Retailer Wine Selections

For this issue, we asked members of the National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend their favorite white wines for the summer, either as aperitifs or as complements to summer fare. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’€™s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’€™re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Richard Brandes at 212-353-3832, or email him at rbrandes@m2media360.com.

FIVE STARS

(95) Matthews Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Stillwater Creek Vineyard 2008 (Washington State). Crisp, clean showing lemon and mineral flavors; pineapple and guava become apparent on the mid palate; an ideal summer wine. ($22)

(95) Pyramid Valley Hawkes Bay Orton Vineyard Gewürztraminer 2007 (New Zealand). An outstanding wine from one of the most unique biodynamic producers in New Zealand; unfiltered and cloudy with a nose of fresh oranges, white flowers and ginger; on the palate, the wine is spicy, and ginger flavor lingers long into the finish; a unique wine. ($37)

(95) Reuscher-Haart Piesporter Riesling 2008 (Germany). Gorgeous aromas of peach, apricot and citrus lead to lush, not-too-sweet flavors of the same on the palate, with a lively, crisp finish. ($15, liter)

(95) Theo Mingus Riesling Halb-Trocken 2008 (Germany). Fresh, zesty, almost dry with nuances of pear, apple, lemon and the minerality of Pfalz’€™s limestone. ($19, liter)

(95) Wagner Stempel Riesling Trocken 2008 (Germany). Ripe, mouth-filling flavors of stone fruits, pear and grapefruit lead to a totally dry, long finish, with a hint of minerality. ($19, liter)

(94) Nyakas Cellars Pinot Gris 2008 (Hungary). Hungarian pinot gris you say? Nyakas is one of the best white wine producers in Hungary; a rich pinot gris with flavors of bright pear and green apple followed by a round, almost peanut butter-type taste; exceptional for its price. ($10)

(93) Iron Horse Green Valley Classic Vintage Brut 2005 (California). A pale, straw yellow color with green hues, and small persistent bubbles; on the nose, it has notes of gingerbread, hazelnuts with chanterelle mushrooms and lemon-lime tones; a dry, elegant mousse with a confit of ginger brioche and walnut tones, and a navel orange finish. ($35)

(92) Provenance Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (California). Perfect for summer; crisp, clean and flavorful; a great balance of melon, citrus fruits, a hint of lime and just the right amount of acidity; a definite crowd pleaser. ($16)

(92) Hugel Gewurztraminer Alsace 2007 (France). This wine has a classic nose of roses and lychee; a classic palate and elegant acidity; lovely with spring salads, lobster and asparagus. ($25)

(92) Huet Vouvray Clos du Bourg Demi-Sec 2005 (France). This slightly sweet chenin blanc sings with notes of honeysuckle, pear, lime and brown spice; delicious with foie gras or chilled on its own. ($40)

(92) Emilio Bulfon Sciaglin Frizzante Friuli-Venezia Giulia 2006 (Italy). This sparkler delivers voluminous flavors of round, yellow fruits with a hint of toasted almond-scented minerals; generous with long flavors and concentration. ($24)

(92) Pighin Friuli-Venezia Giulia Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Italy). A taste of the Loire from Fruili with hints of grapefruit and honeydew melon on the nose; well-balanced acidity for a wine ideal for shellfish. ($14)

(92) Note Bleue St. Tropez Provence Blanc 2009 (France). A thoroughly engaging white wine from an area that lives and breathes rosé; almost full-bodied, this complex white blends ripe fruit flavors with lively acidity and a fresh finish; a perfect match with grilled seafood of any kind. ($10)

(92) Tom Eddy Elodian Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (California). 100% Sauvignon Musque; character and balance; light and refreshing; many dynamic flavors and aromas like grapefruit and gooseberry; refreshing acid; an ideal accompaniment for fresh fish and oysters; dynamic flavors make it a wonderful sipper on its own especially on a hot summer day. ($15)

