Like the cool sanctuary of a shady tree on a sunny day, sauvignon blanc is the summertime dry white par excellence. The 1993 Chateau Haut Mazieres, pounds 4.69, Majestic Wine Warehouses, is an opulent white Bordeaux with an aromatic touch of smoky oak underscored by a full-flavoured, classic Bordeaux blend of semillon, sauvignon and muscadelle. From the Loire, the 1995 Pouilly Fume, Domaine Masson-Blondelet, pounds 7.49, Waitrose, is a fine, pure sauvignon blanc with the typical flinty, bone-dry character that makes it such an ideal summer refresher.
Refreshing too, but in contrasting style, New Zealand's1995 Lawson Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, pounds 7.99, Waitrose, packs an expressive punch of asparagus and green bean flavour intensity and the lean crispness of the 1995 vintage. And from Australia, which is at last beginning to pull up its socks as far as sauvignon is concerned, the 1995 Katnook Estate Coonawarra Sauvignon Blanc, pounds 7.99, Waitrose, is so ripe, it is almost luscious, and rich in tropical, gooseberry fruit intensity. The equally delicious 1994 vintage is at Thresher, Wine Rack and Bottoms Up, pounds 6.99
Fizz of the month: don't expect anything too complex from Sainsbury's Cava Rosado, pounds 4.49, but with its bright, bluey-pink hue and sweet, strawberry-cup fruitiness, well chilled, it makes an undemanding and affordable summer party fizz. Vintage champagne doesn't come cheap, but Tesco's 1989 Paul de Villeroy Champagne, pounds 15.99, is good value for a stylish, super-toasty, bottle-matured vintage champagne whose richly textured mousse is enlivened by an incisively tangy, fresh bite.
Finally, two fun but not entirely innocuous tipples for summer's dolce far niente. A little of the concentrated raspberry liqueur, Southbrook Farm's Framboise from Canada, pounds 7.99 half-bottle, Waitrose, goes a long way, mixed in homeopathic quantities with a sparkling wine base or, in larger doses, with iced water. Equally refreshing, Lemonel, pounds 8.50, 50cl, Marks & Spencer, is a liqueur made in Italy's Franciacorta region from fresh lemons, and tastes like essence of the freshly squeezed fruit, with added zest. Like the framboise it is deceptively strong, so is best drunk longReuse content