Tasting Wine: Cool wines for hot summer days

Can you feel it? By the time this article hits the streets we might be in for a dip in temperature, but right now I am sitting in my office, with all doors open, listening to Muni rumble along Market Street, wishing I was at the beach.

I’ve been writing about some good warmer-weather wines during the last few weeks and how apropos on a day like this. We’ve been to Spain and Germany, so now let’s move westward to France.

To me, Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhone are great areas for cold-weather white wines, as they are heavier and have a good bit of alcohol. When it comes to the spring and summer, I am drawn toward the Southwest and some wines from Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence, Loire and Bordeaux. As a rule, these wines tend to be a little lighter and crisper.

If you are a red-wine drinker, the only answer is “Beaujolais.” This region between Burgundy and the northern Rhone produces terrific fruity wines that are also good with a little chill.

Here are three superb French wines that you can take to the beach, park or enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Salut!

Chateau Reynon, 2006 (Bordeaux, France): This is one of the gems from Denis Dubourdieu Domaines. This chateau, in the Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, has been in Dubourdieu’s family since 1958. Composed mostly of Sauvignon Blanc, it has a grassy, minerally character with guava, peach, grapefruit and a long, pointed finish. Suggested retail: $14

Chateau Soucherie, Anjou Blanc, 2006 (Loire Valley, France): From one of the best Savennieres producers comes this aromatic little jewel. It does not have the richness of Soucherie’s more grand wines, but on a hot day, it will absolutely do the trick. Light-bodied with a heightened minerality — melon, a hint of honey and almond flavors — it is not to be missed. Suggested retail: $15

Marcel Lapierre Morgon, 2006 (Beaujolais, France): Here is the lone red for this tasting. Marcel Lapiere started with 17 acres in 1973. Today, along with his son, Mathieu, he makes one of the best wines from Beaujolais in the cru, Morgon. With intoxicating aromas of violets, black cherries and cinnamon, followed by blueberry, boysenberry fruit and good but approachable tannin, he has made a wonderful red wine for warm weather drinking. Suggested retail: $23

Pamela S. Busch is the wine director and proprietor of CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in San Francisco.

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