My friend Divit, wine manager at the Boise Co-op, calls them "refrigerator whites": those well-chilled bottles waiting for the moment when friends drop by (or don't) and you head out with a glass of wine to relax on your sun-drenched porch or patio. The requirements are that they be unpretentiously refreshing and reasonably priced. Here are three of my favorites designed to fit different budgets and begging to be purchased by the case. All hail from the south of France, where they know a thing or two about warm-weather whites.
2006 Domaine de Pouy, $7.99
The first of two from the region of Cotes de Gascogne in southwest France, the Pouy has been a perennial best-buy for years and the quintessential refrigerator white. A blend of ugni blanc (France's most widely planted white wine grape) and colombard, it offers light citrus, fresh straw and green apple aromas with a nice herbal hint. It's completely crisp and utterly refreshing in the mouth with bright citrus flavors led by grapefruit and backed by green apple. The perfect mix of price and quality make this an outstanding value.
2006 Mas Carlott, $9.99
From the small appellation of Clairette de Bellegarde in the Costieres de Nimes and made from true clairette blanc, a distinctive grape that too often produces flabby wines with an overt nut quality. The Mas Carlott is rich but not flabby, with fragrant aromas of orange blossom, rose and gooseberry. Opulent flavors coat the mouth with creamy citrus, mandarin orange, mango and a refreshing touch of pineapple and spice on the finish. Save this one for the cool of the evening.
2006 Domaine la Hitaire Hors Saison, $10.99
The second entry from Gascony is owned by the sons of Yves Grassa, proprietor of Domaine de Pouy. This blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon opens with lovely peach and lightly herbaceous aromas that tantalize the nose. Subtle flavors of stone fruit carry through on the palate along with delicate touches of kiwi. Ripe lemon and lime help to keep things light and refreshing. The finish is long and smooth lingering on 'til your next inevitable sip.