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Wine Guy: White wine alternatives for summer sipping

By: Rich Mauro Special to The Gazette
September 6, 2017 Updated: September 6, 2017 at 4:10 am
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I know it's a cliché, but I do tend to drink more white wine in the summer than any other time. In case you do too, this column suggests a tour of Germany, France and Italy to find the heat resisters you need.

German Riesling is my go-to white for its fresh apple and stone fruit, bracing acidity and moderate alcohol, making a refreshing drink and food-pairing paradise. I would describe each wine below as moderately sweet.

The 2016 Urban ($15) from the celebrated St. Urbans-Hof in the Mosel River Valley centers on juicy fruit with a racy backbone. From the Rheingau, the 2015 Schloss Vollrads Qualitätswein ($20) adds nice, ripe peach, while its 2015 Kabinett ($24) includes citrus with a touch of mineral. Back in the Mosel, the 2015 Bischöfliche "Scharzhofberger" Spätlese ($30) is an impressive single vineyard expression showing more complexity with honeyed apricot.

Alsatian Gewürztraminer is another favorite. I love the citrus and lychee fruit and especially the spice, presented with more body than most white wines. Enjoy the 2013 Emile Beyer "Tradition" ($22) for its off-dry honeyed fruit, the drier, mineral and forest notes of the 2012 Trimbach ($26) and the succulent, creamy pear and tangerine of the 2011 Pierre Sparr "Mambourg" Grand Cru ($44).

Italy does Gewürztraminer surprisingly well. Mostly from Alto Adige, it tends to be more delicate and crisp but still intense and refreshing. The 2016 Colterenzio ($15) is lively, floral, spicy and dry. The 2015 Castelfeder "Vom Lehm" ($19) has strong acidity with honeyed minerality. The 2015 St. Michael-Eppan "Sanct Valentin" ($32) is dry, complex, spicy, flavorful and textural.

Two other Alto Adige whites worth seeking out are Sylvaner and Sauvigon (what we know as Sauvignon Blanc). The 2015 Pacherhof Sylvaner ($22) is structured with robust and earthy tropical fruits. The 2015 Tiefenbruner "Turmhof" Sauvignon ($21) leans to fresh citrus with grassy notes.

Italy's best-known white wine import, though, is Pinot Grigio. Also from northeastern regions, its generally light, brisk melon and citrus notes - like those of the 2015 Luna Nuda ($15) from Alto Adige - have been a winning combination with consumers.

I also recommend these from the Delle Venezie: 2016 Ecco Domani ($12) a bright, fresh style perfect as an aperitivo; bracing 2016 Cantina Riff ($10), from the highly respected Alois Lageder; and 2015 Tommasi "La Rosse" ($17), a single vineyard wine in a somewhat richer style.

I also suggest you try these rare varietal wines from other Italian regions. First, the pecorino variety indigenous to central Italy: 2015 Ciù Ciù "Merlettaie" ($18) from the le Marche region, a fine example of the region's boom in organics; 2016 Niro ($18) from neighboring Abruzzo is a bit fuller yet, balanced with tropical fruit.

Vermentino is grown mostly on the island of Sardegna (Sardinia). A worthy proponent is the 2015 Olianas ($15) with bright citrus, toast and light spice. The 2016 Cecchi "La Morra" ($20) supplies nice floral and savory stone fruit from nearby Tuscany.

And if you want to go really rare, try the savory 2015 Li Veli Verdeca ($18), an ancient grape indigenous to Puglia.

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