Cool off with these refreshing white wines featuring citrus, tropical and floral flavors.
Gardens, pools, freshly cut grass, 70-plus SPF sunscreen, full-blast AC — it’s August, it’s hot and it’s time to cool off with some refreshing white wine.
Why white wines when it is hot outside? White wines almost always have higher acid than red wines; therefore, they’re more refreshing. White wines also have a lighter body than red wines. They have loads of tropical and citrus flavors, so they are more summer-kissed, with beautiful scents of a garden in full bloom. Some white wines exude aromas of honeysuckle, gardenias, roses and lilies, in addition to luscious, ripe fruit flavors of pineapple, cantaloupe, pear, mango, kiwi and many others.
The most fragrant, floral-like white wines are Gewurztraminer (rose petals), Torrontes (peaches and honeysuckle), Albarino (apricot, peaches and lemon blossoms), Viognier and Riesling. Other delightful summer whites include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliner and Chenin Blanc. A few obscure summer whites might include Txakoli from Spain, Moschofilero and Roditis from Greece, and Falanghina and Fiano di Avellino from Italy.
Think of your white wine as your squeeze of lemon on grilled salmon or pan-seared sea bass. Think of your vino blanco as your toned-down-but-much-more-interesting lemonade.
Whatever your choice, remember to pool around with the very best.
Sips at home
Fulget 2011 Albarino (grape) white wine, Rias Baixas, Spain — $13.49
This is a new Albarino to the Tulsa market. It’s lively and crisp, with flavors of ripe apricot, white peaches and Meyer lemon coupled with delicate white flowers. If you have not tried Albarino, you’re missing out on a terrific alternative to the old standbys of Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. This is your go-to wine for all seafoods and salads, and it is perfect with asparagus and artichokes.
Spirit of the Andes NV Sparkling Torrontes (grape), Tupungato, Mendoza — $13.49
Spirited, indeed! This is a perky, zesty floral-ridden sparkling wine made from sustainably farmed grapes in the methode champenoise (two fermentations in the same bottle). It’s a terrific value for under $14. Bubbles make everything better, and this is a good case in point. This is a perfect aperitif or afternoon sipper.
‘Need a translator’ wine
Gundlach Bundschu 2010 Gewurztraminer (grape), Sonoma, Calif. — $20.99
(Gund-LOCK Bund-SHOO) and (Guh-VERTZ-truh-meener). You can call this grape Gewurz (Guh-VERTZ) for short, but there is nothing short about the intense aromas and flavors in this dry white wine. It is truly a garden in a glass, with sensuous rose petals exuding from the glass and spicy notes of juicy pineapple, melon and mangos right behind. This is the wine for spicy Asian foods, and it is particularly good with salmon and cheese.
Sips around town
Tulsa’s hottest new bar thriving in the Brady District is Valkyrie. One of the owners, Tony DesLesDernier, says the most popular summer cocktail is the Bumbo, an old pirate-style drink — basically a cool variation on grog. It’s made with aged rum, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg and sells for $7. DesLesDernier’s other old and new favorite is Valkyrie’s mai tai. It has a whopping 3.5 ounces of liquor in it and sells for only $9. Grog a little at Valkyrie. 13 E. Brady St., 918-295-2160
Blue Moon Café
Owner Alan Fusco took time away from the kitchen to share his two favorite white wines for summer: Honig Sauvignon Blanc for $8 a glass and $32 a bottle and the Lagaria Pinot Grigio for $5 a glass and $20 a bottle. 3512 S. Peoria Ave., 918-749-7800
How cool is this: Stuart Stewart is up for my Bartender of the Year for giving us his coolest favorites at Cosmo. He loves the Chardonnay Llai Llai from Chile at $8.30 a glass and $34 a bottle and also The Climber Sauvignon Blanc by Clif for $9 a glass and $36 a bottle. “We sell a ton of both of these wines,” he says. “They are terrific summer refreshers.” 3334 S. Peoria Ave., 918-933-4848