What goes best with…? That’s the baseline wine-pairing question, and every wine expert worth his or her Riedel decanter has an answer for it. But realistically—and especially during the summer—there are plenty of times when a glass of wine will find its way to your hand with no food anywhere nearby. Cocktail parties, predinner lounging around, beach house afternoons hanging out with friends, you name it. For these occasions what you want is the ideal aperitif wine: something light and crisp, not too high in alcohol and endlessly refreshing.
At the recent Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, which I was lucky enough to attend, I spent my time in the Grand Tasting tent hunting up some ideal, affordable, white wine candidates for this category. Here were my top picks:
2013 Beyond Sauvignon Blanc ($11) Made by the nearly unpronounceable Buitenverwachting winery, this impressive, inexpensive South African Sauvignon has lively citrus fruit and great, tingly acidity.