How can you go wrong with something light, refreshing, and affordable?

Summer time is white wine time for most wine-consuming Americans. There are so many affordable choices that are easy to find it would take two or three columns to list them all. Instead, here is a list of some of my most-recent favorites.

These wines are all available in Indiana and Illinois or will be soon.

Woodbridge 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($7.99) – This should be easy to find and even easier to drink. It’s a very light bodied Sauv Blanc with citrus and tropical fruit. The acid is milder than most Sauv Blancs. It’s actually a blend of Sauv Blanc, French Colombard, Semillon, and Verdelho. Try it all alone or with white fish.

Argiolas Costamolino 2009 Vermentino ($15.99 and less) – A very nice bouquet is followed by a mouthful of citrus and pineapple. It has a nice acidity that makes this Italian beauty pair well with food. Wine Advocate gave this light-colored wine 89 points.

Buried Cane 2009 Chardonnay ($14.) – This Washington State unoaked Chardonnay is a stunner for $14. The grapes come mostly from the Columbia Valley region. This would be great on the porch on a summer evening or with light fare. You’ll get hints of peach on this light and fruity wine. Currently available in Illinois and very soon in Indiana. Buried Cane is a great label with consistent wines.

Helfrich 2009 Riesling ($14.99) – This is an old French winemaker from the Alsace region that offers a beautiful Riesling for the price. Many U.S. Rieslings are a bit on the sweet side but the Helfrich gives you nice crisp green apple and medium acidity. I’d call it a ‘not too sweet, not too dry” type of wine.

Flipflop 2010 Pinot Grigio ($7) – Easy to find at an incredible price. This light-bodied white gives you a hint of pear and a nice clean finish. Pasta with white sauces, light snacks on the porch, or even a glassful on a hot day would be a great pairing!

E. Guigal 2009 Cotes du Rhone Blanc ($12) – For you Francophiles here is an inexpensive white wine than anyone can love. It’s mostly Viognier along with several lesser known Rhone white varietals. It’s certainly floral and a great pairing with spicy dishes.

Brassfield Estate Winery 2009 Serenity ($9.99-$14.99) – This was one of the nicest white blends I’ve tasted in years. The Napa wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Gewurtztraminer, and Semilon. You will taste the honey dew melon on the palate and nicely balanced acidity. It’s a very well-made and refreshing white wine.

Again, all or most of these whites should be easy to find at any wine shop or well-stocked liquor store. But if these aren’t on the shelves here are some additional suggestions.

Try Torrontos, it’s the latest rage out of Argentina. The wines are ‘hot’ right now with wine fans. They are very inexpensive and feature a very floral scent with a fruity texture. Check the alcohol level before buying one though, I’ve found some Torrontos higher than most whites in alcohol content.

I’ve written before about Spanish and Portugal’s Albarino. It’s one of my favorite white grapes. It’s lean and crisp with a minerality that is a great thirst quencher. Great bottles can be found under $15.

Finally, here’s another plug for Indiana Traminette. Most Indiana wineries make a Traminette in a sweet to semi-sweet or semi-dry style. It will remind regular wine drinkers of a Gewurtz, but if you’ve never tried or heard of that think of a mildly sweet wine that is very floral.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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