The Sun Drinks ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


Refreshing wine choices for warmer weather

Posted on April 2, 2015 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Even though the warmer weather around here seems to have started around the first of the year, I have to say that it’s an incredible, stunning day in April. I have surrendered to the “no winter” plan Mother Nature has for 2015 and I am moving into summertime mode for wines and that means crisp, dry white and rose wines that can handle a chill.

If you’ve been reading this column for a while you probably know that I have long been a Sauvignon Blanc and Rose lover. But lately I have been mixing it up a little more (see my column on January 8 “Step outside your regular wine habits this year”) and working new wine types and varieties into the mix. I’ve assembled a list below of some of the wines I am drinking right now and would recommend you check out.

Let me say up front, that these are not necessarily the most complex or most expensive wines of their respective types; some of them are great values. I’m buying these for casual sipping and sharing with friends—and so I’m much more concerned about finding wines I can afford to keep buying and enjoy all through the summer.

The lists below are organized by wine variety or type and the wines are listed in alphabetical order. Any of these wines qualify as “go to” wines as far as my summer sipping is concerned.

Interesting Whites

There are a lot of other interesting white wines that I enjoy—from White Rhone blends to Riesling to Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris. The common thread again for me is bright fruit and very crisp acidity because that is what makes them the most versatile for sipping and pairing up with a meal. Here are several I like:

  • Anaba Wines Turbine White Rhone Blend Sonoma Valley 2012
  • Domaine Carneros White Pinot Noir Carneros “Pinot Clair” 2013
  • Gundlach Bundschu Gewurztraminer Sonoma Coast 2013
  • Pey-Marin Wines Riesling Marin County “The Shell Mound” 2013
  • R2 Wine Co. Grenache Blanc Santa Ynez Valley 2012

Sauvignon Blanc

I love the crisp, bright-fruited styles of this wine and find that they really do pair well with any casual summer dishes.

  • Bartholomew Park Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Valley 2013
  • Benziger Family Winery Sauvignon Blanc Dry Creek Valley Frank Johnson Vineyard 2013
  • Schug Carneros Estate Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma Coast 2013


I am a very selective Chardonnay drinker—I do not really enjoy the over-oaked, big bruiser versions of this wine. I like those that offer more structure and elegance with the oak in the background, or no oak at all.

  • Auteur Wines Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2013
  • Landmark Vineyards Chardonnay Sonoma County Overlook 2013
  • Schug Carneros Estate Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2013
  • Sojourn Cellars Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2013


Lately I am finding myself really attracted to rosé wines. I love the brightness of the strawberry and other fruit flavors, but truthfully, I love the color of the wines as much as the wines themselves. It puts me in a better, more festive mood and they really make a meal feel like summertime!

  • Bryter Estates Pinot Noir Rosé “Jubilee” 2013
  • Dunstan Wines Rose Sonoma Coast Durell Vineyard 2014 (soon to be released)
  • R2 Wine Company Hannah Rose Rosé 2013

As always, you can email me with questions or comments at [email protected]

Greg Walter, a Sonoma resident for more than 25 years, has been in wine and food publishing for more than 35 years, 15 of which were spent as a senior editor and later president of Wine Spectator magazine. Today he writes the PinotReport newsletter ( and publishes books through his Carneros Press imprint (

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