Starting with white wines, Shelley Lindgren, of restaurants A16 and SPQR, says, “Biancolella, of course!” Hardly a household name even in Italy, biancolella is grown on Ischia, an island near Naples. Specifically, Lindgren suggests checking out the 2012 Cenatiempo Lefkos ($29), a blend of 60 percent biancolella and 40 percent forastera and other local varietals, which “has great minerality from the limestone and volcanic soil: nectarine, wild herb, lemon zest and cantaloupe quality. What is more summertime than island living?”
Unless, of course, you happen to live on Treasure Island.
Another Italian wine maven, Ceri Smith, who is now the wine director for Tosca as well as the proprietor of Biondivino, recommends Ligurian whites, saying they are perfect with salty, briny foods such as oysters and fresh summer dishes.
One of her picks is the 2011 Bio Vio Marene Pigato ($25), a biodynamic wine with racy minerality and subtle stone fruit. She is also digging the 2012 Punta Crena Lumassina Colline Savonesi ($18) that is made on the Italian Riviera. Punta Crena also makes a frizzante (lightly sparkling) version of the wine that is also ideal for the rare warm days.
Not everyone is thinking white wine.
Aran Healy of Ruby Wine says that “SOME” — notice the caps — “reds are good chilled too,” especially “any carbonic or semi-carbonic red French wine with low alcohol and high acid.”
When pressed, he recommends the 2013 Bobinet Hanami ($23), a cabernet franc from the Saumur region of France.
John Herbstritt, the wine buyer at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero Street, is also on a summer red kick, sort of.
His pick, the 2013 Copain P2 ($25), a rosy colored blend of pinot gris and pinot noir, “is light enough to remind you that it’s summer, but in reality people in S.F. want to drink red when it’s 55 and foggy.” Amen to that.
In case you’re wondering about rosé, Bradford Taylor, whose wine shop-bar Ordinaire in Oakland has accumulated quite a following in less than a year, is loving La Lunotte Pet Nat Rosé ($21). It is composed entirely of gamay de bouze, a mutation of the more common gamay noir.
Describing it as “vinous” with “exuberant red fruits” and a “touch of sugar,” his advice is “chug chug.” If you are looking for rosé without any fizz, track down the 2013 Bow & Arrow Rosé ($18), which Taylor says is his favorite domestic rosé of the season.
If anyone has other summer favorites, please feel free to comment. We’re all open to suggestions.
Pamela S. Busch has been working in the wine industry since 1990 as a writer, educator and consultant and co-founded Hayes & Vine Wine Bar and Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen. In 2013, she launched TheVinguard.com, a blog covering a variety of wine-related topics.