Something light and white for summer 

Summer white wines don’t need much of an explanation.

The adjectives I hear the most from June to October are dry, light and crisp. Heavier whites, such as a lot of chardonnays, and oak-laden wines are less popular than in the winter.

Since we should have at least three months left summer weather, here are some wines that will quench your thirst and be gentle on your wallet:

Chateau Massiac Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 (Languedoc, France): Domaine Massiac is known for its Minervois, which is very good. However, this sauvignon blanc is an absolute steal. It can go head to head with many a Sancerre. With luscious peach and grapefruit flavors, subtle minerality and a long clean finish, it is a white wine that nearly everyone seems to love. Suggested retail: $14

Birichino Malvasia Bianca, 2009 (Monterey): Former Bonny Doon winemaker John Locke and director of sales and export manager Alex Krause jumped on the chance to launch their own project, Birichino, when Bonny Doon downsized a few years ago and stopped making a malvasia. Floral with orange pushup and apricot flavors, this fragrant wine is perfect for afternoon sipping. Suggested retail: $15

Inacayal Torrontes, 2009 (Mendoza, Argentina): Inacayal is one of Viniterra’s wine brands. Founded by Adriano Senetiner, one of the pioneers of Argentina’s modern wine industry, Viniterra is a large company that has different wines for a variety of markets. Enticingly aromatic with orange blossoms and apricot and nectarine flavors, this bright, juicy wine is a keeper. Suggested retail: $15

Ponzi Pinot Gris, 2009  (Willamette Valley, Oregon): The Ponzi name is as a reliable seal of quality as you are going to find on the shelves. Though best known for pinot noir, all of its wines are exceptional. With white flowers in the nose and a melange of citrus fruit on the palate it delivers once again. Suggested retail: $16

Mercouri Foloi, 2009 (Korakohori Ilias, Greece):
Now into its fourth generation of winemaking, the Mercouri family is one of the Peloponnese’s most exciting producers. I’m a big fan of the red made from refosco but this white wine is clearly the star. Composed of roditis — an ancient grape — and viognier, it is mildly reminiscent of gruner veltliner in the nose but is all about stone fruit on the palate. Suggested retail: $20

Pamela S. Busch is the wine director and proprietor of CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in San Francisco.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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