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Wine Reviews: Summer Whites

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Summer Whites

Broadbent, Portugal, Vinho Verde, NV
Technically a non-vintage wine because they should be consumed within the current vintage so including the vintage is unnecessary. We prefer the Broadbent because Bartholomew Broadbent, importer, insists that the wine be shipped via refrigerated containers to preserve its freshness. A blend of indigenous white varietals picked before they are fully ripe, the wine brings to mind fresh, tart lemonade that is made even more refreshing by adding a gentle spritz. At only 9.5% alcohol, the Broadbent Vinho Verde is perfect for picnics or summer brunches; serve well-chilled.

Hugues Beaulieu, Coteaux du Languedoc, Picpoul de Pinet, 2009, $11.99
Another refreshing white wine for summer from the unlikely AOC of Coteaux du Languedoc, unlikely because this AOC is all about big red wines, but for the little oasis of Picpoul with its limestone soils. Flavors of grapefruit and green apples with a clean, briney finish. If you are having fish, especially something like oysters, try this wine. If not, enjoy it in the early evening as a palate awakener.

Domaine Carrell, Savoie, Jongieux, 2009, $9.99
TRY THIS WINE! Tucked up against the Alps, the Savoie region produces a small amount of wine, 70% of which is white and 100% is delicious. It’s certainly some trope of mental association, but the words that kept coming up to describe this wine were things like “mountain wildflower,” “wet stone minerality,” “Alpine cool air”– you get the idea. Made from the Jacquere grape, this wine conjures images of the place from which it derives with its clean, fresh, ethereal aromas and flavors. I actually wrote additional descriptors like Meyer Lemon, fruit blossoms and spearmint, but the most descriptive word I wrote for it was simply “yum!”

Domaine Baron, Les Vieilles Vignes, Touraine, 2009, $10.99
100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire– if you love Loire Sauvignon Blancs, this is the wine for you. I happen to be among those who prefer their Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire– dry straw, terragon and vaguely minty aromas with citrusy fruits. If you are making pea soup with mint, this wine is the perfect complement. This is a terrific value Loire Sauvignon Blanc that I plan to share with all those who love Loire Sauvignon Blanc but can’t afford to drink it as often as they otherwise would.

Domaine Lafage, Cote d’Est, 2008, $10.99
A proprietary blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Grenache Gris and Chardonnay. A friend brought this wine to us a few months ago to share what he claimed was one of the best-value, interesting whites on the market. We tried it and agreed; thanks, Alex! There is a lot here for the price, and for those of you who enjoy a fuller-bodied but still refreshing white, this wine is for you. As a preview, we were able to buy this wine on sale and it will be arriving in early June for just $9.99 per bottle; in a case, that becomes $8.99. Because we are a small shop with cash flow limitations, we bought only 5 cases at the June price, 2 of which are already reserved. If the review piques your interest, you might come in to get a bottle and try it to know whether you want to reserve some of June’s allocation. The review in the Wine Advocate says it better than I can, so I’ve reproduced it below.

Lafage’s 2008 Cote Est (note the slightly different spelling of the name from previous years ) comes from Chardonnay, Marsanne, and old Grenache Blanc vines on cobbled soils near the coast, blended with the fruit of centenarian Grenache Gris vines on Pyrenean schist. The wine is aged in tank on its fine lees and the result is not only irresistibly delicious but truly complex. Orange and lime zest, white pepper, narcissus, fennel, and mint in the nose lead to a juicy, bright palate with musky floral perfume and a shimmering interchange of citrus with wet stone, salt, iodine, and other ineffable mineral elements. This will fascinate and refresh in equal measure as well as fiendishly insinuate itself into your culinary regimen over the next 9-12 months, and could also be held a bit longer without fear.