Retailer Wine Selections

For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend their favorite white wines for summer drinking. 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

(96) Catena Alta Chardonnay 2009 (Argentina). Sourced from two vineyard locations (Adrianna and Domingo), this wine bursts with beautiful lemon and citrus fruit flavors on the nose; notes of toast, vanilla, and caramel carry over to the palate finishing with an elegant, seamless cornucopia of flavors that seem to last forever. ($29)

(96) Vieux Telegraph Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2009 (France). Elegance, craft and style manifest in this beautiful Southern Rhône blend; driven by grenache blanc and balanced with minerality from the rocky soil, it is fresh and enjoyable now but will age beautifully for at least 10 years. ($85)

(95) Buty White 2010 (Washington State). Beautiful white Bordeaux blend, with each grape varietal bringing a unique element to the wine; the semillon (61%) provides rich body and velvety mouth-feel; the sauvignon blanc (21%) provides zingy acidity and citrus notes; and the muscadelle (18%) fills the bouquet with gorgeous notes of fresh rose petals and lavender; balanced and fresh. ($26)

(95) La Sirena Muscato Azul 2008 (California). Noted winemaker Heidi Barrett makes this dry style of muscat showing a vast array of different tropical, peach, and citrus fruit on the nose; highlighted by brilliant acidity on the palate, the wine is fresh and clean. ($30)

(94) Château des Proms Bellevue Graves Bordeaux Blanc Cuvee 2010 (France). Classic, Old World White Graves; 80% semillon, 10% sauvignon blanc, 10% sauvignon gris; delicate floral bouquet leads to a rich, full palate with hints of melon and fig with a refreshing touch of citrus; the unique ‘€œflint’€ of the terroir of Graves shows beautifully on the finish; will complement most any light cuisine, and is delightful by itself; exceptional value. ($13)

(93) Besitos D.O. Valencia Moscato 2010 (Spain).If you enjoy Moscato d’€™Asti from Italy, this will delight you; like its Italian cousins, it’€™s lightly effervescent (frizzante), but more delicate and not quite as sweet; aromas and flavors of rose petal, peach, apricot and nectarine harmonize into a simply delectable and refreshing summer sipper. ($10)

(93) Dom Christian Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon 2010 (France). Great Chablis from a classic vintage; impressive minerality and fruit to the long finish; fruit shows pure lemon and resin notes; a balanced and lively palate. ($59)

(93) Elsa Bianchi Mendoza Torrontés 2011 (Argentina). Argentina’€™s uniquely interesting white variety (there are actually three species of torrontés there) yields some lovely wines and this is an excellent example; nuances of wildflowers, jasmine, peach and orange zest are characteristic; the acidity is crisp and racy; the finish is not-quite-dry; match with Oriental cuisine or dishes with fruit glaze. ($12)

(93) St. Innocent Pinot Gris 2010 (Oregon). This is a 100% estate-grown pinot gris from the Willamette Valley showing good richness and complexity; aged on the lees for eight months; a rich mouth-feel without compromising the racy acidity or spice notes; white peach, Asian pear, and a tinge of sweetness are irresistible. ($22)

(92) Bourillon Dorleans Demi-Sec Vouvray 2010 (France). Aromatic, with hints of white peaches; easy to quaff and wonderful with a simple plate of fruit and cheese or poached scallops; an exceptional wine. ($17)

(92) Eric Chevalier Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu 2010 (France). Elegant but vibrant; tiny bit of spritz upon opening gives a welcome to the Melon de Bourgogne grape worth knowing better; the beautiful minerality of this true ‘€œsur-lies’€ Muscadet matches perfectly with seafood or bi-valves. ($23)

(92) Firesteed Pinot Gris 2009 (Oregon). Produced from grapes grown in the Willamette and Rogue Valleys, this is a great example of Oregon’€™s premier white wine; a lush, creamy texture with aromas and flavors of peach, melon, anise and citrus with a hint of mineral on the finish; pair with cold smoked salmon. ($14)

(92) Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (California). The wine sparkles in the glass, with brilliant straw notes; brightly scented fruit cocktail on the nose, with plenty of citrus and tree fruit notes, which are echoed on the palate, with refreshing acidity and lots of citrus flavors; the mouth-feel is round and full, and the finish is lengthy and balanced; great with grilled fish and vegetables. ($17)

(92) Frog’€™s Leap Rutherford Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (California). A classic Sauvignon Blanc; hints of melon and grapefruit and wonderful acidity give this wine a great pop for summer drinking. ($21)

