Plus gear that will keep everything crisp and chilly.

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When it's hot, you want your wine cold—but how cold, really? A sommelier will tell you that white wines served straight from the fridge (about 35°F to 38°F) are too cold because at those temperatures, aromas and flavors are muted. But let's face it: When it's blazingly hot outside, a 55°F glass of wine, which is more or less the ideal temperature for rich Chardonnays and white Burgundies, just isn't all that refreshing.

Wine bottles
Credit: Photo by Grant Cornett / Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero / Prop Styling by Noemi Bonazzi

So feel free to break the rules. Don't necessarily dump ice cubes in your $5,000-a-bottle Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Montrachet (unless you want to see your friendly F&W wine editor's head explode), but do go right ahead and serve wines the way you like them. Keep this in mind, though: Lighter alcohol, higher acid, and unoaked wines taste far better at super-chilly temperatures than richer, oakier styles do. To that end, here are nine crisp, vibrant, summer-friendly whites that honestly taste great no matter how cold they are. Unless you forget them in the freezer, that is—a solid block of wine-ice is disheartening no matter how hot it is outside.

2019 La Carraia Orvieto Classico ($12)

This bright Italian white, from vineyards in Umbria, north of Rome, has pretty floral aromas and tingly lemon-lime and melon flavors—it would be excellent with seafood crudo.

2020 Cousiño-Macul Isidora Sauvignon Gris ($15)

Sauvignon Gris, a cousin of Sauvignon Blanc, has a little more body and spice than its more familiar cousin does. This one, from Chile, suggests green apples and white pepper.

2020 Veramonte Sauvignon Banc Reserva made with Organic Grapes ($12)

To quote a sommelier friend, this Sauvignon from Chile "smells like a spicy margarita." Totally right: zippy, with green pepper and citrus notes and a lightly saline finish.

2019 Girasole Mendocino Pinot Blanc ($15)

The Barra family has been farming organically in Mendocino for several decades, making an array of appealing wines. This silky, pear- and red apple–scented Pinot Blanc is a great example.

2019 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio ($28)

Livio Felluga founded one of the top estates in Italy's Friuli region, and after his passing in 2016 (at age 102), his family has not lost a step. Lemon notes balance with nectarine flavors in this excellent white.

2020 Lagar De Cervera Albariño ($18)

About as spot-on a Spanish Albariño as you can find under $20, this has the refreshing feel of an Atlantic breeze. All lemon, grapefruit, and floral notes, it's pure summertime in liquid form.

2020 J. Lohr Flume Crossing Arroyo Seco Sauvignon Blanc ($14)

The Central Coast of California's benevolent climate pushes Sauvignon Blanc away from grassy, peppery notes to sweeter melon and citrus flavors, as this version shows.

2019 Selbach-Oster Riesling Trocken ($20)

"Trocken" means "dry" in German, and this Mosel Riesling from an acclaimed producer is certainly that: flinty and focused, with lime and green apple flavors. It's exceptionally refreshing.

2018 Viña Mein Ribeiro ($35)

Despite this Spanish wine's rich texture, its complex, savory flavors—minerals, toasted nuts, and smoke—make it remarkably good served cold (though it would be superb at 55°F or so, as well).

Three Tools to Keep Wine Chilly

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