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I need some summer white wine recs please

I've been drinking champagne lately because I'm so bored with my usual Chardonnays. I
have only been drinking Bogle Chard lately. I would like to open up to other varietals but I like a subtle, slightly sweet or not sweet is fine, non desert wine and sparkling is okay too. I've in the past liked whites when they've been referred to as buttery. I'm pretty sure I don't like my whites too oakey either. Sorry I'm a wine amateur. I'd like to purchase a couple under $20 or $15 each. Thank you

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  1. Would you recommend a Moscato? Reislings are too sweet for me.

    11 Replies
    1. re: missmodular818

      There are different sweetness levels for Rieslings - from very sweet to very dry....keeping that in mind Moscato d'Asti will be just as sweet.

      These are generalizations but I hope they help:

      Rare, but I think would be great and you can find it at good wine stores- would be a majority Roussanne blend from either California or France. Rousanne tends/to be made round creamy in a similar way to Chardonnays. An example:

      Also rarer but good to try:
      Chenin Blanc (clean, mineral), Grenache Blanc (herbal/floral/a little soft), or Albarino (green apple high acid - kind of like pinot grigio).

      Commonly available - Try New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs such as Matua. These will be tangy and fruity - kind of like a pineapple. Examples:

      If it's too much of a "fruit' sensation, then try French Sancerres. Examples:

      If you find all of these above wines to be too "sour" or "acidic" let them age six months.

      If that still doesn't work, try experimenting with chardonnays from different parts of the world. Chardonnay is a very malleable grape - and it can be made in many different ways and styles.

      Most of all please go to a good wine store. If you are still in the 818, I would highly recommend going to K & L or a similar quality wine store (Wallys is the only other one besides K & L I'm familiar with in LA but I'm sure there are others). There are exceptions, but generally the grocery store is not your friend. Especially with certain varietals, and European wine, they will not say the type of grapes in the wine on the label - so a good wine store clerk (or a good search engine such as K & Ls) can be a great help.

      1. re: goldangl95

        Thank you. Yes, I'm still in the 818. I'll have to check out K&L. What do you think of rose? Maybe I'd like a dry rose. Any recommendations?

        1. re: missmodular818

          Roses are great food wines. They tend to be either sticky sweet, or very dry and minerally. They never have much fruit. I don't like drinking them on their own (but again great with food, they just blend and compliment almost anything).

          Bedrock's Ode to Lulu Rose is one to try. And at a good price and somewhat widely available.

          I actually like Beaujolais ( a light red served ever so slightly cool) more than Roses if I'm not doing whites for summer sipping. Two good producers are:

          Domaine du Vissoux/Pierre Marie Chermette
          Domaine des Terres Dorées

          Also a sparkling red wine like Lambrusco can be fun.

      2. re: missmodular818

        Try a drier French-style Riesling. Usually less sweet than blue bottle German ones.

        1. re: AnneMarieDear

          Most German Rieslings these days are far from sweet.

          1. re: linguafood

            And most don't come in blue bottles.

            I do think that most German Rieslings found in 'mass-market' retailers will be sweetish wines. Kabinetts likely will be green appley tart with underlying sugar, but most Qualitatsweins and QmPs of spatlese and auslese levels will be sweetish - and delicious (at least the QmPs)

            1. re: AnneMarieDear

              I'm guessing you mean Alsace Rieslings? "French-style Rieslings" is not a term familiar to me. ('course, I'm a guy who thinks of a Medoc as a Bordeaux).

              One has to be careful in buying Alsace wines and expecting them to be 'bone-dry'. That is indeed the old conventional wisdom - it simply isn't how it is in the today's marketplace.

              1. re: FrankJBN

                Yes, obviously I have much to learn about rieslings! I think generally of Alsatian rieslings as dryer than many German ones. Also, I use "French style" when thinking of rieslings made outside of the Alsace region but with similar qualities. Northwestern United States, for instance, produces some that remind me of my idea of Alsatian wines.
                Naturally there are sweet in France and dry in Germany, but my general idea of them has been as I described. Time to get with it, looks like! Thanks for the info.

