Rico Soave

An underappreciated Italian white makes a comeback

Long before Pinot Grigio was chided as Italy's token bland, underdeveloped wine, Soave held the title.

But the former jug wine is making a comeback. The crisp, dry white–made from the Garganega grape–is an easy sipper with food-friendly minerality.

At Room 11 in Columbia Heights, co-owner Dan Searing loves Soave during these pre-summer scorchers. Follow his lead: The wine is perfect with early spring vegetables, including asparagus and English peas.

Here are four top bottles to find at wineshops around town:

2008 Allegrini Soave ($13) Searing deems this "the ultimate patio wine" for its light citrus aroma that marries with notes of cedar and yellow apple on the palate. It's a big hit at Room 11 as an aperitif or with creamy asparagus risotto. Schneider's, 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE, at D St.; 202-543-9300 or cellar.com

2007 Strele Soave ($20) Fresh and lemony with an unexpected mineral finish, this wine begs for grilled fish and hot weather. Weygandt Wines, 3519 Connecticut Ave. NW, between Ordway and Porter sts.; 202-362-9463 or weygandtwines.com

2007 Suavia Soave ($19) At Cleveland Park's Dino, Dean Gold offers several Soaves, but favors this wine's light, lemony start and long, toasty finish. It's similar to premier cru Chablis and perfect with antipasti. Cork Market, 1805 14th St. NW, between S and T sts.; 202-265-2674 or corkdc.com

2008 Inama Soave Classico ($19) The balance of sweet and acidic tropical fruits makes this versatile bottle perfect with the typically wine-averse artichoke. At Old Town's Grape + Bean, owner David Gwathmey also serves it with salty boquerones. Grape + Bean, 118 S Royal St., Alexandria; 703-664-0214 or grapeandbean.com