Given the intense heat of the summer of 2011, we are delighted to add yet another cooling, eminently refreshing wine to our list of recommended warm weather sippers. The 2010 Haras Sauvignon Blanc (about $12 at big box stores and some wine shops) is made from estate-grown grapes harvested in Chile's Maipo Valley and cold fermented in steel before aging on light fermentation lees.
The estate itself, known as Haras de Pirque, is a meld of vineyards and winery with a respected thoroughbred stud farm in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, reflecting the owner's twin passions.
This lively sauv blanc is a lovely pale greenish yellow in the bottle, with a bouquet of grapefruit, Meyer lemon and a bit of lime on the nose. All of those fruits, plus a little pineapple, are abundant and vivacious on the tongue, with just the right edge of flinty minerality to keep the flavors in balance. This wine softens a bit on the long finish, which fades slowly to a single faint note of mild vanilla.
As is true of all our summer sippers, this sauv blanc is an ideal aperitif or social sipper, but it also would pair delightfully with mussels steamed in white wine with fennel or with crisp shrimp spring rolls.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.