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Chenin Blanc: The Versatile White Wine Choice

Chenin Blanc: The Versatile White Wine Choice

The shape-shifting grape delivers a plethora of quaffable wine styles

If you’re looking for a white wine to suit every mood this spring, look to chenin blanc. The shape-shifting grape is just as quaffable bone-dry as it is sparkling or sweet, thanks to its racy acidity and heavenly aromatics.

Chenin blanc thrives worldwide. From its native Loire Valley in western France, we like the food-friendly Sauvion Val de Loire Vouvray 2010 ($10) for its aromas of apricots, tart apple flavors, and minerally mid-palate.

If you favor chenin’s sweet side, indulge in Domaine Bourillon Dorleans' Vouvray Demi-Sec 2010 ($19), with its unctuous marzipan aromas and flavors and its creamy finish.

You can also find fine examples of chenin blanc in California, and particularly, the Clarksburg viticultural area, where winemakers deliver unoaked delights, like Picnic Wine Company's “Blue Plate” Chenin Blanc 2010, a lively $10 wine that is pale straw in color with dreamy white peach aromas and a bright, savory finish.

If you like that, you will love Dry Creek Vineyards’ Dry Chenin Blanc. The Healdsburg winery has been producing lively, affordable chenin blanc since its founding in 1972, and, at $12, the 2011 vintage, with its pineapple aromas, bright citrus notes, and refreshing minerally finish, is a yummy example. However, the region where chenin blanc is most widely planted is South Africa’s Stellenbosch. The region delivers beauties, like the Ken Forrester Reserve Chenin Blanc 2010, which is sourced from organically grown grapes and has a full and vibrant mouthfeel with aromas of creamy citrus and flavors of pears and peaches. The acidity makes it ideal for all your picnic salads this spring.

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5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


5 Refreshingly Cheap White Wines

Big red wines are comforting against winter's chill, but they just don’t work as well when summer’s heat starts taking hold. Reds' higher serving temperatures and often higher alcohol content and tannins can clash with summer’s lighter foods. This is where a good white wine comes in.

Here are five summer whites that are all easy to enjoy and pair well with the warm-weather dishes I love -- fresh produce, lighter grilled fishes and meats. They’re easy on the wallet, too! --Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com

South African Sauvignon Blancs offer a good balance between the lean, mineral styles popular in France and their more intensely fruity and chili-laced cousins. Sure, the winery name is complicated, but this wine has a pure, refreshing fruit flavor.

Suggested food pairings: lighter fish dishes (try it with sushi!), pasta and veggies, avocados

In summer, unoaked Chardonnays give buttery flavor without the richness that might be too heavy for hotter days. South America is becoming a great source of budget-friendly whites, and the unwooded Chardonnay from Chile’s Echeverria vineyards is no exception. The bottle bursts with a fine blend of crisp, subtle fruit tones.

Suggested food pairings: richer fish dishes, pork, fruity olive oils (drizzled over grilled meats and veggies)

This wine, one of my long-time favorite domestic whites, is on the lighter side and sports pineapple and passion fruit flavors. Its modest alcohol levels won’t leave you feeling dizzy in the summer heat either! Enjoy it on its own or as the start to a pitcher of white sangria.

Suggested food pairings: spicy grilled chicken or fish, curries

Riesling grapes produce a surprisingly broad range of wines, from bone-dry Trockens to decadently sweet Eiswein. The flavors in this Clean Slate version add just a touch of sweetness and accentuate the contrast between its light mineral tones and rich lime and peach fruits.

Suggested food pairings: spicy dishes (try it with your favorite Thai takeout), salsa, salads that combine fruits and chiles

I couldn’t imagine going a whole summer without a bubbly Prosecco! These are soft, easy wines meant for celebrating life, and the Col Vetoraz, with its drier floral style, is one of my favorites. Around my house, Prosecco is a standard brunch wine as well as a versatile cocktail-hour choice. Its relatively low alcohol content – usually around 11 percent – won’t dull the senses either.

Suggested food pairings: summer salads, heirloom tomatoes, brunch

Tannin – Bitter or astringent flavor from the grape skins, seeds and stems

Unwooded/Unoaked – Wine that is not fermented in a wooden (usually oak) barrel, which gives it a nutty flavor

Mineral - Earthy or smoky scents and flavors

Acidity - Tart, sometimes sour, flavor that varies in strength depending on the type of grape used


Watch the video: Tasting Chenin Blanc with Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier. Follow That Somm (November 2021).