Summer: Time for chilled wines

It's starting to heat up out there, which means it's time for chilled wines. Here are a few really nice wines for the warm evening meals.

Barbadillo white, Spain — $14.95. This is a wonderful white wine from Spain that offers not only clean flavors but layers of wonderful fruit and very nice acidity. This might be one of the best seafood whites around for the price, with a finish that cuts through just about any condiment. Many of the lighter styled whites can be one-dimensional, but this white has not only complexity but real staying power with cuisine.

Castelvero Cortese, Italy — $15.95. Cortese wines are not very well-known outside the northwestern part of Italy, in the Piemonte region, but remain stunning offerings for any cuisine that requires a complex, elegant white wine. These wines are remarkable for their dry, mineral qualities and perfumed bouquet and continue to be one of the great wine treats of Italy. This release from the venerable Castelvero estate delivers citrus flavors under a soft perfume of pear and mango finishing with a dry, lovely cleanliness. I have tasted many of these wines in the past 10 years and find Castelvero to be one of the best around. A delight.

Willamette Valley rosé of pinot noir, 2008 — $19.95. I am crazy about good, dry rosé wines of just about any type. This offering is one of the best of the bunch and continues Willamette Valley's fine tradition of building quality wines that never disappoint. The wine has a very lovely rose-colored hue and the bouquet is redolent of spice and raspberry. The first impressions of the wine tell us that it has lovely weight on the palate. Nothing is worse in a rosé than no grip or weight on the palate, which translates to a "watery" feel. Another problem with rosé wines can be a cloying sweetness; this wine has none of that sweetness but freshens the palate with every sip.

Estio Spanish Tempranillo, 2009 — $14.95. Spanish tempranillo wines are known for their spicy backbones, powerful flavors and enchanting bouquets. This grape can build flavorful rosé wines when done well. In Spain, we see many rosé wines in restaurants and wine shops as they have become a staple of everyday life in that country. We are now seeing these lovely gems on our shores and they continue to blow away much of the competition. The Estio has a hint of oak, which gives the wine some wonderful flavor sensations. In the nose we smell strawberry and raspberry with the oak, quite a wonderful combination. It blends nicely with cold pasta and shrimp (which we had it with) and a variety of warm evening dinner treats.

Los Vascos sauvignon blanc, Chile — $14.95. Owned by the Rothschild family in Chile, this white wine is a winner all around for freshness, length and compatibility and sits under $20 for that special evening. I am a big fan of sauvignon blanc, and this release has it all with explosive fruit, dryness and a soft feel on the palate. It's hard to find a nicer release at this price level.

Lorn Razzano is owner of the Wine Cellar in Ashland. Reach him at

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