                1. re: FrankJBN

                  Completely agreed. It helps to be familiar with the house style when it comes to buying Alsace.

                  If OP is considering Alsace wines, which are typically free of oak influence, the big houses such as Hugel, Trimbach, Leon Beyer, Josmeyer, Ostertag (oaked) and perhaps Schlumberger make a properly dry style.

                  The Hugel Gentil (blend of riesling, muscat, pinot blanc, etc.; 2009 or 2010 is now available) would be a great summer white under $12.

            2. Try some of the Rhone style whites like Viognier, Roussane and Marsanne blends. These are easy drinking and refreshing, great for summer light dinners or picnics. Moscato can be great, the nose will say sweet even if the wine is very dry. Dry moscatos are some of my favorite hot weather pours

              2 Replies
              1. re: budnball

                <<Roussanne and Marsanne blends.>>

                These are two of my favorites.

                1. re: maria lorraine

                  Here are some tasty recommendations for Thanksgiving from the San Francisco Chronicle
                  that could be drunk year-round. As mentioned, I love white Rhone wines.


                  2011 Qupé Santa Barbara County Marsanne ($20, 13% alcohol
                  )2011 Le P'tit Paysan L'Apiculteur Cedar Lane Vineyard Arroyo Seco Viognier ($24, 14.1%)
                  2011 Kinero Rustler James Berry Vineyard Paso Robles Roussanne ($30, 13.7 % )
                  2011 Holly's Hill El Dorado Viognier ($20, 13.7%)
                  2011 Donkey & Goat Sluice Box El Dorado White ($27, 13%)
                  2011 Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc Paso Robles White ($20, 13.5%)

              2. Riesling, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Silvaner, Vinho Verde, French Sauvignon, Verdejo, Verdicchio, Vernacchia, Vermentino, Pinot Blanc.

                Just a few of my favorite things :-)

                1. Try a Chablis - a Chardonnay as far from Bogle (which I enjoy) as you can get,

                  Staying in France, many white Bordeaux wines are in your price range and below. Generally a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion, with Muscadelle in some areas, it's hard to miss with these solid wines. Specifically look for Chateau Turcaud, formerly a perennial 'Best Buy'

                  I would have to think that only sweetish Rieslings are too sweet for you. Look for German Rieslings marked "Trocken", which means dry. IMO German Rieslings are the best representation of that grape.

                  See if you can't find a Torrontes from Argentina. These wonderfully aromatic are becoming hot in the marketplace.

                  Wines suggested elsewhere, Chenin Blanc amd Albarino are not in my experience "rare" and should be easy to find.

                  Of course you don't like wines that are "too oaky". I dare say like the rest of us, you won't like wines that or too acidic or too flabby or too cloying or too anything else. Don't let this turn you away from oaked wines.

                  As you can tell from the posts, there's no shortage of white varietals on shelves. Buy some wine and try it. It's what you have to do to find wines you like to drink.

                  1. We really like Prosecco. Also try Albornio and Vernaccia. All easy, nice whites.

                    1. It sounds like you enjoy sparklers, freshness and "subtle wines", you might try a bottle of Famega Vinho Verde. It is about as inexpensive as you can get (under 10 bucks)!!! Easy to find in a grocery store. Goes great with food and easy to sip as it is only 9.5 percent alcohol...it just screams summer:)

                      1. To echo Sedimental and Linguafood, I think a Vinho Verde might be right up your alley. I actually tried one of the most inexpensive ones - Casal Garcia - the first time I had it and loved it.

                        I also love Charles Krug St. Helena Sauv Blanc - light, fruity and crisp.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Mariem414

                          Vinho Verde.

                          Try it by all means. Certainly can be refreshing of a hot summer afternoon ... but really kind of a lowest common denominator among whites. Casal Garcia for one.

                          Yes it is drinkable, but in 2012, as much as we'd like to, we're not buying "fine wines" for $4.50 a bottle.

