Quencher Quibbling

Which wine pairs with your gender, and other summer tips

| June 19, 2013
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In the heat of summer, choosing an optimal crisp white requires a cool head. Does a screw cap mean the wine's cheap? Why does Pinot Gris cost more than Pinot Grigio? Concerning wine coolers, does the wine matter? In an almost totally random assortment of wines, I recently found some answers—more questions, too. Tasted non-blind. Method of wine cooler: 75ml each wine and 7-Up, two ice cubes.

Angeline 2012 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($15) A promising value, appellation-wise. Melon rind, sour acidity not so much refreshing as hot. OK with 7-Up. ★★½

Francis Ford Coppola 2012 'Director's Cut' Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($21) Brisk aroma of lime rind and jasmine, and a sweet-spot, cool, balanced palate, like a good margarita. Zesty flavors of lime and melon. Nice with 7. ★★★★

Pedroncelli 2012 'East Side' Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($14) Slight aroma of camphor might help keep bugs away. Crisp and dry, with oil of rosemary defining the palate. Exceptional with 7-Up. Muddle in some fresh mint, and you've got a low-alcohol mojito. ★★½

La Crema 2012 Monterey Pinot Gris ($20) What you often get with a Gris is a different style, aged in older barrels to give it texture, without overt oakiness. For their first-ever Gris, Noir et Chard standby La Crema skipped that and went all stainless, keeping the higher price point. I call foul, but still, with powdery pear cotlet aroma and a soft palate, it's a nice wine. All but lost in 7-Up. ★★★½

Fat Cat 2011 Pinot Grigio ($8 approximately; suggested retail price not available) Smells interesting, Muscat and white raisin, but ends up the flavor of nondescript white wine. Try with 7-Up. ★½

Flipflop 2011 Chardonnay ($7 approx.) Smart, screw-cap, gendered design. You can learn a lot from the label: that it's medium dry, pairs with chicken caesar salad, should be stored away from direct sunlight, and proceeds benefit the shoeless. Oaky, buttery Chard in there somewhere—as if the blend was two barrels Rombauer, one tanker Thompson seedless. No on 7-Up. ★★

Pepperwood Grove NV Chardonnay ($5 approx.) "Green" package, with "Zork" cork alternative. Exotic, oxidized, golden raisin, honey-drizzled apple. From a funky organic outfit, this I would expect, but weird coming from a major supermarket brand. Still weird in 7-Up. ★★

Wild Hare NV Chardonnay ($5 approx.) Fun label from Rabbit Ridge, formerly of Healdsburg before they got a wild hair up theirs. Rather in the woody, buttery style, with a genuine pressed cork. Why, cheap wine with corks? Perhaps manufacturers are leery of die-hard consumer associations of "cheap wine" and screw caps. Oh, bitter palate of irony. It's 2013, nearly all the best Pinots of Middle Earth (i.e., New Zealand) are screw-capped, and everyone's just fine with it. Even the Elves. Ixnay Up-7-ay. ★★½

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