One of our favorite weekday summer suppers is shrimp scampi, bright with lemon and garlic and redolent of white wine and butter, served over linguine. It has enough heft to be satisfying but is light enough for hot weather. The perfect companion for this lighthearted dish is a well-chilled sauvignon blanc, which as constant readers know tops our list of go-to summer wines.
Our best bets for this sassy varietal come from New Zealand, where growers and vintners alike seem to have discovered the grape's secrets and exploited them to perfection. Other faves come from California and France and now, increasingly, from Chile. A fine example is the 2008 Gracia de Chile Sauvignon Blanc (about $7 to $9 at wine-savvy markets).
Unlike its Kiwi cousins, the dominant aromas in this Chilean wine are herbal, especially grass and mint. The same sort of difference characterizes the opening notes on the palate: Instead of the expected snap of grapefruit, we get the tang of gooseberry. There is plenty of fruit in the middle, notably pear, melon and apple with citrus overtones, leading to a medium long, medium dry but fresh finish. With the scampi, as well as with shellfish in general, this wine's crisp acidity provides the perfect grace note.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.