2009 Naked Snoqualmie Riesling
Columbia Valley, Washington / Retail $9-$12
A German grape that is putting Washington on the wine map, Riesling finds a good home in Snoqualmie, best known as the setting for the exterior shots in David Lynch's Twin Peaks. The wine is organic, and volcanic soils stress the grapes, which are grown without irrigation. Naked offers bouquets of apricot and spice, then taste nuances of spring flowers, pineapple, apple and peach flavors, delivered with the minerality gained from the rocky soil, and concluding with a honeyed, candied fruit, off-dry finish. Letting the chilled wine warm up slightly exposes different aspects of the fruit. Buy it at: Whole Foods Market in Metairie and Sam's Club. Drink it at: JW Marriott Hotel, Bistro de la Reine, Speckled T's and Bosco's Italian Cafe.
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rose, Non-Vintage Cava
Penedes, Spain / Retail $7-$10
This brut rose cava (sparkling wine) from Spain can hold its flavor even when heavily chilled. It has a remarkable pale red color, it's light and dry on the nose and the palate, and flavors of summer fruits abound. Aromas of strawberry give way to light Bing cherry and raspberry notes on the palate. The fruitiness does not come from artificial sweetness and the wine does not overwhelm, offering both restraint and elegance, leaving tinges of apple on a clean finish. Drink it as an aperitif or mix it in Champagne cocktails. Buy it at: Whole Foods Markets, Wine Seller, Prytania Liquor Store, Bacchanal, Budget Saver Food Market, Deep South Trading Company, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket and most Winn Dixies and Breaux Marts. Drink it at: Maple Street Cafe and Stingray's Grill and Bar.
2010 Commanderie de la Bargemone Rose
Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, France / Retail $15-$19
This pale salmon-colored wine from an estate founded in Provence in the 13th century is a classic representation of southern France's roses: fragrant and refreshing with great balance and vitality. The soils in this region are poor and stony, which offer low yields. The 2010 vintage is excellent and the fruit expressions are layered and complicated. The blend predominantly uses Carignan, with Grenache and solid doses of Cinsault and Syrah. The wine's bouquet smells of fresh flowers, red berries and hints of melon, followed by flavors of strawberry, herbal notes and a pleasing minerality and good acid on the finish. It's a versatile food wine and goes with seafood, light meats and many other dishes. Buy it at: Wine Seller, Bacchanal and Swirl.
2009 Bottega Vinaia Pinot Grigio
Trentino, Italy / Retail $13-$15
Produced in northeastern Italy amid the rising peaks of the Dolomites, this straw-colored wine initially appeals to the nose with scents of lemon and tropical fruit. On the palate, taste peach and green apple and crisp acidity on the finish. Buy it at: Cork & Bottle, Canseco's on Esplanade, Elio's Wine Warehouse, Prytania Liquor Store, most Rouses, Bacchanal, Dorignac's, Langenstein's, Cellars of River Ridge, Budget Saver Food Mart and Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket. Drink it at: Irene's Cuisine, Mosca's, Bombay Club, American Sector, Pascal's Manale, Vincent's Italian Cuisine, Andrea's Restaurant, Adolfo's, Austin's, Brick Oven Cafe, Riccobono's Peppermill Restaurant, Fausto's Italian Kitchen, Olive Garden, Ristorante del Porto, The Hungry Forager, Assunta's and Palmetto's on the Bayou.
2010 Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough, New Zealand / Retail $9-$15
"Cupcake" may sound like a frivolous little offering, but the wine delivers satisfying varietal aromas and flavors. New Zealand built its reputation for making fine wine on the Sauvignon Blanc grape, renowned for bracing, stiff acidity and citrus flavors, particularly grapefruit, and strong herbal notes. That's what's here in complete balance with a silky texture and zesty finish. Pair it with seafood, particularly oysters. Buy it at: Prytania Liquor Store, Robert Fresh Market, Discount Express, Canseco's, Dorignac's, Langenstein's, Cost Plus World Markets, WalMart, Sam's Club, Target, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket, Town Crier, most Rouses, Winn-Dixies and Breaux Marts, and Fresh Market, Albertson's and Saia's Super Meta Market in Mandeville. Drink it at: Katie's Restaurant and Harrah's.
2009 Grooner Gruner Veltliner
Krenstal, Austria / Retail $13
Austria's popular and prized Gruner Veltliner varietal makes summertime sing with its easy-drinking, wonderfully crisp, aromatic wines. Created specifically for the U.S. market, this versatile Gruner offers heady whiffs of pear, mango, vanilla and tangerine. On the palate, taste lemon zest, tropical fruit notes, guava, tart green apple, spice and hints of white pepper and honey. Grooner is fine by itself for leisurely sipping, and it goes well with everything from a chilled fruit cup to spicy Asian cuisines and sauces, seafood, shellfish, asparagus, light meats and antipasti. Buy it at: Dorignac's. Drink it at: Green Goddess, Slice Pizzeria.
2010 Mallea 62 Torrontes
San Juan, Argentina / Retail $10-$13
There are still not-fully-discovered gems from Argentina to explore. Besides Malbec, the country's benchmark grape, Torrontes is a white varietal wine drinkers should not overlook. The grape thrives in high, dry, cold, wind-swept altitudes, which impart an acidity to the wine that makes it a good accompaniment to seafood or even salad. This dry, medium-bodied wine offers strong aromas of citrus, peach, mango and quince as well as apricot notes and a hint of honey. On the palate, taste stonefruit flavors, and a pleasant aftertaste tinged with lemongrass. Drink it with seafood, Asian cuisines and spicy flavored foods. Buy it at: Swirl Wine Market, Bacchanal and Cork & Bottle. Drink it at: Green Goddess.
2009 Flipflop Pinot Noir
California / Retail $5-$8
Diehard red wine fans don't have to give up garnet-toned, deeply flavorful wines just because of the summer heat. This light-style, well-crafted Pinot Noir with fruit sourced from good Pinot growing regions in California offers enticing aromas of red berries and cola followed by bright cherry and cranberry fruit on the palate. Sweet spices punctuate a velvety mouthfeel, carrying through with some hints of vanilla on the finish. Drink it with seafood, grilled meats, cheeses, appetizers and pizza. Proceeds benefit the Soles4Souls Foundation, and sales of the wine have provided more than 100,000 pairs of shoes for people in need. Buy it at: Breaux Mart in Uptown, Terranova Brothers Superette, most Rouses, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket, Piggly Wiggly in Covington, Saia's Super Meat Market and Lishman's City Market. Drink it at: Schiro's Cafe.
2010 Gryphus Sauvignon Blanc
Valle del Rapel, Chile / Retail $9-$11
Grÿphus Wine Company produces only one wine, this distinctive Sauvignon Blanc. The vineyards are more than 2,000 feet above sea level and are affected by the Pacific Ocean as well as the Andes Mountains. Strong winds keep the vines low to the ground, soaking up sunshine and warmth, and allowing grapes to achieve full ripening. Gryphus' unmistakably Sauvignon Blanc aromatics feature lemon zest, papaya and stonefruit. In the mouth, the wine exhibits the varietal's true character of clean pear and tart grapefruit flavors. The citrusy aspects on the palate lead to excellent acidity. Enjoy it with sushi, shellfish, salads and spicy cuisines. Buy it at: Dorignac's and Langenstein's.