Memorial Day is the official start of the “summer whites” season, when crisp white tees, tanks, shoes, sneakers, bags and jeans are all permissible under even the strictest dress codes. We’ve been exploring the best summer white fashions in recent posts. But what about summer white wines? To leave no stone unturned, we decided to investigate this urgent matter. We scoured Wine.com; Food & Wine; Travel & Leisure; and several other sources, and synthesized their recommendations across a broad range of options, including organic wines. These are the expert picks for the best white wines to buy in a bottle, can or box for parties and other celebrations this summer, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and more.
what’s the expert pick for the best white wine to buy this summer?
The consensus view of the experts is that there is no “one” white wine that’s meant to be consumed exclusively in the summer months. Instead, they recommend a range of options and urge us to experiment, taste-test and then decide what we love best.
According to Liquor.com, the guiding principles for a perfect crisp summer white wine are “fruit-forwardness, low tannins, and thirst-quenching acid. You want something refreshing, so avoid wines with high alcohol or high levels of tannin, as they might be too much for scorching days.”
Here are some of the top varietals to have in mind. These all pair well with classic summer foods like chicken, white fish, oysters, grilled vegetables and salads. Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent summertime wine, as it has lovely tropical fruit flavors. You could also taste-test a few Rieslings until you find one that isn’t too sweet. Pinot Grigio and Pinot Gris pair well with summery pastas and risotto. Rhone blends like Vigonier, Marsanne and Rousanne are good summer options. Vouvray is a white wine made with Chenin Blanc grapes from France. And of course, there’s always Chardonnay.
top expert picks of the 10 best white wines to drink this summer
1. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2022.
We love Cloudy Bay, and Travel & Leisure notes that the winery has issued another of its fan-favorite sauvignon blancs, making this a complex and delicious choice for summer 2023. “A vibrant nose with notes of citrus, makrut lime, white nectarine, and passionfruit. The palate is mouthwatering with ripe passionfruit and citrus flavors. The wine has a medium body and is crisp and refreshing.” Come to think of it, this would make an excellent host or hostess gift.
BUY NOW: $75.
2. Wölffer Summer in a Bottle Long Island White 2022.
Wine.com describes the aptly-named Summer in a Bottle White from Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons as “a blend of four grapes: 41% Chardonnay, 29% Gewürztraminer, 20% Riesling, and 10% Pinot Gris. The wine has juicy aromas of local summer fruits, such as ripe peach, apricot, and cantaloupe. It also has notes of honeysuckle and freshly cut hay.”
BUY NOW: $27.00.
3. Tyler Winery Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2020.
This is Liquor.com‘s top choice for what to drink when the temperature starts to rise. Fruit for this wine comes from four different vineyard sites in Santa Barbara County, California. “The resulting wine is ripe yet bright, marked by flavors of ripe stone fruit, citrus rind, green apple, lemon cream, and flint.”
BUY NOW: $37.
4. Craggy Range Sauvignon Blanc Te Muna Road Vineyard.
New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are a go-to for lots of people. This one comes highly recommended by Liquor.com. “Off the Tukituki River banks in New Zealand’s North Island lies Craggy Range in Hawke’s Bay, one of the nation’s best climates for cultivating wine grapes. This wine boasts a diverse cornucopia of crisp flavors and fruity aromas like citrus, peach, passionfruit, gooseberry, pear, lime zest and elderflower. ”
BUY NOW: $20.
5. Nomadica Sparkling White.
Wine in a can has been A Thing for a while now, and why not? It’s perfect for a sunset hike, an impromptu rooftop party or just a nice tipple on a hot summer day. This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one canned wine, and we love what we’ve heard about this one.
Nomadica’s wines are produced using organic, responsibly-farmed grapes with low intervention and minimal sulfur. The design on each can is created in partnership with a visual artist to reflect the tasting notes within.
The winemaker notes “in our Sparkling White, we blend chardonnay with a touch of muscat to evoke lively notes of citrus, hints of nectarine, a whisper of melon. The profile finishes with a touch of something saline, like the welcome prickle of a saltwater kiss.”
BUY NOW: $58 for an 8-pack.
6. Black Box Sauvignon Blanc.
Wine in a box is also a popular option, especially for fun, easy entertaining on a hot summer day. And Consumer Reports names Black Box Sauvignon Blanc as the fan favorite for white boxed wine. Their testers report that “this Sauvignon Blanc is a great party wine, the kind of drinkable white that will appeal to almost any casual wine drinker. Grapefruit, tropical fruits, and green apple dominate in this smooth, light-bodied Chilean.” We’ve had it, and we second that. It’s not fussy or fancy, just fun.
BUY NOW: $19.99 for 3 liters.
7. Selbach-Oster Riesling Trocken 2019.
“Trocken” means dry in German, and Food & Wine confirms that “this Mosel Riesling from one of the region’s most acclaimed producers is certainly that—flinty and laser-focused, with lime and green apple flavors, it’s exceptionally refreshing.”
BUY NOW: $23.99.
8. Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery 2020 Sauvignon Blanc.
The Robb Report raves about this “SB” – which they say is the cool-kid lingo for Sauvignon Blanc. The Spottswoode Estate 2020 Sauvignon Blanc is “one of the best at any price.” It has notes of “honeysuckle, lime, green melon and green tea,” and “a creamy but elegantly structured (largely from vibrant acidity) palate layered with more green citrus; riper pear, stone fruit and tropical hints; and a savory note akin to saffron.”
BUY NOW: $59.99.
9. Ornellaia Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2019.
A blend comprised of Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino and Viognier, Wine.com proclaims that Poggio alle Gazze dell’Ornellaia 2019 “has a bright straw yellow color with green reflections. On the nose it releases intense notes of citrus and exotic fruit accompanied by scents of mowed grass and asparagus.” Wine Advocate says “the wine is luminous and bright with lots of energy and freshness.”
BUY NOW: $73.99.
10. Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux Le Haut-Lieu 2020.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate says the 2020 Vouvray Le Haut-Lieu Moelleux is “clear, pure, fresh and concentrated on the lemon and pineapple-scented nose.” It’s a wonderful example of Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France.
BUY NOW: $47.99.
best white wines this summer
Those are the expert picks of the best white wine to buy in a bottle, can or box this summer, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. Have a great summer, dear reader.