The search for the great white peaks in summer. It can be a very refreshing pursuit.
On the lighter side: a fruity Italian duet that's ideal with seafood. The 2011 Mazzoni Bianco di Toscana ($20), a vermentino-and-chardonnay blend, has a trace of pear and fine balance; the floral 2011 Mazzoni pinot grigio ($20), hints of tropical fruit. Both are good sippers, too.
Go French with the 2012 Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis ($21), a citrusy, flinty choice that offers a whiff of mint in a medium-bodied package. The wine is a terrific aperitif, and a definite match for shellfish, raw or cooked; fried fish; and spicy dishes. The 2011 Joseph Drouhin Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudon ($28) is an elegant alternative, richer and more concentrated. It also has a few years of aging ahead. The Réserve is bright and perfect with oysters and crabs.
And for three excellent American chardonnays, look for Patz & Hall.
The 2011 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($38) is a balanced beauty, with fine acidity. It's full of pear, citrus, apple and tropical fruit, plus spice notes. More minerally and layered: the crisp 2011 Patz & Hall Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($42) is a mouthful in every way. Peach and pear meet nuts and spices in a harmonious combo, all leading to a long finish.
One of the vintage's vibrant whites is the toasty, Burgundian 2011 Patz & Hall Hudson Vineyard-Carneros Chardonnay ($55). This celebratory chardonnay delivers vivid citrus, peach, melon, nut and floral qualities. Lobster time.