(92) Gran Veneur Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 2011 (France). Flowers and stone fruits on the nose; lively and inviting, layered with flavors of peach and apricot; great minerality and acidity make this dry white perfect with oysters on the half shell or a fresh summer salad. ($13)

(92) Hindsight Napa Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). This is the collaboration of Keith Hargroves and Rob Hunter, both are seminal Napa Valley figures; exceptional fruit, lots of flavor and just a little bit of oak. ($25)

(92) Santa Silvana Alto Adige Pinot Grigio DOC 2010 (Italy). Stunningly vibrant and fresh with seasonal fruit flavors of pear, melon with a hint of peach; refreshing, yet lively with well balanced acidity on the palate. ($16)

(92) Txomin Etxaniz Getaraiko Txakolina 2010 (Spain). Spritzy, allowing all of the wonderful baked green apple, floral, and spicy notes to be highlighted; a delicious Spanish white that is best served very cold. ($19)

(92) Whitehaven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (New Zealand). A brilliant straw/pale gold in the glass, the nose is filled with grapefruit peel, and spice; a great example of a more restrained style of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc; bright acidity, without being overwhelming; clean and lingering finish, with great balance. ($20)

FOUR STARS

(91) Bodegas Callia Valle de Tulum Torrontés 2010 (Argentina). This wine is a brilliant pale yellow in the glass, with the slightest hint of green; the nose is dominated by citrus fruit, with hints of exotic floral notes; in the mouth, the fruit is ripe, but balanced with a bright acid accent; a balanced, lengthy and clean finish; wonderful value. ($9)

(91) Castello Montauto San Gimignano Vernaccia 2010 (Italy). Brilliant straw with green hints in the glass, the wine has a nose dominated by fresh and clean tree fruit, which follows through on the palate, with weight, spice, and acidity all in balance; lengthy and balanced finish; versatile and delicious. ($15)

(91) Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Blanco Blend 2010 (Spain). A fascinating blend of viura, malvasia and the rare tempranillo Blanco; brilliant pale gold in the glass; a complex nose, with scents of tree, citrus and tropical fruits, all followed through on the palate, where the fruit is accented by the acidity; well balanced with a quite lengthy finish. ($15)

(91) Jos. Drouhin Chablis-Vaudon 2009 (France). This is the chardonnay for those of us in the anything-but-Chardonnay club; lean, mean and mineral with enough pear and apple undertones to know what else can be done with this grape; fine company for grilled chicken or salmon. ($20)

(91) Italo Cescon Veneto Pinot Grigio 2010 (Italy). Italo Cescon is a highly regarded estate in Friuli; the grapes for this wine come from Veneto and it is a full-flavorrf pinot grigio, absolutely not watered down, with lots of terroir; exciting packaging helps it jump off the shelf. ($20)

(91) Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2010 (California). Crisp, clean and minerality blend with tropical notes; the wine finishes dry with excellent acidity to create a well-rounded and balanced wine. ($25)

(91) Pine Ridge Forefront Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California). Refreshing, crisp and full of flavor; offers passion fruit, lemon lime, melon and grapefruit flavors that blend together nicely into a vibrant, lingering finish. ($13)

(91) Santiago Ruiz Rias Baixas White Blend 2010 (Spain). Rias Baixas is best known for the wines produced from the Albariño variety, and this wine is mostly Albariño, but it also has Loureiro, Treixadura and Caiño Blanco in the blend, which add complexity and weight; the nose and palate are dominated by citrus and tree fruits, with notes of herbs; the refreshing tastes are highlighted by a long, lingering finish. ($20)

(91) Viña Amalia Carlos Basso Mendoza Blanc de Noirs 2009 (Argentina). This sparkling wine possesses lovely notes of yeasty bread dough and brioche followed by aromas of mango and banana peel; medium-bodied and nicely round, it maintains a lovely blend of tropical fruit notes across the palate, pinpoint acidity and lovely mouth-feel. ($18)

(90) Joel Gott Unoaked Monterey Chardonnay 2010 (California). Fresh and crisp fruit with a hint of vanilla and butter, making this Chardonnay a great pairing for fish or chicken on the grill. ($17)

(90) Bonny Doon Ca’€™ Del Solo Dry Muscat 2009 (California). All the wonderful aromas and flavors of muscats and moscatos, but bone dry with delicious acidity and a hint of minerals. ($17)

