As the mercury skyrockets and our sweat glands work overtime, our days of cool marine layer breezes are seared clear with the heat. Dark beers are replaced with refreshing lagers, and in the wine world, thirsty patrons beg for cool, crisp whites. Here are some of the best heat-blasting white wines from bars and restaurants across San Diego:
Herb & Wood: When the temperatures rise, one of most refreshing and easy drinking whites is a spritzy vinho verde from Portugal. Find your fun bubbles at the buzzworthy Herb & Wood with a selection from Quinta da Calçada. ($11)
Herb & Wood, 2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy . herbandwood.com
M Winehouse: Think you know sauvignon blanc? If you haven’t tried sancerre (the version from France’s Loire Valley), an incredible wine experience awaits you. With wonderful limestone minerality and a grapefruit punch, the Clos des Bouffants Sancerre ($15) represents, as M proclaims, “arguably the best sauvignon blanc in the world.” Be sure to try the Meyer-Fonne Riesling ($14) a dry and racy wine from the exceptional region of Alsace, and the tongue twister La Tour Vieille Collioure les Canadells, a blend of grenache blanc, roussane, and vermentino that will have you daydreaming of breezy Mediterranean towns, salty sea air and juicy, ripe fruit. ($16)
M Winehouse, 1918 India St., Little Italy, mwinehouse.com
Cucina Enoteca Del Mar: At these reasonable prices, take your friends and grab a bottle at this Del Mar hot spot. Check the wine list’s Unconventional Whites grouping for winners such as the outstanding kerner from Abbazia della Novacella or the eternally classic arneis from Cerreto. Or if you are a die-hard sauvignon blanc fan, find several choices from around the world under Clean & Crisp Whites, priced from $21 to $39 a bottle. (Cucina has a low corkage of $8 a bottle)
Cucina Enoteca Del Mar, 2730 Via de la Valle, Del Mar. urbankitchengroup.com/cucina-enoteca-del-mar
Juniper and Ivy: If you’re feeling adventurous, this is the place to explore fascinating whites. Start safe and refreshed in Tried & True Whites, with the incredible Tatomer Riesling (I have a love affair with this wine), then tiptoe into uncharted waters with one of my favorite odd varieties, furmint from Hungary. From the standbys to the slightly bizarre (read: Scholium Project Prince in his Caves), you’re bound to beat the heat and learn about wines you never knew.
Juniper and Ivy, 2228 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. juniperandivy.com
Tidal: Speaking of unusual wines, put an oddball varietal on your must-try white list, the Domaine Porto Carras Malagouzia ($8). The Greek grape faced extinction until this winery took up the mission to bring it back to the world. Now it can be in your glass, aromatic and crisp, while you’re basking in the (albeit, hot) San Diego sunshine. Close your eyes, allow your mind to escape the heat and imagine sailing on the turquoise waters around Greece.
Tidal, 1404 Vacation Road, Mission Bay. paradisepoint.com
Trust: Determined not to break your bank, the highly lauded Hillcrest restaurant offers refreshing and budget-friendly whites to bring down your internal thermometer. Priced from $7 to $14 by the glass, my top picks are the tropically fruity Ferdinand Albarino from Napa Valley at $11 or the Aia Dei Colombi Falanghina at $9.
Trust, 3752 Park Blvd., Suite 105C, Hillcrest. trustrestaurantsd.com
With 18 years in the restaurant and beverage industry and more than 850 reviews under her belt, Laurie Delk is a one-stop guide to all things craft beer, wine and spirits.