Thursday, August 2, 2012

Six Summer Whites

I drink white wines all year round, but this summer I've been drinking, almost exclusively, whites and roses. It's just too damn hot for tannins.Over the past week I've tasted a few chardonnays and white Rhône wines that showed well. When it's hot, I don't necessarily bust out the most exciting and stellar whites. Instead, I look for wines that offer freshness, pleasure and value. Here are a few such whites...

2011 Saint-Cosme Côtes du Rhône Blanc (France, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône)
Pineapple and mango jump out of the glass as soon as you smell it. With time, hints of clover honey and meringue came out. The pineapple and pear fruit on the palate is very fresh. There’s a creamy feel to the wine that I like, a bit of boldness, but the acid is present from start to finish to keep it all going. A hint of hazelnut wraps up the finish. Great balance and freshness. I’m really enjoying this combination of flavors. A blend of 30% roussanne, 20% viognier, 20% marsanne and 30% picpoul. Solid stuff, and a good value at $17. 86 points

2010 Domaine La Bastide Roussanne Vin de Pays d'Hauterive (France, Languedoc, Vin de Pays d'Hauterive)
Aromas of white peach, rich papaya, also some fresh flowers. Palate: some rich cantaloupe, honey, pineapple rind. This wine is full of chunky tropical fruit, but solid acid keeps it fresh. For $11, it's quite a bargain. 85 points

2011 Vasse Felix Chardonnay Margaret River (Australia, Western Australia, Margaret River)
I'm always interested in a chardonnay from Australia's Margaret River appellation. I usually like their combination of pure fruit, acid and mineral flavors. This chardonnay from Vasse Felix is no exception. Some really ripe aromas of pineapple, pear and roasted nuts. On the palate, this starts of with lots of white peach fruit, with hints of honey and toast. The acid is surprisingly high and there's a great lime and mineral aspect to this wine. Rich, but very focused. 88 points

Rich and bright yellow color in the glass. Aromas of butter, caramel and toast, warm and seductive. The palate shows rich pineapple and mango fruit, accented by a bit of buttered toast. Thing is, this wine is quite balanced. The acid on the finish makes this really refreshing, which is something I can't say for many Napa Valley chardonnays. Quite nice. 87 points

Floral nose, also some lemonhead candy aromas. The palate is really tangy, with huge acid that makes me think more of the 2008 vintage. The mineral intensity is great. White peach fruit and seashell flavors linger on the finish. A leaner style of Chablis from a very reliable producer. 88 points

2010 Domaine Michel Juillot Rully "Les Thivaux" (France, Burgundy, Côte Chalonnaise, Rully) 
This chardonnay shows a lot of finesse for $30. Explosively aromatic, showing ripe yellow apple, lemon zest and minerals. The palate is medium-bodied with laser-like acid. Lots of lemon zest in this wine and a load of sea shells and minerals. It really reminds me of the freshest oysters and lemons. You could've fooled me that this was Chablis because it has great focus and a lot of limestone and citrus elements. Delicious stuff. I bet it could age and improve for a few years as well. 89+ points


  1. Cannot say enough about the Domaine La Bastide wines for their QPR. Their Syrah (9.99-11.99) has become our go to wine when we don't wan to pop anything "expensive"

    1. Tom, I totally agree. Their syrah is great for the price. I keep that around for parties, and it's always a hit. The viognier is really good as well. Cheers!