Are you a member of the A-B-C club? That'd be "Anything But Chardonnay." Some folks have an aversion to the oaky goodness of California Chards that is reminiscent of the cilantro haters of the world. Whether either of these forms of antipathy is appropriate or not is probably enough fodder for a whole other post.
But if you're looking for an alternative to Corbett Canyon (Canyon, Canyon), maybe it's time to expand your geography a little bit. Grüner Veltliner is the hot choice amongst wine aficionados, especially those of us looking for a bargain.
For such a friendly grape, it does have an intimidating name. The good news is that if your tongue trips over the name on the way to the glass, there's an easy solution. Just ask your local wine merchant for a good $12.00 "Groo-Vee" and you'll not only sound like you know what you're talking about, you'll also save money on those German lessons. We'll work up to Gerwertztraminer later.
Grüners are the signature grape of Austria and match up with both New World and Old World Chardonnays as great choices either with or without food. The peppery and tropical fruit taste profile matches up well with your summer cookouts. Try it with a tarragon roasted chicken or shrimp on the barbie. Serve it fresh from the ice bucket and notice how the flavors open up as it approaches pool temperature.
Speaking of which, don't be afraid to pour your GruVe into a plastic glass (oxymoron alert!) if your pool regulations require. There's nothing snooty about this grape. Austrians even mix a refreshing G'spritzer by adding sparkling water to the younger vintages. Look for Steinfeder or Federspiel on the label and spritz away.
I'd give you some specific vintner names to look for, but come on now...would you really remember them? I'd hate for you to choke trying to ask for one anyway. Stop by your favorite wine store and ask the proprietor for his or her suggestions. That's what they're the best at and they're usually happy to help. Otherwise you could just go buy your wine in a grocery store. In Georgia.
[Flash: In a wonderful stroke of serendipity, Vinea is having a free wine and cheese tasting at Corrieri's Formaggeria at 1110 Caruthers Avenue on Saturday, June 20 from 2:00-4:00. Two of the featured wines are Grüners. Buon appetito!]