(92) CVNE Monopole Rioja 2008 (Spain). A lovely elegant viura-based blanco; pale gold with slight green tints; delicate tree fruits of apple and white pear on the nose; a longer and lingering finish on the palate; a wonderful example of warm-weather wine; a superb bargain at this price! ($14)

(92) Celler Vinos Pinol Portal White Terra Alta 2008 (Spain). Composed of 70% garnacha blanco, 20% sauvignon blanc, and the balance macaque and viognier fermented and aged in stainless steel; delivering a complex nose of mineral, dried herbs, fresh apples, and gooseberry; a vibrant, intense, spicy wine with superb balance and length; the definition of over-delivering. ($17)

(92) Pazo de Senorans Albarino 2007 (Spain). Pale straw in color with beautiful notes of ripe peaches and golden apple; racy acidity and ripe fruit strike an excellent balance; a great seafood pairing, perfect with steamed crayfish. ($25)

FOUR STARS

(91) Château de Maligny Fourchaume Chablis 1er Cru 2006 (France). Pale yellow in color with green highlights; the nose opens with hints of stone fruit and minerality; the palate opens with a delicate lemon character, followed by a rich smoothness and excellent balance; the acid and minerality are vibrant, not chalky, and surprisingly well rounded; beneath, discover layers of green apple and stone fruit; quite complex for the price. ($20)

(91) Arrowood Chardonnay Sonoma 2007 (California). Great summer chardonnay; bouquet is fresh, pure, and lightly toasty with touches of apple, peach, and baking spices; palate is crisp and fresh with a notably balanced acidity; the finish is long lasting, textured and complete; drink it by itself or enjoy with your favorite summer salad. ($29)

(91) Grüner Veltliner Burgenland NV Brut 2005 (Austria). Pristine minerality, vivid bright citrus notes, green apples and fresh picked cherries; elegant fine beading and chalky limestone; it drinks beyond its price. ($23)

(91) Kolbenhof J. Hofstätter Südtirol Alto Adige Gewurztraminer 2005 (Italy). Golden yellow and brilliant in color; on the nose it shows lychee, bergamot and hints of cardamom, ripe papaya and nectarines with river-stone minerality; on the palate ripe pineapple, lychees, honey and anisette; a fresh and persistent finish. ($39)

(91) Four Vines Naked Chardonnay 2008 (California). Unoaked chardonnay with bursting fruit aroma; crisp, concentrated flavor; a smooth finish. ($11)

(91) Longview Vineyards Whippet Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Australia). Light gold; lemon and lime aromas, ripe pear and melon character; fleshy and smooth, with sweet orchard fruit flavors. ($18)

(91) Las Olas Rueda White 2009 (Spain). As fresh and inviting as clean white sheets; a traditional blend of Verdejo and Viura with bracing acidity, crisp citrus-toned flavors and a long, fruity finish. ($10)

(91) MacMurray Ranch Sonoma Chardonnay 2008 (California). Gallo’€™s first release of chardonnay from this winery; well structured and complex; offers apple, pear and melon flavors with a slight hint of vanilla and hazelnut on the long lingering finish. ($18)

(91) Plácet Valtomelloso Rioja 2007 (Spain). A finely tuned, barrel-aged rioja, possessing both fruit and texture; an appealing combination; pale gold in color; on the nose, a fine combination of floral and apple notes; on the palate, the oak reveals itself with subtle weight, a hint of toast, and good quantities of stone fruit; a complex and contemplative style of wine, deserving of a fine meal. ($45)

(91) Condesa Eylo Rueda 2008 (Spain). Nearly 100% verdejo, with just a touch of sauvignon blanc; a brilliant straw/gold in the glass; peach, apple and touches of citrus dominate the nose; on the palate, both good weight and acidity, therefore a very food friendly wine; outstanding complexity and finish especially at this very wallet-friendly price point. ($14).

