Fruit-Driven Sauvignon Blanc for High Summer
At the risk of sounding prosaic, I must contend that Sauvignon Blanc remains one of my favorite wines to drink in high summer. Its crisp acidity and dry,
light body are refreshing foils for the heat. And it is often the best match for the season’s ingredients, such as tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and basil—in
short, everything you’d put in ratatouille. The ripeness of summer produce, however, calls for ripe wines. Sauvignon Blanc can taste distinctly herbaceous
and green, but it can also be richly fruity, the ideal style for July and August. Although the varietal represents one of the very best value wines, there are nevertheless many bland versions out there. The following are my fruity favorites under $20 that harmonize with hot summer produce.
Salentein “Portillo,” Mendoza, Argentina, $11
This wine has a grapefruity style, with a captivating floral perfume and ample fruit on the palate. It’s a terrific value and delicious with fresh goat cheese and raspberries.
Whitehaven, New Zealand, $16
A delightful combination of green, grassy flavors and ripe, almost tropical fruit. There’s a sense of lushness to this wine that never overwhelms its refreshment value. It’s not French, but the best match with ratatouille.
Pascal Jolivet “Attitude,” Loire Valley, France, $17
Floral aromas yield to tender flavors of pear and gooseberry. Try it with fish—any fish.
High Valley “Two Angels,” Napa Valley, California, $19
A peachy style with ample fruit and persistence. A hint of residual sugar makes this a superb wine at the table, especially with white-fleshed fish.
Michael Kwas is wine director at L’Etoile restaurant. He writes this column monthly.
Read more Off the Vine columns here.