White Wines to Ease Your Way Through Summer

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By Cecil Flentge

Some people talk of beverages to ‘beat the heat’ this time of year.  That is a battle this Texas boy knows he can’t win, so I will settle for achieving a comfortable co-existence.  These are five white wines I have recently enjoyed drinking and pairing with food.

Italo Cescon, Pinot Grigio, Veneto, Italy 2010

A light, delicious choice for a shrimp salad or simply sipping.

The story on the back of the bottle talks of grandma tying a bit of grapevine on the bottle to show the connection to the vineyard.  That is cute and makes the label distinctive, but the wine would speak for itself.

Fact: Clean peach and raisin nose with a slight tart quality keeping the even flavors lively.  A satisfying and appropriately short finish.

Feeling: This is the ‘go to’ wine for cooling down and wakening your taste buds for dinner.  Maybe a cold and spicy shrimp salpicon salad with the chilled shrimp, a little crumbled cotija cheese, the crisp lettuce and peppers, and those spicy chopped jalapeños — um, um, good! CostCo Liquors has this wine for $10.

Willow Crest, Pinot Gris, Yakima Valley, Washington 2009

While Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio is the same grape, the styles of wine can be very far apart.  Available at CostCo for $10.

Fact: Orange and lime are the first aromas blending into grapefruit and nectarine that continue and delight the tongue.  The balanced acidity finishes out with mineral, orange and melon.

Feeling:  Broiled halibut with julienned red jalapeños, shallots and lime in a butter sauce and a cold glass of Pinot Gris to share with my favorite woman in the whole world.

L.A.Cetto, Chenin Blanc, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California, Mexico 2009

Apple, mineral and more in this cool Chenin Blanc.

Even with our proximity to Mexico, we do not see many wines from our southern neighbor despite their 350 years of winemaking experience.  So when I ran across this gem in ‘my’ H-E-B, I had to give it a try.  At $10, it wasn’t too big a risk and now I will have to go back and try the L.A. Cetto Cabernet Sauvignon.

Fact:  Beautiful and generous nose of nectarine, mineral-salt, served with sun ripened limón.  The nectarine continues on the palate blending with apple, mineral, and finishing with dried apricot. Just a tiny bit off-dry, serve very cold.

Feeling:  Pulling a dripping bottle of this wine out of a cooler as I sit near the shore in the late afternoon.  Maybe it is time for another apricot?

Stellina, Prosecco, Veneto, Italy

More like Champagne than Asti Spumante, Prosecco is a great value.  This wine is available at Don’s & Ben’s, Whole Foods, and World Market for about $15.

Fact:  Apple, peach, and toast on the nose with good acidity and a bit of peach flavor, this could almost be a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc.

Feeling:  Reward yourself for just being you!  Pour some bubbly and watch the stars float up in your glass as you have some chicken fajitas.

Roux Pere & Fils, Pouilly Fuisse, Burgundy, France 2009

A find: Chardonnay with low oak.

Once a darling of Chardonnay drinkers, it has been lost and found, a rich Chardonnay with low oak.  This can be found at CostCo for around $11.

Fact:  Ripe apple with honey-oak on the nose.  More apples and a pear or two with oak and a soft touch of mineral for the palate.  Smooth on the tongue and enough acidity to keep it from clinging.

Feeling:  It does not demand that you pay attention to it, you just go ahead and enjoy yourself.  This is the drink for popcorn, Cornish hens, or broiled sea bass.


Cecil Flentge is a San Antonio wine educator for professionals or novices and a cooking instructor. Restaurant events or home tastings.
Questions? Email



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