It’s worth noting once again that Chile is a great source of fresh and inexpensive white wines, and in these torrid days of summer, the country’s signature sauvignon blancs are a top choice for price and versatility.
The wines go well with a variety of foods, from all kinds of fish, including sushi, to grilled chicken and summer salads. Because they are naturally high in acidity, sauvignons will have no problem standing up to the vinegar in salad dressings.
Chilean sauvignons are almost never made with oak, drawing their complexity instead from their typically herbal and floral character.
One that stands out from my recent tastings is the 2012 Albamar Sauvignon Blanc from Chile’s Casablanca Valley. This $10 estate-bottled wine is produced by William Cole Vineyards and is a real bargain.
I found it notable for its balance between the herbal notes and its refreshing lemon-lime and apple flavors, accented by a hint of green olive and a vanilla touch that takes the edge off the bolder tastes.
It was the perfect wine for a dinner of take-out sushi, which included tuna and spicy tuna, yellowtail, eel and salmon skin. It held up well to the bold tastes of the fish and the accompanying soy, ginger and wasabi.
But this is also a wine of considerable elegance and would be great by itself at the end of a long, hot summer day. Imported by Global Vineyard Importers, Berkeley, Calif.