Toasty might not be the first quality that pops to mind when you think of a cooling summer sipper, but the 2013 J California Pinot Gris (about $13 at big box wine stores) delivers admirably on that seeming contradiction.
The aroma of baked apple and all that toasty treat implies — spice, butter, brown sugar — tempered by cool ripe pear announces this soft white's intentions at first sniff. On the tongue, the baked apple is scaled back a bit but the savor is still there. Pear and white peach come in at mid-palate and are closely followed by the snap of green apple. The finish is long and crisp and reprises all the flavors that have gone before. This one will be a star at poolside gatherings and for sundowners on the patio but it also is a fine food wine.
Try it with Cuban roast pork, thick-cut pork chops on the grill or with a fat deli-style sandwich of baked ham, a nutty, aged Swiss and whole grain coarse mustard on seeded rye.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.