                          1. re: FrankJBN

                            Of course I wasn't suggesting that Casal Garcia is a "fine wine". I was merely saying that for an extremely inexpensive wine, it was surprisingly tasty. Especially pre-dinner on a hot, summer evening.

                            No harm, no foul.

                              1. re: Mariem414

                                Geez,....wines under ten bucks are not "fine wines"???? Who da thunk.


                                1. re: sedimental

                                  I typify things in four categories, when it comes to wines. Though there CAN be some overlap, one has:

                                  Wine - maybe 80% of what is labeled as wine
                                  Good wine - now we narrow things down greatly, to perhaps 15% of the rest
                                  Fine wine - and we are at the last 4%
                                  Great wine - and this is that last 01% - these are the wines, that leather-bound books are written about.

                                  Under US $ 10? Well, I do not think that one will find any, much past the first level. However, there ARE often some surprises.


                              2. re: FrankJBN

                                Thanks to this thread I tried a Vinho Verde for the first time. Do agree it is a refreshing and inexpensive summer drink. Will try a few more before I feel I know it well enough to recommend a brand.

                              3. re: Mariem414

                                Just as a note to the OP. Vinho Verde is probably the white on the opposite end of the spectrum from "buttery." It's rather acidic/tart.

                              4. There are quite a few previous threads on this same subject:

                                Wine Summer Wines
                                Easy, Fun, Summer Whites
                                Need white wine suggestions for summer guests
                                White Wine for a Wine Novice
                                Wine Wine for Late Summer Wedding
                                Inexpensive wines for summer wedding
                                Trader Joes White wines
                                White wine to drink on its own....
                                White Wine
                                SF Summer Wedding


                                1. I love the moselland riesling ars vitis from germany. It's rated a 3 but I don't find it too sweet. ON the other hand I have just tried the barefoot moscato ( a 2 on the scale for sweetness) and I find it too sweet.

                                  1. It may have been that everything tastes better on the Oregon Coast when taking a break from Texas summer, but I fell in love with the Eyrie Pinot Gris. Fruit, mineral, crisp cold, complex as it warmed a little.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                      I tend to like dryer than you are talking but my current favorite grape is albarino - have yet to have a bottle I did not like - its dry but fruitier than sb this is now my replacment for new zealand wines they have gotten way to grapefuity

                                      1. re: winepoet

                                        Please box up your "too grapefruity" NZ SBs and send them to me. I don't know why I like that type so well, but I do!

                                        for the OP, from one amatuer to another, perhaps try....
                                        Oregon Pinot Gris
                                        White blends like Caymus Conundrum

                                        1. re: danna

                                          Haven't tried either of the Conundra, but I like Parducci sustainable red and sustainable white for cheap drinkable wines.

                                          1. re: tim irvine

                                            Does Caymus even make Conundrum anymore?

                                            Or is the blending so different from what it was five years ago that is no longer any good?

                                            1. re: maria lorraine

                                              they do still make it, at least I'm still buying it. I don't think it's as good as used to be. Seems sweeter and less...i dunno...less complex, maybe? But I still like it well enough for before-dinner w/ cheese. And my wine store has 1/2 bottles of it, a big plus for me.

                                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                                Uh, yes and no. Conundrum is no longer made by Caymus, but it *is* still made by the Wagner family. They spun it off as a separate brand in 2001, and it's been made at a winery in Monterey County since 2007. See http://conundrumwine.com

                                                It's still made from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Viognier and Sémillon , and still bears a California appellation.


                                                1. re: zin1953

                                                  Yes, I knew about the spinoff. Seems like the blend is far different from what it was.
                                                  Less Muscat, less Viognier and less Semillion -- all the things that made the blend aromatic and interesting. Not really the same at all.

                                                  Hunt is really the go-to guy here. He knows this wine.

                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                    We enjoyed Buitenverwachthing Sauv. Bl.2011 from S. Africa this summer. We will try next year's offering from the winery as it was so good...

                                                    1. re: maria lorraine

                                                      I agree completely on Less, Less and Less, of some of the major components.

                                                      No long am I transported to Southern Nights, with the nose. Just not what it once was.


