It's summer in Florida and although we love big red wines it's just too hot to take them seriously. So we've turned our seasonally adjusted energies to the pursuit of perfectly light and refreshing whites for sipping poolside or pairing with warm weather fare.
This week we declare a major success in the form of the 2012 Mont Gravet (about $10 at wine savvy markets), a 100 percent colombard from France's Côtes de Gascogne. Often called French colombard, the grape originally was grown in Gascony for distilling into Armagnac and today grows abundantly in California, where it is used mostly for blending. On its own in a dry white wine like this one, it is outstanding. In a sweeter version sometimes seen in this country, not so much.
Mont Gravet opens with a bouquet of white peach as light as a zephyr. On the tongue it is ultra crisp and clean, offering more light white peach, a little lime and a trace of white meadow flowers, all with a thoroughly delightful and understated mineral edge. (Gravet refers to the smooth oval stones that dot the hillside vineyards where the grapes are grown in Gascony.) It finishes long and wonderfully dry.
Enjoy it well chilled as a sundowner or aperitif, or yoke it with chilled shellfish, summer salads, scallops sauteed with bacon or with mild cheeses like white cheddar or goat cheese.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.