Top Shelf: Cool white wines for a hot summer

What’s in a name?

It was one of those afternoons when southern New Hampshire felt more like Bangladesh than New England. Out of necessity, I had to depart from my usual Big Red with tannins so heavy they make your tongue feel like Velcro.

It was time for a cool white wine for a hot summer. But which one? Chardonnay? Ho hum. Pinot Grigio? Please. Sauvignon Blanc? Now you’re talking!

Scot Kinney, the proprietor of the Manchester wine bar Unwine’d had these recommendations:

• Hogue Cellars Fume Blanc, Washington, $8.99: “Sauvignon/Fume Blancs are the perfect summertime wine with a crisp, dry, refreshing clean taste. A perfect glass after a hard afternoon mowing the lawn. Zesty citrus notes and fresh herbs make it perfect to sip with a friend during the sunset hours.”

• Firestone Vineyards Riesling, Central Coast, California, $13.50: “A light, off-dry wine that has lots of honeysuckle flavors. Serve nice and chilled for a refreshing burst of sun-ripened fruit. A perfect afternoon by the pool white wine. Pair with light salads.”

• Snoqualmie Vineyards Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley, Washington, $8.99: “A great alternative to Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc offers a lively, crisp yet slightly sweeter finish that will complement any barbecue.”

• Echelon Winery “Esperanza” Viognier, California, $13.99: “Viognier is just about the epitome of summer and wine. Less than a percent of residual sugar left during fermentation adds a pleasant summer fruit finish.”

Maurizio Iuretig, a wine steward for Hannaford Bros. grocery stores, chose some exotic white wines:

• Zardetto Prosecco Brut, Veneto, Italy, $10.99: “This sparkling wine has a delicate floral and white peach on the nose. Light-bodied, refreshing and dry. It offers notes of citrus, bread dough and zesty finish.”

• Drylands Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand, $17: “Bursting with tropical fruit and refreshing citrus flavors, this Sauvignon Blanc is highlighted by the essence of fresh-cut grass and herbs.”

• Beringer “Alluvium Blanc,” Knights Valley, California, $14.99: “This wine is a blend of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Viognier. It has intense butterscotch/caramel, white fig, citrus flavors and sweet toasty spice aromas. The palate has good acidity that balances everything and a very long, rich finish.”

• Principessa Gavia Gavi, Piedmont, Italy, $13.99: “A light and crisp wine, Gavi has pear and citrus flavors accented by floral, mineral and almond notes. The wine is fruity, fresh with a gentle acidity and balanced finish.”

• Laxas Albariño, Baixas, Spain, $13.99: “Intense, fresh flowery and fruity aroma notes. On the palate, it has tropical fruit flavors of pineapples, melons and citrus with a perfectly balanced finish.”

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission’s Nicole Brassard had these recommendations to beat the heat:

• Burgans Albariño, Spain, $14.99: “With medium body as well as wonderfully crisp, orange marmalade, mineral and flowery tropical fruit notes, this wine is ideal for enjoying with seafood and shell fish.”

• King Estate Pinot Gris, Oregon, $17.99: “Aromas of lime, grapefruit and orange citrus are accented with nutmeg spice and honey. The explosive fruit entrance has flavors of melon, tropical fruit and honey, with a citrus zest finish. Rich and balanced, this wine has rounded texture and body.”

• Coriole Vineyards Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, McLaren Vale, Australia, $15.99: “This wine has lifted green, spicy characters. The blend of varietals gains by exploiting the best characters of each region and what it offers each grape variety, giving more interest and complexity than many Sauvignon Blancs.”

• Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves, Bordeaux, France, $14.99: “This is an elegant, clean white wine, made primarily from Semillon, has aromas of honey, acacia, peach and almond. It is rich on the palate, but crisp and dry on the finish.”

Janice Clark, store manager from the Bedford Vista Foods, made these selections:

• Rock Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc, California, $12.99: “This Sauvignon Blanc has notes of grapefruit, melon, white peach and honeysuckle, with a clean, refreshing flavor.”

• Zenato Lugana San Benedetto, Italy, $13.99: “Crisp, clear and beautiful flavors of apple and banana with a light honey character. It is medium-bodied with a sweet fruit finish.”

Both Clark and Brassard picked:

• Treana White, Central Coast, $24.99: “Made from 61 percent Viognier and 39 percent Marsanne, its flavor is zesty and clean in natural acidity due to the cool climate, and generous in fruit, floral, vanilla and spice flavors, although very dry. The wine has a full-bodied complexity that is entirely satisfying, and also has a proven ability to age well.”

And for something a little different, Clark suggested:

• Farnum Hill Summer Cider, New Hampshire, $7.99: “At only 7.5 percent alcohol, the sharp, sweet, fruity and bubbly flavors make fine ciders a brilliant summer ‘wine.’”