Here's a white wine that is pretty hard to beat on a hot summer's day: HB (Hugues Beaulieu) Cave de Pomerols Picpoul de Pinet 2010 ($11.99). Picpoul (also spelled Piquepoul and sometimes called Folle Blanche) is a grape variety mostly grown in the Rhone Valley and Languedoc regions of Southern France. The area grows both dark-skinned Picpoul (Picpoul noir) and light-skinned (Picpoul blanc) varieties.
This particular white wine is from the village of Pinet, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It's easily identified by its slim, tall, green bottle, which looks like the type of vessel you'd expect to find Riesling or Gewurztraminer in.
HB Picpoul de Pinet 2010 is pale gold in color with green tints, a racy, crisp wine with excellent acidity. There are grapefruit, pear and honeysuckle aromas on the nose -- somewhat similar to Sauvignon Blanc. On the palate, there's tart acidity and green apple, lemon, pear and lime flavors. Overall, this is a very refreshing, lively wine to sip -- perfect for warm-weather outings.
HB Picpoul de Pinet would be great with shellfish (especially oysters) light pasta dishes, cold picnic chicken or even Chinese takeout. It would really rock a lobster roll. Quite simply, it's a fantastic value.