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.
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
Huski Wine Cooler
Looking for a drip-free, stylish way to keep that bottle of rosé chilled for six hours at a time? Huski’s two-piece iceless wine cooler does just that.
Huski Wine Cooler, $70 at amazon.com
Yeti Rambler Wine Tumbler
The magnetic lid on these drop-proof, insulated glasses from Yeti makes them perfect for outdoor fun, like happy hour on a boat. Plus, they’re dishwasher-friendly.
YETI Rambler 10 oz Wine Tumbler, $25 at yeti.com
Cork Pops Nicholas Collection Stainless Steel Beverage Cup
Thanks to freezer gel inside this sleek steel tumbler, any glass of wine stays perfectly chilled and undiluted for up to an hour, even on hot days.
Cork Pops Copper Black Stainless Steel Freezer Gel Beverage Cup, $21 at amazon.com