Maybe you’ve gone through your rosés and sipped a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc every night for the past three weeks this summer. When it’s time to quench your thirst next time around, stick to the climes you’d retreat to in order to escape the hot weather: the seaside and mountaintops. The same elements that draw you to these environments are what make them perfect zones for producing refreshing, zingy white wine.
Coastal wineries craft crisp whites that are cooled with the saline breezes from the ocean, and whites from high elevations are made bright and lively with chilly nighttime temperatures. Three specific varietal wines that are often overlooked are Albariño, Vermentino, and Torrontés.
White Wines to Try Instead of the Usual
These grapes are grown along the coast of the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and in some of the highest vineyards in the world. And though they show different characteristics that make them perfect for specific white wine drinkers, each is an excellent pairing with seafood, fish, and fresh summer vegetables.
If you like Pinot Grigio, try Vermentino
Vermentino comes from Italy’s Mediterranean coast along Liguria, Sardinia, and Maremma in Tuscany. It has a light to medium body and is just lightly aromatic, similar to Pinot Grigio. However, when cultivated with care, the vine yields big, ripe, deeply-colored wines with balance, substance, and character. Also like Pinot Grigio, Vermentino is moderately high in acidity, without quite the same level of zing you’ll find in, for example, a Sauvignon Blanc. You’ll often find notes of peach, citrus, herbs, and almonds.
Try Campo al Mare Vermentino di Bolgheri DOC, which comes from an area with an exceptional climate moderated by sea breezes along the Tyrrhenian Sea of Tuscany, and pair with shellfish or poultry.
If you like Sauvignon Blanc, try Albariño
From the Rías Baixas in western Spain along the Atlantic coast, Albariño is light, elegant, and fresh with excellent acidity. The grape’s thick skin contributes to the wine’s intense fragrance, which fans of New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs will love. Albariño offers pleasant surprise in its variety of mouthfeel, as it can seem both compellingly textured yet light on the palate.
A great wine to try is Bodega Don Olegario’s Albariño, with beautifully aromatic notes of white pear, apple, and floral undertones; the palate is citrusy and herbal. It pairs perfectly with seafood and fish, and also stands up well to international cuisine like sushi, or spicy Indian and Thai food.
If you like Chardonnay, try Torrontés
Torrontés is the signature white grape of Argentina, and when grown in the Salta region of Argentina, gives incredibly refreshing wines perfect for drinking on a hot summer day. Many people love the fuller body of Chardonnay wines, and a Torrontés strikes the right balance between refreshing and medium-bodied. It is aromatic with fruity, floral notes similar to a cool or moderate climate Chardonnay, but different enough to provide a unique tasting experience. And Torrontés is a grape that can provide complexity, such as when a producer decides to age on its lees.
Alta Vista Estate Torrontés is grown in vineyards among the terroirs of Salta, sitting at 5,400 feet elevation. It is an example of lees aging and has delicate floral aromas and hints of white fruit; it’s very easy-drinking and fresh. Pair it with grilled or fried seafood or other snacks like onion rings, or focaccia topped with olive tapenade.