• Lots of floral notes with lots of lemon, lime aromas. It has a refreshing, bright acidic quality with plenty of delicious citrus flavors with a touch of grapefruit zest and slate-like minerality.
A couple of weeks ago, I made the bold and edgy recommendation that as the warmer weather approaches, we should all drink refreshing Australian rieslings. I recognize I’d only be fooling myself if I thought I could change, en masse, people’s perceptions that rieslings are sweet and anything but refreshing wines.
Life’s tough for visionary, idealistic wine writers.
So what else are we gonna drink this summer? Grüner veltliners from Austria? Light, revitalizing vinho verdes from northern Portugal?
Perhaps not. I’m an idealist, but I’d be insane to think many wine lovers will follow me there.
How about Chilean sauvignon blancs? Now, that’s got traction. Folks love sauv blancs from New Zealand and California (I’ll save my pitch for Loire Valley sauvignon blancs for another day).
But California sauvignon blancs tend to be pretty high in alcohol and rely on fuller flavored melon characteristics and subtle creaminess. Not exactly what I’m looking for on a steamy day. Kiwi sauvignon blancs are simple, pleasant and refreshing, but let’s spread the wealth around—but don’t call me a Marxist.
Anyway, I find Chilean sauvignon blancs rely a little more on their lemony, lime-like, mandarin orange flavors for their taste profile and they tend to have slightly racier acidity than those from New Zealand. This makes them a perfect match for warm days, suntan lotion and chicken salad sandwiches from the picnic basket. Cousiño Macul, Concha y Toro (and its various labels) and Veramonte are solid names with wide distribution.
Plus, Chilean sauvignon blancs are inexpensive. If you’re laying down $20 for a Chilean sauvignon blanc, you’re paying too much. That’s the good thing about simple, unfussy summer wines, in general, they help you pay off the pricier Bordeauxs, Rhône Valley reds and Napa Valley cabernets you drank last winter.
Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Wines are rated on a scale ranging up from thumbs down, one thumb mostly up, one thumb up, two thumbs up, two thumbs way up and Golden Thumb Award. Prices are suggested retail prices as provided by the winery, one of its agents, a local distributor or retailer.)