                                                  2. re: maria lorraine


                                                    We have found the blending to be over-the-top on high-acid SB, with none of the old floral notes, from the Muscat, or the Viognier.

                                                    Once, Conundrum was our "house white," but not over the last two +/- years. Now, it just seems to be "heartburn in a bottle."

                                                    We are sad, and only hope that the "good old days" will return, but I doubt it.


                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      I liked the old Conundrum. I haven't recently tasting the White Maximus from Bennett Lane Winery, but it was very similar to the old Conundrum blend. Here is the link to it at the winery -- notice the blend and the 2% Muscat that gives it that exotic floral nose/flavor:


                                                      1. re: maria lorraine


                                                        Thank you for that link. I have not encountered the Bennett Lane yet. Not sure if it's distributed in AZ, but will look for it in our monthly trips to SF.

                                                        I personally miss the "old" Conundrum greatly. Once, one sniff carried me back to the Deep South, and a Spring evening on the lake - lot of great memories induced by that Muscat and Viognier, but it's now long gone, at least for us.



                                          2. Don't think anyone has mentioned the Spanish whites like Albarino, Loureiro, Treixadura, Parellada, Macabeo or Godello. Many single varietal and blends of the above grapes and aren't usually too expensive.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                                              Wow, how could Albariño (various spellings) not have been mentioned?

                                              Just did a week in London and another in Paris, and we did several Albariños, though it was October, and the citizens seemed to think that Autumn was in full-force. The temps were still up there, and the wines went down well, as our "starters." Good call.


                                            2. The thermometer hit triple digits in northern Orange County, Calif., yesterday -- so while the calendar points out that Halloween isn't even two weeks away, summer's still here. By the looks of things, I wouldn't count on SoCal "winter weather" to arrive much before Christmas: That's why our robust, food-worthy dry roses and whites are in play with me and my better half nearly all year.

                                              I prefer those lighter, snappier whites to knock down high heat; those include -- as other posters here have pointed out -- Sauvignon Blancs, Rieslings (Kabinett, preferably, if a Pradikatswein-level selection is the topic), Albarionos, Gruner Veltliners, Pinot Grigios, Muscadets and VInho Verdes.

                                              I'll toss out one more alternative for toasty days: a Feinherb Riesling. It's dry as a desert abd impossibly vibrant with super-dry orange and ruby grapefuit on the mid-palate -- super as a pre-dinner quaff to put a charge into the taste buds. Mmm ...

                                              Because I'm a geek and love those off-the-beaten path selections, I'll happily add Cortese, a zesty, high-toned white from Piedmont that bursts with lemon and white pepper. It's a toughie to find, but absolutely scrumptious; it's a natural with the likes of Greek/Mediterranean fare, firm white finfish such as swordfish, and a bevy of dishes with lemon sauces. (Note: Cortese's acidity will work as a foil for lusty, creamy sauces such as Alfredo.)

                                              When the thermometer drops below 70 degrees Fahrenheit -- just the time wannabe-fashionistas here in SoCal don their heavy jackets and fleece-lined Ugg boots -- we'll make the move to weightier whites: Chardonnay, Viognier, Rousanne, Spatlese-level Riesling (much richer on the palate, IMHO, than Kabinett Rieslings), most Alsatian whites (heavier than their Loire Valley and German counterparts, it's worth noting) and dry Semillon, the uber-savory and creamy white that, after botrytis, is featured in Sauternes.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: Dornfelder

                                                D'oh! How could I gab on about summer-perfect whites without mentioning Txakolina: a snappy, super-refreshing Spanish white?


                                                1. re: Dornfelder

                                                  For the record, Gavi DOC is made only from cortese, and usually fairly easy to find at various price points. Can't say as a rule Alsatian whites are heavier than Loire counterparts (which would be made from grapes not used in Alsace, anyway; a luscious Vouvray, for instance) but a pinot blanc from Alto Adige or Friuli can have more zing (and heft, sometime) than its Alsatian cousin. Staying in Italy and away from its northeast, there's Sardinian vermentino and verdicchio from le Marche; a very good bargain along these lines is Falesco's verdicchio-vermentino 50/50 blend from Umbria.