(90) Château Bonnet Blanc Entre Deux Mers 2010 (France). An example of how good white wines from Bordeaux can be, this wine is highlighted by notes of citrus and lemon with a mineral backbone; well balanced and a wonderful summer wine. ($9.50)

(90) Conundrum White Wine 2010 (California). An extremely aromatic wine with aromas of ripe peaches, wild flowers and spice; nicely textured on the palate, delivering fresh melon and tropical flavors. ($16)

(90) The Cottage Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (New Zealand). Abundant aromas of gooseberry, grapefruit and pineapple; flavors of grapefruit and apples add to a tropical fruit palate; very smooth finish; wonderful summer white at a good value. ($12)

(90) Cuvée Jean Paul Gascogne Blanc 2009 (France). Bright, fresh and clean aromas of pit fruit and white flowers lead the way to nice tension of acidity and ripe fruit on the palate; the Ungi Blanc-Colombard blend over-delivers for the price with a nicely concentrated mid-palate full of tangy citrus, minerality and peach flavors; lingers nicely on the finish. ($10)

(90) Goisot Bourgogne Aligote 2010 (France). High-quality Aligote, with nice body and a structured finish with good extract; crisp palate with flavors of almond and a touch of herb. ($19)

(90) Mercer Estates Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Washington State). Brilliant straw, with the slightest of green notes in the glass; the nose is quite expressive, with honeydew, citrus, and herbal notes, in an attractive blend of scents; the palate is lush and rich, with loads of fresh fruit, and refreshing acidity to keep the finish bright throughout its length. ($14)

(90) Cave de Pomérols Picpoul de Pinet HB 2011 (France). Soft tropical fruit counters the sharp acidity and salty palate; finishes clean with lime notes. ($10)

(90) Viña do Campo Godello 2010 (Spain). Fuller in body than most Albarinos; a big wine with loads of flavor. ($18)

(90) Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier 2010 (California). Consistent value and easy drinking; clean, with a rounded cirtusy finish; great with salads, light seafood and picnic fare. ($10)

(90) Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (New Zealand). Just the right amount of citrus; a little toned down compared to most New Zealand sauvignon blancs; lots of bright acidity; a good match for sauced seafood dishes. ($13)

(90) La Cana Albariño 2009 (Spain). Laced with lovely citrus, stone and tropical fruit; a light and wonderfully refreshing wine suited for the summer heat. ($16)

(90) Picollo Gavi 2011 (Italy). Bright peach flavors and aromas abound in this medium-bodied gem; great on its own but also a perfect match with chicken on the grill. ($18)

(90) Kris Pinot Grigio 2010 (Italy). Apple, pear and apricot on the nose; nuances of dusty peach and cinnamon in the long balanced finish. ($11)

(90) Martinsancho Rueda Verdejo 2009 (Spain). Not your simple quaffer, this Spanish white has great complexity and minerality on a medium-bodied frame. ($19)

(90) St. Urbans-Hof Riesling 2010 (Germany). Consistently high-quality every vintage; off-dry with a complex finish that goes on and on. ($16)

(90) Selbach Incline Riesling 2009 (Germany). Tasty Mosel wine for not much money; wonderful, tart fruit and just barely off-dry; nice minerality and a very clean finish. ($10)

(90) Goisot Bourgogne Aligote 2010 (France). High-quality Aligote, with nice body and a structured finish with good extract; ccrisp palate with flavors of almond and a touch of herb. ($19)

(89) Casal Garcia (Aveleda) Vinho Verde Branco 2011 (Portugal). Rich depth of flavor, crisp green apple, fresh squeezed lemon, with a very subtle effervescence and a lengthy finish on the palate. ($10)

(89) Flora Springs Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (California). The bouquet is nice and fresh, with ripe green melon aromas and a touch of citrus; not New Zealand in style, and not the grassiness of California either, this is a delicious wine showing a full, round character, excellent balance and notable complexity. ($18)

(89) Cupcake Vineyards Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (New Zealand). Bright pale straw/yellow in the glass; the nose is a combination of currant, citrus peel and herbs; the palate is quite full, with a weight and richness not usually found in this type of wine; long and lavish finish. ($14)

(89) El Coto Rioja (White) 2010 (Spain). Made entirely from Viura; a clean crisp delightful white wine with loads of upfront fruit and a very crisp finish; a great value and a wonderful food wine. ($12)

