It’s hot out there — and how many gin and tonics can you drink during a summer afternoon?
Wines are another matter. If you choose well, and keep them chilled, you can keep sipping all evening.
In warm weather, there are a couple of rules to keep in mind. For the whites, nothing too rich or oaky. And for reds, nothing too tannic.
Break out that ice bucket for both the whites and the reds — the wine police won’t arrest you — and your red will suddenly go from flabby to focused and refreshing.
Here are five favorites:
2014 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina (Spanish Basque country)
A classic from one of the top estates in the Spanish Euskadi (Basque country), Ameztoi’s Txakolina (a.k.a. Txakoli) is bone dry, bright and scented with lime, and ever so lightly pétillant (fizzy). It has a wonderful minerality and a trace of salinity that makes it an ideal pairing for raw oysters and clams, seafood platters, sushi and more. Look for it at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Los Angeles Wine Company, the Wine Country in Signal Hill, Wine House in Los Angeles and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, among others. About $20.
2013 Masseria Li Veli “Askos” 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. (Add that one to your store of wine trivia.) Scented with citrus and flowers, this fruity aromatic white has an enticing minerality and lively acidity, making it ideal with summer foods such as shrimp, crab and seafood pasta or risotto. Look for it at K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Wine Exchange in Santa Ana and Wine House in Los Angeles. From $16 to $18.
2013 Tatomer Riesling Sisquoc Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara County)
On a hot day, think Riesling. Cool and refreshing, Graham Tatomer’s Sisquoc Riesling from Santa Maria Valley wears its pedigree lightly. This is not one of your intense, oily Rieslings, but a graceful summer wine with a light, silky texture and a hint of lime and melon. Perfect for sipping in the hammock with a good mystery. Look for it at Domaine LA in Hollywood, Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice, Renegade Wines in Santa Barbara, Wine House in Los Angeles and at Tatomer Wines online. About $22.
2013 Pazo de Senorans Albariño Rias Baixas (Galicia, Spain)
Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain, is famous for its seafood — crab, lobster, mussels, clams, barnacles — and the local wine that goes with all that glorious shellfish, Albariño. Pazo de Senorans’ is lush and fragrant with citrus and flowers. Crisp and dry, it has a zesty acidity and undertow of minerality. Look for it at Amazing Grapes in Rancho Santa Margarita, Lincoln Fine Wines in Venice, Manhattan Fine Wines in Manhattan Beach and Wine House in Los Angeles, among others. About $20.
2013 Dragonette Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Happy Canyon (Santa Barbara County)
Santa Barbara County’s Happy Canyon seems to be a genius spot for Sauvignon Blanc. And Dragonette Cellars shows it off with a fresh white wine scented with citrus and melon with a dry, stony character. Their basic Sauvignon Blanc makes excellent summer drinking. Like this? Step it up a notch with their Sauvignon Blanc from the Vogelzang Vineyard. Look for it at John & Pete’s in WeHo, K&L Wine Merchants in Hollywood, Wally’s in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, the Wine Country in Signal Hill, Wine Exchange in Santa Ana and Wine House in Los Angeles, among others. From $26 to $28.
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