Regular readers of this column know that I tend to go thematic. Be it a grape, a region, an historical situation or an approach to vinification, for better or worse I’m usually trying to pull several strands together. For me wine is connection; otherwise I’m just a compiler of lists, a shopper.

Yet I’ve arrived at a moment when a list feels called for. The number of wines I’ve drunk recently that I want to bring to your attention has become unwieldy, and while I could find ways to weave a thematic tapestry around each one, I’m just … it’s summertime and I just wanna chill.

And it’s summertime so there are a lot of white wines to try. That’s the list I would like to present.

Many people speak sheepishly of their preference for white wines, as if it implies a lack of seriousness, profundity or experience. White wines are for salads, oysters and book clubs, reds for everything else. There’s little point in setting it up as a competition, but I’ll just note that I personally drink roughly seven white or pink wines for every red.

In warmer months, of course, one can more easily get away with an enthusiasm for white wines. Especially if they’re the wispy, breezy, refreshing sort that can easily fit into a clickbait “article” like “15 Best Whites for Poolside” or “10 Vinous Beach Reads.” I’m fine with a crisp, zippy summer white from time to time – simple vinho verde, unoaked chardonnay, Gascogne blanc or Picpoul – but mostly these tire me out rather than rejuvenate.

They tire me out because lightweight white wines without more recommendable attributes than harmlessness and citrus acidity are boring. And like their spiritual opposite – top-heavy, over-oaked, cloying whites with obesity struggles – they give Interesting White Wines a bad name.

The number of times I encounter visitors at tastings who protest that they “don’t really like white wines” is depressingly high. Ninety-eight out of 100 such comments are due to drinking the wrong wines: too thin or too thick. The majority of bad wines are white.

I obligate anyone at a tasting who says they’d like to try only the red wines to repeat their request five times, after each of which I interrupt, “Are you sure?” “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” and “No, I’m not really going to permit that.” My (charming) obnoxiousness usually overwhelms their resistance, and they find something they love. They say, “Wow, I really don’t usually like white wine, but that’s really good!”

I encounter much less joyful surprise from people drinking red wines than white.

Interesting White Wines point to essence. They crystallize. And it is in their body – their weight in your mouth, the manner and pace at which they move – that they distinguish themselves. When an Interesting White Wine is successful, it provides enough plump satisfaction, through tannin expression or mineral blast, to satisfy all but the most Lady Macbeth-like of blood-soaked red wine aficionados.

Especially in summer (I’m stacking my odds), though I’ll reiterate: I’m not talking about “summer” whites. I’m talking about whites with the stuffing and textural complexity to compel interest.

Here’s the list. No themes or concepts; just please click on everything repeatedly and make “Top 5 whites to throw in red-wine bigots’ faces” go viral.

André et Michel Quenard Chignin 2015 ($18) is from the Savoie, nuzzling up to the western Alps in France’s northeast. It’s a generally cold place but the Quenards’ terraced vineyards enjoy a warm, sunny microclimate. This wine uses the native jacquere grape, from 30- to 60-year-old vines on limestone, to produce an exuberantly crunchy, mineral wine that can serve as an outdoor-party quaffer or at an intimate geekfest equally well. The simultaneity and integration of its orange citrus fruit, dried-apricot intensity and crisp flintiness, as well as its long, twisty finish, are just thrilling.

Vinicola del Sannio Coda di Volpe 2014 ($12) is a perfect example of how traditional wines of Europe using indigenous varietals still offer the greatest value for interesting wines. Campania, the volcanic-soil jewel of southern Italy that includes the Amalfi coast and the remnants of Mount Vesuvius, is a treasure chest of distinctive wines. Its triumvirate of best-known white-wine grapes are falanghina, greco di tufo and fiano di Avellino, but the undersung coda di volpe, treasured by ancient Romans, deserves more notice (and I’d argue that falanghina deserves less). It is the varietal used in the lovely, relatively rare Lacryma Christi Bianco wines that come from the slopes of Vesuvius, but the Vinicola del Sannio is from Benevento to the north and east.

In body it is extravagantly creamy above underlying flintiness, with luxurious suggestions of almond milk. Luscious and real.

Dancing Coyote Grüner Veltliner 2015 ($16). Coda di volpe travels to regions other than its ancestral home with limited success. Grüner veltliner, however, the Austrian hometown hero, can be surprisingly interesting after migration to sites far from its origin. Clarksburg is in California’s Sacramento Valley, the vineyards close enough to San Francisco Bay to benefit from its fog and cooling breezes, which help the grapes retain acidity and ripen fully without developing excessive sugars.

The Austrian grüners with which most of us are familiar (as opposed to expensive, late-picked, long-aging expressions) are taut, peppery and green wines, affable enough substitutes for sauvignon blanc.

The Dancing Coyote’s edition is significantly fleshier and medium-bodied, leading with flavors of peaches and tangerine instead of Austria’s peas and lemon. Still peppery, still true to varietal, it’s a generous version of a wonderfully versatile wine.

Albet i Noya Xarel-lo 2015, $12. Spain’s Penedès region is best known as that country’s producer of Cava, the sparkling wine that in a juster world would be more popular than Prosecco. One of the grapes used to make Cava is xarel-lo (“tchah-REL-o”), a remarkably expressive grape when vinified into a still wine by conscientious producers.

Albet i Noya, a family winery currently in its fourth generation, are pioneers of organic farming, with great respect for old vines: the current generation has never planted a vine on the site. This single-varietal xarel-lo is from 70-year-old vines, vinified only with native yeasts and almost no sulfur. Clay soils on calcareous rock lead to a silky wine, with a density of texture that’s surprising given its liveliness and mineral punch. Another distinctive wine from a lesser-known region of a well-known country.

Domaine de la Solitude Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc 2014, $16. The very mention of white Côtes du Rhône sends harbingers of disappointment through me, since the wines are so often flabby, unbalanced and tend toward oxidation. This wine, from one of the oldest estates in Châteauneuf du Pape, is a stirring exception, directing its combination of clairette, rousanne, viognier and grenache blanc to a harmonious coalescence of waxy breadth, gorgeous floral aromas, peachy ripeness and racy acidity.

I used to joke that white Côtes-du-Rhône is the first wine I’d throw overboard if my rescue rowboat were starting to sink, but this wine makes an undeniable case for keeping its uniquely supple, enveloping character stored safely in the hold.

Joe Appel is the Wine Buyer at Rosemont Market. He can be reached at:

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