In the Northern Hemisphere summer officially begins on the summer solstice, June 20th this year. Temperatures have been summery for weeks where we live, and we are already regularly enjoying wine on the patio. So, the question of what to sip on warm afternoons or with a grilled meal is pressing. We have six choices from around the world, all very reasonably priced and all sent to us as tasting samples, that will suit just about every palate.
Zardetto NV Brut Prosecco DOC — light yellow with persistent bubbles. Delicate aromas of citrus and white flowers are followed by similar flavors supported by bright acidity and a clean finish without obvious sweetness. 11% abv. SPR $17
This Prosecco, made in the charmat method as is typical, is a blend of at least 85% Glera and up to 15% Pinot Bianco/Chardonnay sourced from northeast of Conegliano. The flavors are bright and refreshing – just the thing to sip before a meal or with a summer salad.
2020 Ponga Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand — light yellow with generous aromas of guava, cut grass and citrus zest. Flavors are layered with oat hay, lime and dried grass all supported by lively acidity. 12.5% abv. SRP $13
All stainless steel fermentation and early bottling are employed to preserve the flavors, which are less herbaceous than the aromas. Pair this Sauvignon Blanc with steamed, roasted or grilled vegetables and seared scallops (my favorite.)
2019 Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel, Germany — light yellow with generous aromas of stone fruit, petrol and gravel. Flavors of yellow peach, petrol and stony minerality mingle in an off-dry finish. Plenty of acidity keeps the finish clean. 10.5% abv. SRP $12
Riesling from the Upper, Middle and Lower Mosel regions are blended in this wine. The name pays homage to the slate stones that define the region. The off-dry finish makes this Riesling easy sipping and the perfect pairing for fruit salads or spicy dishes.
2017 Zenato Superiore Valpolicella DOC — light ruby-garnet with aromas of raspberries, dusty earth and hints of leather. Raspberry, cherry and blackberry flavors blend with dusty earth and hints of leather, all of which are supported by smooth tannins in a medium body with good acidity. 13.5% abv. SRP $17
This super sippable blend of 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 10% Oceleta was fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral French oak for 12 months. The bright red fruit flavors are so enjoyable and will make a perfect dining companion for grilled spatchcock chicken or ground pork burgers.
2019 Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Cabernet Sauvignon, Apalta DO, Chile — medium ruby with aromas of ripe blackberries, cedar, dusty earth and red plums. Layered flavors of blackberries and plums are backed by notes of earth and cedar. Drying, grippy tannins and juicy acidity linger on the long finish along with fruit. 14.5% abv. SRP $25
Texture, flavor and juicy acidity combine in this Cabernet Sauvignon in a very pleasing way. It is easy drinking and fresh, yet complex. The blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Carménère and vineyards are certified organic and biodynamic. Lapostolle’s winemaking philosophy is described as natural with minimal intervention. Fermentation used native yeast in stainless steel. Aging took place in French oak, 17 % new.
If not firing up the grill, then pair this beauty with braised short ribs and polenta. Otherwise, it will be stellar with a grilled rib eye.
2018 Volver Tempranillo, La Mancha DO, Spain — dark ruby with aromas of plums, blackberries and coffee. Flavors combine blackberries, cherries, dried tobacco leaf and cedar. Tannins are gauzy in a medium body with juicy acidity. 15% abv. SRP $16
This single-vineyard bottling is sourced from a high-elevation vineyard planted in 1957. The head-trained Tempranillo vines are farmed organically and not irrigated. Soils are sandy with limestone and red clay. Aging took place in new French oak for 15 months.
I so appreciate how special a vineyard of this age is, struggling in the hot, arid conditions of La Mancha. Pair this satisfying wine with grilled lamb chops seasoned with marjoram.