Written by: Katie Kelly Bell
Summer is the best time to drink juicy, mouth-watering white wines—especially ones with a linear, mineral edge. Varietals such as Pinot Grigio (from northern Italy), Vermentino, Rosé, and Sauvignon Blanc are obvious choices—but if you like some richness along with freshness, consider Burgundian Chardonnay. And, if you’re tuned into Wimbledon right now, pour a glass of Lanson Le Black Label Brut Champagne and celebrate summer like the pros who will be sipping their own glass if they win. (Lanson is the offcial Champagne of Wimbledon and some bottles come wrapped with a fetching 2021 Wimbledon Court Jacket.) Below are some ideas—from bargains to splurges—to start shopping for.
Most Impressive Value
Infine 1939 Pinot Grigio DOC 2017: A wine produced to honor the life of wine importer David Taub, considered to be the “Father of Pinot Grigio” because of the role he played (beginning in the 1970s) in introducing Pinot Grigio to thirsty and thankful Americans. Indeed, Taub’s first importing client was Cavit, a leading cooperative in Trentino comprised of 4,500 farming families, Today, Cavit is the number one Pinot Grigio in the United States. Infine is the ultimate expression of the varietal, made from vineyards located at the highest possible altitude that Pinot Grigio can tolerate—teasing out satiny tropical fruit notes layered with savory minerality. Aged 10 months in the cellar and one year in bottle (which is unusual for Pinot Grigio) this wine opens with full-throated expression of fruit—honeyed and ripe with a laser edge of acidity. At $27 a bottle it is a ridiculous bargain. There isn’t much of this wine, grown in these conditions one can see why, so buy a case once you find it.
Rose, of Course
Château Peyrassol Rosé AOP Côtes de Provence, 2020: Crafted from the Domaine’s oldest vines –which produce a lower yield of fruit and more concentrated flavors, this rose is composed of Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Ugni Blanc and Rolle. It’s juicy, lush and full of crushed strawberries on the palate, balanced with the trademark Provencal freshness that we love about rose wines.
Domaines Ott Château Romassan Rosé, Bandol 2020: A beautifully balanced and uncommon rose mainly composed of Mourvedre with small amounts of Grenache for texture, Cinsault for softness and Syrah for ripe roundness. It is a wine of surprising depth, power and complexity with a vibrant palate of orange peel and white flowers. Be bold and pair it with a spicy meal, the structure will hold up nicely and it can easily age five years or more.
Albert Bichot Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches, 2019: This is a compelling Chardonnay from a traditionally red wine district in Burgundy—Alberic Bichot planted Chardonnay in this plot because he loved the because of the purity, energy, and vibrancy the terroir imparted to the wine. The palate shows tropical richness with a note of beeswax and a there is a firm vibrant freshness in the finish.
Albert Bichot Nuit St. Georges 2019: Yet another marvelous Chardonnay from a district that is mostly planted with Pinot Noir. Indeed, 98% of this district is planted with pinot noir but this special plot is best suited to chardonnay. Terraced vineyards yield an array of expressions in the fruit, allowing Bichot to blend from each terrace. They only get about 3000 bottles from this area, all farmed and harvested by hand because of the nature of the site. It’s silky, expressive and rich with buttery texture and ripe apple notes. Simply marvelous.
Olema Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, FR, 2020: Balanced and fresh with lively citrus notes and a ripe thread of pineapple. A fabulous deal for only $15.
Donnafugata Anthìlia 2020: Bright, fresh and crisp, this Sicilian white wine has a lovely tropical note to balance its racy edge. Mostly made from Lucido (Catarratto) and a few indigenous varieties, this is a classic picnic wine and easy to pair with many dishes including salads, bruschetta and seafood. $16
Pala Stellato Vermentino di Sardegna DOC, 2019: Tropical richness on the palate belies this wine’s juicy mineral intensity. It drinks like a lush popsicle and finishes with a savory citrus-cream freshness. Grown on the island of Sardinia, the Pala family uses no chemicals in cultivating the grapes that go into this harmonious wine.