The last weeks of summer are the dog days — hot, sultry, and slow moving. We don’t try to be at are sharpest, at our wittiest; we try to survive and enjoy a nice glass of wine without dissecting it. “Pour me something that tastes good,” is our command.
We have here a lot of wines that pass that test — they taste good, we don’t have to think too much about them, and half of them are $20 or others. But if you are maintaining your air-conditioned sharpness, we do have several special wines to challenge your taste buds.
Wipe away the sweat and step up to our wine bar.
Wines for review were provided by their producers or importers at no cost to the writer.
Geyser Peak California Pinot Grigio 2016 ($10). A little sweet, a little tangy.
Outlot Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc 2016 ($17). Good California-style sauvignon blanc with apples and lime but not grassy.
Tasca d’Almerita Grillo di Mozia Sicily 2017 ($21). Full-bodied with lively green fruitiness; long on the palate.
Feudi di San Gregorio Sannio Falanghina 2017 ($23). Falanghina is the grape variety, and the wine has lots of spritz, light stone fruitiness and good balance — a flexible food wine.
Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé 2017 ($24). A sauvignon from next door to Sancerre, this one is nicely done with tart, green notes of lime and gooseberries, with a hint of creaminess.
Robert Mondavi Oakville Fume Blanc 2015 ($28). Very good — a great mouthfeel with flavors that are more complex — herbal and spicy — than pure green fruitiness.
Frank Family “Lewis Vineyard” Reserve Carneros Chardonnay 2016 ($66). Lovely — floral with pear and mellow apple notes, a light creaminess and a toasty finish.
Sant’ Antonio “Scaia” Veneto Rosato IGT 2017 ($13). Lean without being austere and with pleasant tart strawberry flavors.
Bonterra Mendocino County Rosé 2017 ($14). Light, with an edge of bitters and flavors of pear, guava and almond.
La Vieille Ferme Reserve Rosé Vin de France Sparkling Wine NV ($17). Light strawberry flavor, but with considerable gusto and intensity.
La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Brut Reserve NV ($17). A very seductive, savory bubbly with green fruitiness.
Sant’ Antonio “Scaia” Corvina Veneto IGT ($12). Corvina is one of the grapes used to make amarone, but here is yields a quite nice carafe wine to drink lightly chilled with pizza or pasta — bright cherry fruitiness with good acidity.
Chronic Cellars “Purple Paradise” Paso Robles Red 2016 ($15). For those of you who like to drop a few ice cubes in your wine, this is your baby.
Feudi di San Gregorio Irpinia Anglianico 2015 ($20). Pucker up for this tannic wine with nice cherry fruitiness.
Hess “Select” Central Coast Pinot Noir 2016 ($20). Once upon a time, reviewers used the term “varietally correct,” meaning this is what a cab or a pinot is supposed to taste like. This one isn’t textbook “pinot noir-ish,” but is does have nice berry flavors. A tad “big” at 14.2 percent alcohol.
Hess “Select” North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($20). A regional wine that is quite enjoyable, with piquant berry flavors (like a throwback zin) but with a balancing, murky finish.
Inama Carmenere “Piu” Veneto Rosso IGT 2015 ($20). Sharp, tangy cherry flavor, but without a lot of personality.
Geyser Peak “Pluto’s Fury” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2014 ($22). More fruit-forward and sweetish than your normal pinot noir.
Gehricke Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($35). Lots of cassis, blackberries and brambles; lean, but flavorful with defining bitter edges.
Stewart Napa Valley Merlot 2014 ($40). Very smooth with ripe, dark cherries, ripe tannins, and creamy milk chocolate.
Stewart “Tartan” Napa Valley Red Blend 2015 ($55). Good flavors of cassis and blackberries, a hint of chocolate, and integrated tannins.
Geyser Peak “Reserve Alexandre” Alexander Valley Meritage 2013 ($46). An old-style red blend with muted dark cherries and lots of woody and savory flavors.
Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($52). A big, thick wine with good cassis and black raspberry flavors, along with dark oak and savory notes.
Pascal Jolivet “Sauvage” Sancerre Pinot Noir 2012 ($66). Loire Valley pinots often have merlot leanings, and so does this one — but it is a good wine that is tangy and a little gamey, as the name would denote.
Benovia “Liberation” Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2016 ($69). There’s a good backstory about the Normandy invasion and the airplane on the label — so check it out online. The wine itself is rich and spicy and a little tangy, with mellow caramel notes. For more bottles perfect for the dog days of summer, check out this summer travelogue of 25 geographically diverse wines.