From aristocratic Tuscany, the white Frescobaldi Castello di Pomino Bianco 2015, $19.95, brings sensuous pear-apple and vanilla notes to a lemon-citrus base for just sipping or serving with grilled white fish, garlic chicken, moules frites in the great outdoors (92).
A good white that caught my eye is the Domaine Saint Germain Macon Aze 2015, $15.95, a white Burgundy (Chardonnay, natch) with a wonderful lemony freshness and pineapple-honey palate appeal (89). With shellfish, grilled white fish, pasta salads and Asian dishes.
The 2015 vintage was good to Marlborough, New Zealand, and the Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc is living proof, $29.95: chewy, elegant and mouth-filling with white grapefruit and lime zest to the fore (89). Or you could save ten bucks with the Villa Maria Cellar Selection (2016, mind you) with a dill, apple and Asian spice tilt (88).
For your oak hit, there’s Luis Canas Fermentado en Barrica Blanco 2015 from Rioja, $18.95, a sturdy white that drinks more like a dry red (88). Barrel-fermented Viura for the most part, toasty, yeasty and mouth-filling. Charred chicken and planked salmon pair well.
If you really want oak, there’s El Enemigo Chardonnay 2014 from Mendoza, Argentina, $25.95. Dig out your own splinters (84).
In the price stratosphere, Kistler Les Noisetiers Chardonnay 2015 from California at $99.95 is another toasty oak heavyweight (89). You could serve these with steak, no problem!
There’s a very good value pink Pipoli Vigneti del Vulture Rosato 2016, $15.95, dry, berry-fruity and pleasantly refreshing, from the volcanic mountains of Basilicata in Italy’s deep south (89). Don’t waste cellar time, enjoy now with salade composee, grilled salmon and picnics.
A flock of nice 2016 dry pinks from Provence and the Languedoc includes Gerard Bertrand’s Cote des Roses, $17.95; Chateau la Tour de l’Eveque, $18.95; Gassier Sables d’Azur, $16.95; and Henri Gaillard, $16.95. They’re pretty interchangeable 88-90 -- partners for charcuterie, smoked salmon, and bbq fish, competent and good value.
For that chewy fruity cherry-plum, slightly bubble-gum Band-Aid thing we all like to get from Beaujolais, Trenel 2015 fills the bill, $16.90. Defines easy-drinking with a smoky hint that’s great for burgers, pizza, meatballs (89).
Cannonau di Sardegna 2012, a Vintages Essential red at $14.95 (91) is an old favorite in Canada, prized for its leathery, savory, spicy plum and berry flavors. Made from the local Garnacha grapes that were brought to the island by invading Spaniards long ago. A regular patio red to enjoy with red meats, game and barbecue.