Let’s face it, summertime is the best time for indulging in some delicious, refreshing wine. Whether it’s a sweet, refreshing rosé enjoyed with girlfriends, a crisp, dry white paired with seafood or a robust red on a cool night by the bonfire, wine is such a nice way to wind down the day, relax and enjoy your summer evenings to the max. Finding the right wine for your special occasion can be tricky, but there are plenty of warm weather-appropriate wines to choose from for all different budgets and tastes.
I spoke with our friend and consultant in hospitality who is currently writing the wine program for a new restaurant in Woodstock, Au Comptoir about her best recommendations for red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines to enjoy this summer– no matter your budget, Greta Calabrese has you covered! Read on for her tips on shopping for wine and top recommendations for this summer.
Shopping for wine and not sure where to start? Here are some tips from Greta.
- Get to know your local wine purveyors. This can be a friendly face behind the counter at your favorite neighborhood wine shop or the person stocking the shelves at a big box grocery store. You’d be surprised how many people swear by the recommendations they’ve received from a trusted Trader Joe’s employee. It is important to be open with them about your preferences. Do you like reds or whites? Dry and subtle or robust and bold?
- Place the same standards on your wine selections as you would on your sourcing of meat, vegetables, clothing, etc. Wine is a product of agriculture and, like all things that are farmed, there are a wide range of practices out there. You can check with your wine professionals (or look online!) to ensure that the bottle of pinot noir you’ll be pairing with that organic meal from the farmer’s market has been sourced responsibly and the grapes lived a life free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
10 Best Summer Wines for Every Budget
Les Boursicottes Sancerre
Sancerre is considered the finest expression of Sauvignon blanc and for good reason. This region’s vineyards are planted in soil rich with minerals like limestone and flint. Have you ever noticed that certain still white wines can sometimes seem slightly effervescent or feel like tiny sparks on your tongue? That’s the mouth feel of a wine with high minerality and it’s caused by the roots of the grapevine absorbing those microscopic bits of rock. Les Boursicottes is a sixth generation organic farm and this wine is sure to please everyone in your party.
- Region: Loire, France
- Price: $25-30
- Pair with: party with friends and family
Are you looking for something light and energetic? Piquepoul, loosely translated to lip stinger, is delightfully versatile and Domitia is organically farmed by a husband and wife team. This wine is similar in profile to a muscadet but comes from the southern coast of France where fresh shellfish is the way of life. Pair this with any summer meal or sip on it to rehydrate from a long, scenic bike ride.
- Region: Picpoul d Pinet, France
- Price: $18-20
- Pair with: shellfish, seafood, post-summer activities
Landhaus Mayer Gruner Veltliner
Gruner is just about always an exceptional value and Landhaus Mayer really over delivers on this. This varietal is really important to the Austrian wine culture and the varietal typically presents hints of stone fruit with peppery spice. You can expect a great amount of acidity out of this bottle and it’s really lovely with a meal or on its own.
- Region: Burgenland, Austria
- Price: $14-16
- Pair with: dinner or on its own for happy hour
Ercole (translates to Hercules) is a fun project from a cooperative out of the esteemed Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Their wines are easy drinking, super tasty and come in a liter bottle. This rose features barbera and dolcetto, indigenous grape varietals to the region, and is a no-brainer for your next sunset at the beach or picnic brunch.
- Region: Piedmont, Italy
- Price: $16-19
- Pair with: sunset at the beach, picnic brunch
Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rose
Please do not pass up a chance to score this rose if you’re able to find it on a shelf or wine list. This wine is stunning vintage after vintage and made of 100% organic Pinot Noir, the red grape of Sancerre, grown on some of the most mineral rich soil in the world. Domaine Vacheron makes small quantities and the rose always sells out due to its reputation and mouth-watering freshness. This is a perfect shellfish pairing and/or gift for that friend who hosts you at their beach or lake house.
- Region: Loire, France
- Price: $40-45
- Pair with: shellfish or gift to family/friends
Gramona La Cuvee
Gramona has been producing beautiful sparkling wines from organic and biodynamic grapes grown in the Northeastern corner of Spain for nearly 200 years. Similar to what you’ll find in a typical cava, their La Cuvée bottling features the varietals Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada. Unlike a typical cava, it undergoes a long aging process giving it all the toastiness and finesse that you would expect from a much more expensive wine. This bottle could take you through the whole meal, but I would ultimately suggest it as an aperitif and pair it with a cheese or mezze board.
- Region: Penedes, Spain
- Price: $19-23
- Pair with: cheese or mezze board
Larmondier-Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs
If you’re going to splurge for the Champagne, please let it be from a small, organic grower like Larmondier-Bernier. This is a charming wine that far exceeds the quality of that orange label we all know. The domain’s Latitude is made entirely of Chardonnay and aged for a minimum of 30 months before release. The result is a rich and creamy champagne that is absolutely worthy of any special toast.
- Region: Champagne, France
- Price: $55-62
- Pair with: a special occasion, toast
Averaen Pinot Noir
Oregon pinot noir has really taken off in the last decade. Known for its cooler climate and volcanic soil, the Willamette Valley stands out among its California peers. As we embrace the chilly nights that can come with late summer, Averaen Pinot Noir is the bottle to open with your cheese and charcuterie spread.
- Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
- Price: $20-22
- Pair with: chilly nights and cheese and charcuterie spreads
Franco Serra Barbera d’Alba
Barbera is a grape that makes everyone happy. Whether you’re looking for something to open for your next barbecue or want something to sip next to the campfire, this is a fantastic choice.
Franco Serra produces amazing value-driven wines and their Barbera d’Alba provides balance and purity of fruit to complement just about any meal. It’s just so yummy.
- Region: Piedmont, Italy
- Price: $18-20
- Pair with: BBQ & campfire
Quinta do Montalto VInha da Malhada
Portuguese red blends just about always over deliver for the price and this is a great example. This one is farmed organically, undergoes natural fermentation, and is full bodied with beautiful aromatics. Reach for the Quinta do Montalto when you’re grilling steak or enjoy a glass in advance of giving that paella recipe a go.
- Region: Lisbon, Portugal
- Price: $15-17
- Pair with: grilled steak or paella
Wine enthusiasts, what are your favorite summer wines? Let us know in the comments!
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