Obscure Summer Whites

Bored with your pinot grigio? Snoozing through your sauvignon? Here are 16 fixes for the summer-wine blahs.

Three intrepid members of La Dolce Vita's wine club scouted this list. Steven Scherer, Patricia Calderon, and Michael Schraeder beat the bushes looking for the most obscure grape varietals. What they turned up was an intriguing selection of grapes we'd (mostly) never heard of. Hondarribi Zurri from Basque country, Diego from the Canary Islands, Mauzac from Gaillac, France, and more.

Here's the list, followed by our vote for the favorites. If you want to try this yourselves, many of the wines came from Astor Wines, Sherry Lehmann, and Chambers Street Wines in Manhattan. And if you live in the NYC area and want to join our wine club, send me a message!

1. Hauner 2009 Salina Bianco – ITALY ($12)
Grape variety: Catarratto & Inzolia
Appellation: Salina, Region: Sicily

2. Eugene Carrel & Fils 2009 Roussette de Savoie Altesse- FRENCH ($15)
Grape variety: Altesse
Appellation:Savoie/Savoy /village of Jongieux

3. Ravines 2008 - USA ($24)
Grape variety: Riesling (dry)
Region: Finger Lakes, NY

4. Italo Pietrantonj 2008 IGT – ITALY ($19)
Grape variety Pecorino
Appellation: Terre di Chieti, Region: Abruzzi

5. Bodega Los Bermejos 2007 Lanzarote Diego Seco-CANARY ISLES ($29)
Grape variety Diego
Appellation: Lanzarote, Region: Canary Isles

6. Freres Grosjean 2008 Valle d'Aosta Vigne Rovetta - ITALY ($27)
Grape variety: Petit Arvine
Region: Central Valle d’Aosta DOC

7. Chateau de Mayragues 2005 Gaillac Blanc Sec-FRANCE ($16)
Grape variety: Mauzac
Appellation: Gaillac

8. Jacques Puffeney 2005 Arbois –FRANCE ($25)
Grape variety: Melon-Queue-Rouge Blanc
Appellation: Arbois, Region: Jura

9. Vina Mein 2009 Ribeiro - SPAIN ($18)
Grape variety: Treixadura (in a blend)
Appellation: Ribiero, Region: Galicia

10. Plata 2009 - ARGENTINA ($8)
Grape variety: Torrontes
Region: Cuyo, Province: La Rioja

11. Bodega Marañones 2008 - SPAIN ($22)
Grape variety: Albill
Region: D.O. Vinos De Madrid

12. Closel (Chateau des Vaults) La Jalousie 2007 - FRANCE ($19)
Grape variety: Chenin Blanc
Appellation: Savennières, Region: Loire

13. Ameztoi 2008-SPAIN
Grape variety: Hondarribi Zurri
Appellation: Txakolina Region: Guetaria

14. Raats Family Wines 2007 – SOUTH AFRICA ($27)
Grape Variety: Chenin Blanc
Region: Stellenbosch

15. Gaujal de Saint Bon-Picpoul de Pinet 2009 - FRANCE ($10)
Grape Variety: Picpoul
Region: Pinet/ Couteaux de Languedoc/ Languedoc Rouissillon

16. Le Clos des Grillons-2009 Mille neuf cent ($18)
Varietal: Bourboulenc
Region: Cotes du Rhone

THE VOTE: Our 3 top favorites were tied:

Wine #2: The French wine Roussette de Savoie from the Savoie region, just across the border from Switzerland. Aged sur lie, it's beautifully floral, with citrus and ripe pear; great with seafood, and a good buy at $15.

Wine #5: This Canary Islands wine was quite a surprise. Very distinctive aromas of malt or yeast, reminiscent of a still (flat) yeasty champagne, with bright acidity. Totally weird and absolutely intriguing.

Wine #12: A classic chenin blanc from its homeland of Savennieres in the Loire valley. Apple and tropical flavors, utterly charming. One again, the Loire winemakers prove they know how to do white right.

When we voted our favorite of these three, the winner was #2, the Roussette from Eugene Carrel (label pictured above). You'll find it at Chambers St Wines. Give it a try! At $15, it's worth a shot -- and might become your new summer fling.