Excellent summer white wines! Memorial Day Part Deux…

Two years ago I setup a Rosé wine tasting for family and friends to see if we could all agree on a summer favorite. Click to read.

The group asked if we could do it again, with white wines, so I was happy to oblige.

The 5 wines I chose are all wines that I recommend to people on a regular basis for these reasons:

They are inexpensive, all under $15, and a few under $10 on sale.

All are relatively easy to find- they are carried in most wine stores in the country.

They are consistent-not too much variation from vintage to vintage.

Granted, these wines aren’t going to blow you away with layers of complexity, but let’s be honest… summer wines should be simple, well chilled, and refreshing.

*All wines were tasted blind with tasting sheets for the drinkers to circle flavors, grape variety, country of origin and to write comments.

So here are the wines with some “professional” tasting notes along with comments from all of us non-professional wine drinkers who just want a great summer white…

1. 2009 Mâcon~Lugny ‘Les Charmes’ Burgundy, France -$12
Stainless steel Chardonnay

Pros: “The nose is pretty, green apple, lemon chiffon, a little melon and canned pears in light syrup. The mid palate adds a nice counter-point of dusty minerality and dried apricot. This Chardonnay has good length and balanced acidity and the finish lingers on for quite some time.

Wine drinkers: “This wine is watery”. “Not too much to this one…”

The consensus was this wine lacked flavor. The wines may have been a little cold, and this was the first one served.  As it warmed up it received more positive reviews but this was still the least favorite.



2. 2009 Louis Latour Grand Ardèche- Southern France, Languedoc $8
Oaked Chardonnay

Pros: Sparkling gold yellow in color with a delicate nose of white flowers, toasted almonds and brioche. Nice length in the mouth, this wine is fat, round and with subtle hints of coconut.

Wine drinkers: “I like this one, it’s a little oaky but not too much.” “This is my type of wine, I think it’s Chardonnay. (My Chardonnay loving mother-in-law approves!)

Generally well liked, by all, this wine drinks like a more expensive Chardonnay even though it is Latour’s entry level wine. Tolerant Taster approved.


3. 2010 Kris Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige- Northeast Italy-$12

From their website: Wine Characteristics: Pale yellow in color with brilliant greenish reflections, enticing aromas of acacia flowers, citrus, tangerine, and hints of apricots and almonds. Kris is lean and refreshing on the palate with hints of blossom and honey.

Wine drinkers: “This wine is refreshing and very easy to drink”.

This is the house wine at several nice restaurants near where I live. Tolerant Taster approved.


4. 2011 Chateau Bonnet Sauvignon Blanc blend- Bordeaux, France-$12

Pros: “The attack, fresh and lemony, is in perfect balance with the rich fully body that is well-structured and has a long finish. The aromatic persistence is remarkable, and the notes of citrus fruits and yellow peaches linger on the palate. This wine, already delicious, is a perfect match with fish tartars, shellfish and summer salads.

Wine drinkers: “Has a lot of citrus flavors”. “My favorite of the group”. “This would be great with seafood”. “I smell cat pee” (my 13 year old niece- who has a very keen sense of smell). Cat pee or more politely “cats wee” is a known characteristic for Sauvignon Blanc in certain regions.

 This wine was easily the favorite of the group. Tolerant Taster approved!



5. 2009 RAATS Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch South Africa-$12

Pros: Fresh, with white peach and honeysuckle flavors backed by a bright, lively finish. Light-weight but persistent, with good minerality stretching it out. A clean, breezy style. “So fresh and inviting with lovely sweet pea and grass florals alongside soft notes of ripe nectarine and melon. The prickly mouth is loaded with orange oil citrus and a hint of banana unfolds on the long finish.

Wine drinkers: “This wine is not very fruity but I do get some mineral off of it…” “This wine is a little “bitey” (I know this means “acidic” and yes your are correct).

This wine is hand harvested (which is somewhat uncommon) and even though it wasn’t much liked by the group I still think this is a good inexpensive Chenin Blanc from South Africa. Tolerant Taster approved.


Try some of these wines yourself and please let me know what you think…


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