(89) Hartford Court Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). The moderate bouquet is classically Russian River, with butter and oak undertones hitting the nose first, and then subtle aromas of pear, apple and melon slowly unfolding; medium-full, ripe and rich, it has a soft entry and plush mouth-feel until firm acidity moves in and sharpens things up nicely, making for a crisp finish. ($30)

(89) Montes Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (Chile). Bright lemon-lime flavors and aromas jump from the glass; top-notch intensity. ($14)

(89) Washington Hills Late Harvest Sweet Riesling 2010 (Washington State). Floral aromas with hints of honey; oranges, apricots and peaches with a hint of sweetness on the finish makes this wine perfect for summertime. ($10)

(88) The Naked Grape Chardonnay (California). Excellent unoaked style that has become extremely popular; crisp and juicy flavors of peach and pear; a good wine for the hot, muggy days of summer. ($8)

(88) Apothic White 2010 (California). A fun and energetic white blend made up of Chardonnay, Riesling and Moscato; the Chardonnay gives it some viscosity and body while the Moscato and Riesling offer a fun pop of fruit and acidity. ($11)

(88) Ceviche Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California). As the name implies, this is a great seafood wine; crisp and dry, packed with flavors of tropical fruit, dried apricot and lime zest; the notable tannins add a food friendly layer of depth, and the finish is remarkably lengthy for a Sauvignon Blanc of this price. ($11)

(88) Martin Códax Albariño 2010 (Spain). This appealing, crisp white will be a pleasant complement to light appetizers, chicken or seafood; chilled, this Rias Baixas gem is a great summer ‘€œdeck’€ wine or Sunday brunch accompaniment; fruit on the mid-palette gives way to a long, lean finish. ($16)

(88) Ruffino Lumina Venezia Giulia Pinot Grigio 2010 (Italy). Known more for their offerings from Chianti, this is a lively, refreshing white from the northeast of Italy; bright straw, with yellow notes; the nose and palate contain plenty of fresh tree and tropical fruits; the finish is quite bright, balanced and lengthy. ($10)

(88) Riunite Movendo Sparkling Riesling (Italy). Light and not cloying ripe pear-like fruit; good match for poultry and seafood or for any party. ($7)

(88) Gazella Vinho Verde 2011 (Portugal). A perfect ‘€œpatio pounder’€ for hot and humid weather; refreshingly crisp and light, with low alcohol content. ($6)

(88) Sextant Central Coast Chardonnay 2009 (California). Glycerin and petrol notes pop up at first and then some old (as in used) oak edges steal in; touches of butter cream and unripe citrus chime in as well; round and full on the palate, it shows off good richness yet there is a nice frame of acidity lending structure, with lets the fruit flavors of ripe pear, persimmon and apple pull forward and gain richness. ($15)

(88) Ringside Vineyards California Chardonnay 2010 (California). The bouquet is fresh and juicy, even a bit plush, with ripe melon aromas and a light touch of wood; medium bodied and quite juicy on the palate, a honey note leads off followed by ripe melon and pear with a touch of citrus; good depth and a nice finish; exceptional value. ($8)

(88) Josh Cellars North Coast Chardonnay 2010 (California). A lightly buttery note leads off the bouquet and then some light citrus peel and green melon aromas arrive; pretty tart on the palate entry, with a fresh squeeze of lemon and lime followed by notes of pineapple, pear and green apple; good length. ($16)

(88) Picpoul de Pinet H B 2010 (France). Light and fresh with loads of fruit; medium dry and crisp; definitely a go-to banquet wine. ($10)

(88) Airfield Yakima Valley Chardonnay 2010 (Washington State). Possesses a light bouquet with fresh green citrus and melon aromas; ripe on the palate, where more citrus arrives, and then pineapple and peach take the lead with lemon-lime tailing in on the finish; acidity is light, but it still has plenty of crispness. ($13)

(88) Frisk Prickly Riesling 2011 (Australia). A light, lemony Riesling with floral notes and bubbles; slightly sweet and spicy at the same time; easy to like. ($10)

(87) Sciarpa Venezie Pinot Grigio 2010 (Italy). Displays a forward bouquet, with a nice combination of sweetness and some interesting mineral notes; full and round, the fruit is forward on the palate, too, and quite juicy, with an appealing mix of pineapple, apple and citrus; nice length on the finish. ($10)

(87) Seaglass Santa Barbara Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (California). Big grapefruit and pineapple in the aroma as well as the flavor with just enough grassiness and acidity to make it a worthy summer pick. ($11)

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