Station #1: Go-To Lightweights

Dry Creek Vineyard 2009 Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg.
Flat-out underappreciated, Chenin can be bone-dry or très sweet. DCV’s is technically dry (and is labeled as such) but packs a tantalizing core of fruit that makes some think it’s sweet. This is one Californian to keep in the fridge for the proverbial moment’s notice. Look for it at $12 or less in Manhattan at retailers such as Columbus,Schumer’s, Gramercy, 55th Street, Imperial and Ambassador. Click for more on Dry Creek CB.

Blüfeld 2009 Mosel Riesling.
In Germany’s cool, short growing season, it is often left “off-dry” to highlight the natural floral/fruity character. (Key: if the alcohol is under 10%, expect to notice the sweetness.) Don’t let that scare you though; balancing acidity keeps it all together. For many people, this style of Riesling is a Goldilocks wine…just right. Tonight’s wine, blüfeld, is making its U.S. debut this summer; its sleek blue bottle will be popping up all over soon, for $11. Click for more on blüfeld.

Austrian Gruner Veltliner.
A darling of the Manhattan sommelier set, this lean, crisp, spicy dry white is a perfect alternative to u-blah-quitous Pinot Grigio as well as a rewarding step over from tart, wood-free Sauvignon Blanc. Excellent with veggie fare. Showcasing tonight: current releases of Monica Caha’s playful “GROONER;” Pfaffl (both the Hundsleiten and “Austrian Pepper”); and Laurenz V. “Charming.” You can find Gruner in smart wine shops all over the city now; Pfaffl is at Anthony (52 Spring) and Aloha (333 2nd Ave.). Click for more on Austrian wines.

Think pink.
America is catching on to the simple seasonal pleasure of dry rosés, whose mild character, refreshing crispness and lack of tannin make them handy with light foods. Think lunch al fresco, picnics… Tonight’s sampling is fresh from the spiritual homeland of dry rosé: Provence. Always good to stay as fresh as possible with rosés; pouring tonight: Estandon 2009 and Whispering Angel 2009. Incidentally, if your regular wine shop does not have a decent selection of dry rosé wines in stock, it might be time to upgrade….

Big House White 2009, California.

This is winemaker Georgetta Dane’s idea of a “fun summer wine.” It’s comprised of almost half Malvasia (“like a bowl of flowers”), plus Muscat (for orange blossom and spice) and Viognier; Gruner and Pinot Grigio are added “to temper the florals.” The result is juicy yet refreshing, hardly overpowering and gently aromatic. The Big House brand (spawned by Randall Grahm; then sold to and expanded by The Wine Group) now anchors a lineup of 3L wines dubbed Octavin (which I blogged about in April). The advantages of bag-in-box packaging are simple: it’s economical, eco-friendly, and the wine inside stays fresh for weeks. Click for more on the Octavin line, which includes ten wines in all, priced $20-$24.