(91) GAI’€™A Notios White Peloponnese 2008 (Greece). An interesting blend of the indigenous Greek roditis and moschofilero varieties is yellow gold; a lovely combination of citrus and floral notes on the nose; a very supple and attractive mouthfeel; citrus taste and silky texture are part of a long and attractive finish. ($15)

(90) Castell-Castell Silvaner Franken 2008 (Germany). Pale gold, with green hints on the edges, steel-fermented and steel-aged silvaner exhibiting freshness and peachy/citrus notes on the nose; the delicate fruit is well balanced by the acidity; both a great sipping wine for warm days and nights and perfect meal wine for grilled vegetables, seafood, and chicken. ($16)

(90) Bergevin Lane Viognier Columbia Valley 2008 (Washington State). Pretty aromas of fresh peach and spice; rich texture with notes of pear and melon; a beautiful, long finish completes this lovely wine. ($25)

(90) Frei Brothers Russian River Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (California). Clean and delicate with pineapple and grapefruit notes that lead to a crisp, light and refreshing mouthfeel; the fruit is pure, the balance is spot-on; an all-around great summertime party wine. ($16)

(90) Montinore Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2008 (Oregon). Superb scents of lemon and lime on the nose; crisp and flavorful with marvelous depth and length; good acidity and a clean, refreshing finish. ($14)

(90) Morgan Metallico Unoaked Chardonnay Monterey 2008 (California). White peaches and pink grape fruit with yellow apples on the palate; a vibrant acidity with delicious citrus tones on the mouth. ($17)

(90) Fiano di Avellino DOCG Rocca del Principe 2008 (Italy). Bouquet of bright yellow apples with citrus tones and persistent minerality; a fresh acidity ripe lemons and passion fruit on the mouth; long mineral and citrus finish. ($23)

(90) Andean Vineyards Torrentes Alma Andina 2009 (Argentina). Fantastically aromatic and uniquely Argentine; bursting with ripe peach, pineapple and apricot flavors that linger on the long, surprisingly graceful finish; extremely well matched with spicy Mexican cuisine and more traditional seafood dishes. ($9)

(90) Bodegas Angel Rodriguez Martinsancho Verdejo Rueda 2008 (Spain). 100% verdejo, medium-bodied with wonderful grapefruit aromas and flavors backed with crisp acidity. ($18)

(90) Decoy Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California). A delicious, dry Napa Valley white with pear aromas and flavors that linger on the palate. ($19)

(90) Huber Hugo Gruner Veltliner 2008 (Austria). From seafood to spicy dumplings, this is a winner; crisp with balanced acidity; think of a pinot grigio with personality; a consistent best buy vintage after vintage. ($11)

(90) Finca Sophenia Chardonnay Reserve 2008 (Argentina). A soft and supple bouquet with some oak notes to start, followed by a complex display of melon and ripe citrus aromas that are soft and pleasant; very smooth on the palate as the oak stays supple, letting the complex tropical fruit flavors eventually rule the palate. ($19)

(90) Hayman & Hill Interchange White 2007 (California). Delightful blend of riesling, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and muscat canelli; light, smooth, easy and fun; the perfect wine for hotdogs, pasta salad and grilled chicken. ($9)

(90) St. Supery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (California). A classically refreshing sauvignon blanc with bright acidity, grapefruit tones and a mid-palate of melon; perfect for cold salads and grilled fish. ($20)

(90) X Winery White X 2008 (California). A blend of sauvignon blanc, muscat blanc, chardonnay and roussanne offering a nose of honeysuckle and orange blossom; cool, vibrant and refreshing; a perfect summer white. ($13)

(90) Blue Pirate Pinot Gris 2008 (Oregon). Aromas of apples and pears; creamy with a touch of sweetness and perfect balance; an incredible value ($15)

(89) Fuente Milano 2008 (Spain). An equal blend of verdejo and viura; a hint of a sauvignon blanc; vibrant aromatic fruit with ripe apple and pear aromas; easy finish. ($9)

(89) Parrot Mountain Torrontes Mendoza 2009 (Argentina). Torrontes is often impressive just for its bouquet; this vintage has a delightful nose of fresh citrus fruits along with banana peel, kiwi, white grape skin and peach pit; tart citrus flavors dominate the palate, with a note of banana; very fresh and juicy; will have you thinking of summer. ($9)

