Favorite

Whites and rosés are the perfect antidote to hot, sticky summer weather. 

Think Young, Think Light

Young and light is how most of us would like to feel in a bathing suit. Young and light is also what we crave most in our wine glass this time of year, and it's much more attainable than trying to look like Kate Moss in a bikini. When the humidity and the temperature are both over 95, the last thing we want to drink is a rich, plummy merlot, a full-bodied chardonnay, or an oaky cabernet sauvignon. Wines that don't have to be sipped are much more refreshing in July and August. Such wines are often called quaffing wines, because they go down almost as easily as mineral water. This doesn't mean the wines are boring; they're simply more suited to the season, just as pasta with fresh basil and tomatoes is more tempting than chteaubriand when the mercury soars.

During the dog days, look for wines that are youthful (which usually means they'll be uncomplicated, light-bodied and have little or no oak) since they'll be more refreshing, and will complement summer fare better. This is the time of year to pop open a dry Riesling from Alsace or Germany. It's also perfect weather for just about any wine from the Loire — look for sauvignon blancs with sancerre or pouilly-fumé on the label or a rosé from Anjou. Other favorites are listed below. Just remember to chill the wine thoroughly (a bucket of ice and cold water does the job faster than the freezer).

1997 Rivefort de France Viognier, $10. A full-flavored white wine with crisp acidity and lush flavors of peach and apricot. Perky notes of white pepper in the finish make this an interesting, tasty beverage indeed. Try it with chicken Caesar salad, grilled scallops or steamed mussels with garlic and parsley.

1998 Chateau Souverain Sauvignon Blanc, $10. A nicely balanced, medium-light-bodied wine with refreshing citrus notes. Delicious with spaghetti and clam sauce.

1998 Banolis Friuli Grave Pinot Grigio, $12.99. Crisp, clean and easy to drink, this light-bodied white with hints of toast and pears is just right with chicken salad, crab cakes or steamed shrimp.

1997 McDowell Marsanne, $16. A medium-light white wine with faint melon aromas. Clean and refreshing with a nice balance of fruit and acid, try this wine with simple grilled chicken.

1998 Preston Vineyards Vin Gris, $9. This salmon-colored wine is beautifully balanced with vibrant strawberry hints in the nose and a perfectly dry finish. Very good with main-course salads, club sandwiches and simple pasta dishes.

1997 Paul Jaboulet AŒné Tavel l'EspiŠgle, $15.99. Aromas of cherry and pear are a seductive beginning to this dry, sophisticated French rosé. Try it with grilled tuna or salmon or something heartier, like grilled pork loin.

1997 McDowell Grenache Rosé, $9.99. This California rosé has a distinct aroma of cassis and is crisp and bracing on the palate. Delicious with grilled chicken breasts or veal
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