My Top 5 Wines For Summer ($20 or Less)

1. Miner Viognier  Aromatically complex with citrus and honeysuckle notes on the nose and a plush feel on the palate. Sourced from John Simpson’s low-yielding vineyards in Madera, this quintessential summer wine was whole cluster pressed and stainless steel fermented to allow the vibrant, tropical and stone fruit characteristics of this varietal to shine. $20.

1. (Tie) Hendry Rose The 2010 Rosé is the result of a saignée of both Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, along with just a little bit of Cabernet Franc and Primitivo. Saignée is the process of “bleeding,” or allowing the sweet, free-run juice to run out off the tank and into a smaller tank for fermentation. This lowers the alcohol in the red wine, concentrates its colors, flavors and tannins, and in the process, produces a light, dry rosé that is perfect for drinking in the summertime.

Well-chilled, its clean, bright, citrusy fruit and palate-cleansing acidity are just right with picnic foods on a warm afternoon, or to accompany a simple barbecue-roasted chicken on a summer evening. Great with fish tacos, too! As George Hendry puts it, this is a “screen-porch” wine, made for warm-weather drinking, well-chilled, with simple foods. $13.

3. Pangolin Chenin Blanc (But almost any Chenin Blanc will do) Chenin Blanc comes from the Loire Valley of France. It is the most widely cultivated varietal in South Africa, where it is called Steen.  It’s styles range from very dry to medium-sweet to intensely rich. The full-bodied wine has a fruity palate and a long finish, with orchard and citrus fruit, spring flower and earthy notes. $9.

4. Columbia Crest Two Vines Chardonnay This lighter style Chardonnay opens with aromas of fresh spiced peaches and honeysuckle. Lively fruit flavors are accented by notes of lemon zest and creamy marshmallow ending with a juicy, crisp finish. Intended for immediate enjoyment, this Chardonnay captures the varietal intensity indicative of wines from Washington state. $8.

5. Ménage à Trois Red Wine The 2010 is drinking exceptional. Sure, you will find a bottle or two that is inconsistent, but for crying out loud, it costs less than a similar size soft drink. What can you expect? I love this light red wine! The 2010 Ménage à Trois exposes the fresh, ripe, jam like fruit that is the calling card of California wine. Forward, silky and soft, this delicious dalliance makes the perfect accompaniment for summer grilling. $7.

Question: What is your favorite summer wine?

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2 Responses to “My Top 5 Wines For Summer ($20 or Less)”

  1. I have recently become enamored of Kitchen Sink – Moscato. It is a sweet wine but it is light and refreshing after a tedious day at work.

    • Yum. I’m just drinking the Kitchen Sink Red Table Wine and I really like it. Will give the Moscato a ry. Thanks, Monica!

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