Towns location and nightlife attract everyone and its the heart of the city.  This is especially true in the warmer months, when people are out and about more often.  For these impromptu occasions, I like to have some chilled wine on hand.  Sometimes I think my friends stop by for a glass of my wine more often than for my company!  No matter why, though, I am always happy to take a moment to savor the season with them on these balmy evenings. 

I also keep on hand some fresh baguette, cheese and olives in case guests suddenly show up.  In a recent column, I made some suggestions for rose wines that are available in Alexandria.  But of course, we cannot do without a good bottle of white wine in the house.  Here follows a list of several of my favorite hot-weather white wines, in no particular order, that are perfect for the hot weather.  They are also good to have on hand as a hostess gift for last-minute dinner invitations. 

With the exception of two, all of these are boutique wines; that is, they are not made and marketed in mass quantities by large companies.  In general, I find that boutique wines have more character for the dollar than mass marketed ones, and are often just as affordablemore on that later. These are all in the under $20 category, where finding value is a continuing challenge.  All of these wines are available at retailers in Old Town.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 

Domaine de Martinolles Le Berceau Blanquette de Limoux, $10.99 at Whole Foods. This bubbly had 18 months Sur Lie (on the yeast), the same amount of time required for real champagne. It is medium-bodied with nice aromas of toast and citrus.  This is a great value for a non-vintage sparkling wine.  We need this for the fourth.

Martellozzo Prosecco Frizzante, Italian, $7 at Trader Joes.  This flirtatious, youthful, light-bodied wine has aromas of pear and peach.

Gruner Veltliner, This quintessentially Austrian varietal is somewhat more obscure, and is something of an acquired taste.  This wine has a creamy mouthfeel, and medium weight.  It has balanced acids and aromas of green apple, lemon zest, mushroom, and mineral quartzquite sophisticated for this price range.  Balduccis, $11.99.

Beyond Sauvignon Blanc, from South Africa, at the Winery Inc. $12.99: Classic SB aromas of grassy herbs, with a twist of citrus.  I like to have Sauvignon Blanc with herb roasted chicken or herbed goat cheese.
Barboursville Pinot Grigio, $16, at Balduccis and the Virginia Shop on 110 South Union Street. Dominant note of pear, and slight effervescence.  Not too  acidic.  Wants to be paired with quiche, hors douvres, pasta alla carbonara, fruit salad, etc.; for the price, this is a fine Virginia wine.

Terre les Luzerais, Cote du Rhone, 2007, $10 at Balduccis. The white has aromas ofstay with me hereguava fruits and bananas, and can go with light summertime grilled veggies and meats or fish.  If I had to purchase only one label all summer long, at this price, this would be it.