                                                  1. re: Dornfelder

                                                    We recently spent a week with Dr. Ernst Loosen, and he brought out some of his "dry" Rieslings. While his family is known for the QmP wines, he has been exploring some fully "dry" wines, as his grandfather produced. Interesting, and very, very good. We experienced them in the Summer heat, and they were delightful. What I do not recall was the US distribution for those, but they quickly went to the top of MY list. Just delightful.


                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                      Dr. Loosen produces some of the better dry Rieslings in Germany.

                                                      Other great Rieslings are produced by Tesch, and there are a large number of young vintners who are creating some exciting Rieslings.

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        Thanks for that.

                                                        While not "new," the "dry Rieslings" seem to be gaining traction in the market.

                                                        Unfortunately, there could be some marketing issues in the US, as the term "dry Riesling" refers to some inferior, almost "bulk wines." From great GR producers, it has a totally different meaning, and an important one.

                                                        Though OT for this thread, we experienced some "non-traditional" wines, during an earlier visit to Blackberry Farm this year. The vintner for that event was Dirk Niepoort, who besides his family's Port wines, is producing some non-Port wines, that are "major players." Very interesting wines, and I will be curious as to how they play in the US market.


                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                          Yes, of course. Germans have known for decades that there is more to Riesling than the sweet plonk that is sold overseas.

                                                          That said, the younger vintners seem to be more adventurous in their creations. It is my favorite grape -- so versatile.

                                                          1. re: linguafood

                                                            What's mostly new, it seems at least to this casual drinker of GR, is the packaging--the simpler labels, with most required wording inc including place names, hidden more from view. It's more like a fighting varietal, at competitive price points, cloaked in sleekness. It may just be a Pfalz, with no further appellation, but I think these almost all dry entry wines can capture new world buyers. Looks like many of the largest estates/producers are doing this, hope their efforts encourage more people to start drinking their way up the Mosel and Rhine river chains.

                                                  2. Just in case no one has yet mentioned Torrontes, I'll add it now. It's a brisk, medium-bodied Argentinian white (brought to South American from Spain during the phylloxera crisis in the 19th centuiry) with nuanced minerality and acidity, perfect for salads and lighter entrees. Additionally, its bouquet -- peaches, orages, lilacs and roses -- makes it quite a conversation piece.

                                                    Finally, I've got to put in a +1 for my beloved Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand). I'm a sucker for its crazy and stunning "bride's bouquet" aromas, soft minerality, and subtle interplay of key lime and guava -- a hint of the latter on the back palate. I tell you, folks, few wines are better for helping tackle 100-degree-plus heat than the Crawford SB.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Dornfelder

                                                      Both Torrentes and Txakoli or Txakolina have been frequently recommended in previous threads.
                                                      MissModular, please check previous threads for more ideas.

                                                      1. re: Dornfelder

                                                        I do not recall Torrentes here, but it IS a worthwhile option, though a tad (usually) heavier, than some other varietals.


                                                      2. I'm late to this discussion but like you I drink chardonnay. French chardonnay. When we were in Paris we drank Sancerre which is sauvignon blanc but unlike US sauvignon blanc. And for the summer I have fallen in love with French rose which you can find for a good price in the US. Lovely with or without food. We even have a French champage (80% pinot noir and 20% chard) for the holiday and I am very much looking forward to that!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: MarySteveChicago

                                                          Now, for Chardonnay, Chablis (1 er Cru wines tend to be a tad bit heavier) can be a great choice, like the SB's from Bordeaux, or the Loire.

                                                          Just returned from Paris, and though the temps were heading "south," we did a ton of white Bdx, Chablis, and even more Rosés (fitting for the temps, at least for us), as starters.

                                                          Now, as a side-note, we DID head into some bigger Chards, plus red Burgs, and Bdx. wines, as the evenings progressed, but we DID start light, and then work up.


                                                          PS - there were MANY Champagnes too, so those are also options.