I spend nine months of the year waiting for warm breezy nights, and dining on the deck. To make every night count, I have amassed an arsenal of recommendations for the quintessential “patio pounder”.
These aren’t your ho-hum sauvignon blancs or chardonnays you pop open the rest of the year. These wines have vibrancy, character and best of all, a palatable price tag so you can crack open one or five, depending on your company, every night of the summer, and not break the bank.
I am optimistic there will be one or two suggestions included which may be new to you, while others may already be well stocked in your fridge. In any event, here’s the shortlist…
Fill Your Tank with “Gascogne”
Whites from Southwest France, particularly from Gascogne, are some of the best thirst quenching deals around. Dry, crisp and priced right from $8-12, theses wines often come from uncommon grape varietals such as Colombard and Folle Blanche or more consumer friendly names like Sauvignon Blanc.
Recommended/Well-Distributed Producer: Tariquet
Be Keen to Choose Green
Vinho Verde from Portugal literally means “green wine”, but the only thing green about this wine is its age… Best drank young, these wines even have an intentional (and mandatory) spritz of CO2 at the end of production to give it a most refreshing prickle on the tongue. Its effect is like well-placed Botox for wine - you swear its refreshing nature is different from other young wines out there, but you just can’t put your finger on what’s different. Even better for summer, alcohol is relatively low at 10-11% and they don’t cost much. So “pound” away!
Recommended/Well-Distributed Producer: Broadbent
POP Open a Bottle Tonight
If you’re in the mood for more than a tickle of the tongue (see above), check out “cremant”, which is French for “affordable champagne” in my book. Cremant uses the same process, sometimes even the same grapes, as Champagne, but with slightly less stringent rules for production, resulting in a champagne look-alike at a Canal-Street-quality knock-off price tag.
Recommended/Well-Distributed Producer: Jaillance or Lucien Albrecht
The Black… er, Red Sheep
If bubbles are your thing, but you prefer to seek out new experiences, see if you can find some dry… red… sparkling… Lambrusco… I know, I know… does it exist? Yes it does, but due to a lack of demand for the dry sort (due to the once and still popular sweet version) it can be difficult to find. But hey, since you enjoy being the odd man out, the search will be well worth the effort. Trust me, a dry, red Lambrusco paired with a charcuterie plate or steak tartar is absolutely BAAH-tiful!
Recommended Producer: Here are some suggestions from the New York Times
Take Time to Sip the Roses
Hopefully by now, you have been exposed to the other side of Rose… the dry side. Not all pink wine is sweet and the leader in dry wine is Southern France, particularly from Rhone, Provence and Languedoc. Dry roses from the Mediterranean are a staple in my household… the top of my grocery list regularly reads as such: milk, bread, eggs, rose wine.
Recommended/Well-Distributed Producer: Bieler
Oh, I could go on, but I won’t … Or maybe just a little. Here are a couple more quick tips… If red is your thing, try a lighter style Beaujolais Cru like Fleurie or Chirobles with a slight chill, or French Chinon made from Cabernet Franc, or if you are more of domestic drinker, I challenges you to find a Cabernet Franc from New York State… oh, and don't forget Italian whites like Greco di Tufo or Fiano…
Hope these tip helps improve your summer sipping!
Hit me up with more questions and suggestions below in the comments suggestions. Would love to know what you are drinking these days!