(89) Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma 2008 (California). Citrus aroma; lemon, lime and grapefruit flavors; dry and very pleasant. ($14)

(89) Wollersheim Winery Prairie Fume Prairie du Sac Seyval Blanc 2008 (Wisconsin). This lively wine is full of pleasant surprises; vibrant and juicy with ripe grapefruit, fresh key lmes and subtle grassy notes; a reminder of the perfect blend of sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc demi-sec. ($17)

(89) Barone Fini Valdadige Pinot Grigio 2009 (Italy). Soft, round fruit fills the mouth with ripe, juicy flavors; a long finish glides into flavors of ripe apples and lychee. ($12)

(89) Terra Andina Valle Central Chardonnay 2008 (Chile). A no oak gem with hints of apples and pears on the nose, a crisp appetite, opening with flavors both lively and fresh; a finish for the perfect summer sipper with or without food. ($9)

(89) Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2008 (California). A great sipper for a hot summer day; the crispness of the chenin blanc providing a refreshing backdrop to the contained explosion of viognier completing this vibrant and exciting white wine.($14)

(88) Bloom Riesling 2007 (Germany). Aromas of grapefruit and grass; flavors of crisp green apples with a hint of sweetness; your summer deck wine; superb value. ($9)

(88) Syncline Roussanne Horse Heaven Hills 2008 (Washington State). Clear pale straw in color; showing aromas of almonds and pear; flavor profiles of pears, peach stone, almonds and mangos finishing with a rich mouth feel and a fine persistent finish.($19)

(88) Momo Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2008 (New Zealand). The second label from Seresin; this wine screams Marlborough; a fresh glassful of gooseberries at an excellent value. ($17)

(88) Che Gaucho Chardonnay Mendoza 2009 (Argentina). The soft bouquet is lightly buttery, with some easygoing melon aromas; butter note remains on the palate, but is a soft drape to the forward melon flavors; some tart pineapple notes; a touch of oak spice emerges toward the finish; real value. ($12)

(88) Rave Chardonnay Paso Robles 2007 (California). Light bouquet shows whiffs of balsam, banana peel and melon; the palate is soft at first but tart citrus fruit and firm acidity quickly perk it up; virtually no oak as the fresh fruit bowl of flavors stays lively throughout; nice value for the price. ($9)

(88) Wimmer Gruner Veltliner Niederosterreich 2008 (Austria). A sharp, slate-laden bouquet with a nice mineral note leading off and some citrus pith aromas tailing in later; a crisp opening yet the palate quickly turns soft and lush, making it rounder and fuller than you suspect; subtle fruit flavors are green (apple, pear, unripe pineapple) at first, but with time actually gain some ripeness; a nice match for green veggies or soups that feature greens. ($13)

(88) Gazela Vinho Verde 2009 (Portugal). Perfect picnic take along; low alcohol (9%); light and crisp, excellent with summer fruits and cheese. ($6)

(88) Anakena Cabernet Sauvignon Rose 2009 (Chile). Strawberry and cherry aromas; smooth and fruity on the palate; showing excellent balance; perfect for a picnic. ($9)

(88) Graham Beck Chardonnay 2008 (South Africa). A subtle nose that is initially buttery, but with some soft exotic fruit aromas in the background; bouquet is subdued, while the palate is quite forward and all fresh-picked citrus fruit flavors are tasty and complex; peach, pineapple, grapefruit, pear and quince all pop in; a moderate finish. ($13)

(87) Cortenova Pinot Grigio Venezie 2008 (Italy). Pale yellow; bouquet is light and takes a little time to get going, but reveals citrus aromas and a whiff of banana peel; medium-bodied, the palate is quite lush for Pinot Grigio, showing some softness to the sweet-tinged fruit flavors; plenty of acidity to keep it crisp; finish shows some nice length. ($12)

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