We’re just at the beginning of what will be a long, hot summer — just the time to lay in some wines for summer drinking. Find something you like and then buy more of it; wines just don’t sit on the shelves for months, and the good ones tend to sell out quickly. Be prepared for any eventuality with a small stash in the closet or cellar, so you won’t have to run out to the wine shop every time you need it.
Round 1 of our summer wine-drinking guide collects half a dozen lively whites for warmer weather. Serve them well-chilled as apéritifs and with summer salads and seafood.
2013 Masseria Li Veli Verdeca Valle d’Itria (Puglia, Italy)
A summer standby in our household, this white from Puglia in southern Italy is made from an ancient grape variety called Verdeca, with a small percentage of Fiano Minutolo. Scented with citrus and flowers, it has a mineralogy and bright acidity balanced by its rich fruit. Made by the Falvo family, known for their Vino Nobile de Montepulciano and vin santo, Masseria Li Veli's Verdeca is terrific with shrimp, crab, and seafood pasta or risotto. $16 to $18. Look for it at Du Vin in West Hollywood, K & L in Hollywood and Wine Exchange online and in Orange County.
2013 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Blanc (Loire Valley, France)
One of the best producers in the Sancerre appellation, Domaine Vacheron is known for both its rouge from Pinot Noir and the Sancerre Blanc. This is the wine you want to open on a hot summer afternoon. Does Sauvignon Blanc get any better than this? The 2013 exhibits classic aromas of grapefruit peel and flint. The taste is cool and pure, with a racy acidity and the minerality that comes from the soil. The grapes are organic, and have been since 2003. And at $30, it's actually a great value for a top Sauvignon Blanc. Consider this your summer splurge. Look for it at BevMo at various locations, K&L in Hollywood, Wally’s in West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, Wine Exchange online and in Santa Ana, and Wine House in Los Angeles.
2014 Tendu California White Wine (California)
Steve Matthiessen of Matthiesson Family Vineyards has a great idea with this California white wine, bottled by the liter instead of the normal 750ml bottle. This year’s version has a high proportion of the Italian grape Vermentino blended with French Colombard and a very small amount of Chardonnay. Matthiessen’s day job is vineyard manager for a number of highly regarded estates, so he knows exactly where to source fruit for this cool-toned white. With its zesty notes of citrus and focus on fruit, Tendu white wine stakes out a new territory for table wine made in California. A great value to get you through the summer. About $20 for a 1-liter bottle. Look for it at Domaine LA and K&L in Hollywood, and the Wine Country in Signal Hill.
2013 Siete Vidas Albarín Blanco (Asturias, Spain)
This white from northern Spain is brought in by Alex Russan, who bottles handpicked sherries from Spain under the name Alexander Jules. This, his first venture outside the Sherry Triangle, comes from Bodega Vidas in Asturias. Founded in 2012 by Beatriz Pérez and Pepe Flóres, the winery has vineyards so incredibly steep they can only be worked by hand. Made from the rare Albarín Blanco grape, the 2013 Siete Vidas Albarín Blanco grabs you first with its gentle herbal perfume. The taste is clean and pure, finishing with a touch of lime. Pair this Spanish white with sushi or grilled fish. About $28. Look for it at Wine House in Los Angeles, K&L in Hollywood and Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits and Cheese in Los Angeles.
2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling (Columbia Valley, Wash.)
A mouthwatering, slightly off-dry Riesling from Germany’s Dr. Loosen in partnership with Chateau Ste. Michelle, made in Washington’s cool climate Columbia Valley. With its bracing minerality and bright acidity, Eroica Riesling is perfect with Thai and other southeast Asian cuisines. From $16 to $19. Look for it at BevMo at various locations, K&L in Hollywood, Total Wine & More at various locales, Wine House in Los Angeles and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills.
2014 Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti (Piedmont, Italy)
You know those moments when you’re sitting around after dinner and want to keep sitting for just a little while more? That’s when to pull out a chilled bottle of Moscato d’Asti, the lightly sparkling muscat from Italy’s Piedmont. Paolo Saracco is virtually the king of Moscato d’Asti and in 2014 produced one of his best ever. Yes, it's slightly sweet — but it's balanced with acidity and mineralogy. The effect is like biting into a ripe, juicy pear. From $13 to $15. Look for it at Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice, K&L in Hollywood, Los Angeles Wine Co. in Los Angeles, Wally’s in West Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, and Wine Exchange online and in Santa Ana.
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