In summertime, when temperatures soar, I tend to veer away from big, oaky, fat-bodied wines and look toward dry, crisp wines that are lighter on the palate and food-friendly with summer fare. One such wine is Chateau de Chantegrive Blanc 2006 ($18.56), a white Bordeaux from France's Graves appellation.
Frankly, I was a bit concerned about the vintage. Most white wines are produced to drink young, and I wasn't sure that a white Bordeaux from 2006 would be very good. But, it was.
Chateau de Chantegrive Blanc is a 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, a classic white-Bordeaux blend. It's fermented and aged sur lie under low temperatures in thermo-regulated stainless-steel vats, which means that the fruit comes through clean and crisp, with good minerality, but without any oak and vanilla to clutter things up. There are floral aromas of white peach and honeysuckle, and it is very focused and crisp on the palate.
The bottle has a screw-top cap, which you'll appreciate if you forget to bring a corkscrew to your picnic.
This is an ideal wine for cold chicken or lobster salad and most fish and shellfish dishes. I enjoyed it a great deal with seafood paella.
If you're looking for a change from straight Sauvignon Blanc, I suggest giving Chateau de Chantegrive Blanc a whirl.